Let’s be real. The increase in prices over the last couple of years combined with current interest rates makes the cost of home ownership as high as ever. New owners who are getting into the market are allocating a lot of their savings for down payment, and a significant chunk of income to their mortgage. With that in mind, it is important that you still keep some money in reserve for unexpected home expenses. The last thing we want to see is for your home ownership become a true financial hardship. Here are five big ticket expenses to look out for:
- Roof repair: Hawaii’s climate is warm and humid, which can cause damage to the roof over time. The sun’s UV rays can cause the roof’s material to deteriorate, while heavy rains and winds can damage shingles or cause leaks. Regular roof maintenance and repair are crucial to preventing costly damage.
- Appliance Repair and Replacement: In the last seven years, I’ve replaced one dishwasher, repaired a refrigerator and repaired our range twice. When the appliance repairman came to fix the refrigerator, he said appliances just flat out deteriorate faster on Maui. Maybe it is salt air, maybe it is something else. Just expect your appliances to wear out faster than you expect. As an added tip, some brands are harder to repair than others. The same repairman recommended GE and Kenmore.
- Plumbing issues: Water damage from leaky pipes, clogged drains, or malfunctioning fixtures can lead to costly repairs. Regular plumbing maintenance and addressing issues promptly can prevent more extensive damage and expenses.
- Septic and Cesspool Issues: Not all areas of Maui include sewer services. A number of homes on island rely upon septic systems or even older cesspools. These waste management systems require both maintenance and care when it comes to inputs. Poorly maintained septic systems can fail. Cesspools can fail due to improper maintenance or old age. Replacement of cess pools and septic systems is expensive!
- Wood damage: The local climate can beat up on wood siding and trim. Our climate is conducive to dry rot. Homeowners should definitely monitor siding for dry rot particularly on the sides of the house exposed to the prevailing weather. It’s better to repair and replace dry rot before it spreads. Of course, Maui’s climate is also hospitable to termites. While many newer homes use termite treated lumber, it is still possible to get wood boring insects in trim and cabinetry. Inspection and even periodic tenting may be necessary.
Home inspection during the purchase process can help identify potential issues and near term maintenance items. That said, no home inspection is perfect, and things like appliance issues can pop up pretty quickly. Other things like septic systems and cess pools are outside the scope of traditional home inspections. We advise clients to do a septic or cess pool inspection in addition to the regular home inspection. Regardless of the extent of your mitigate efforts, it is important to keep cash reserves for those unexpected maintenance issues.