7 Costly Home Repairs to Look Out For: Why You Need a Home Inspection

Expensive Household Repairs to Be Aware OfAs you budget for your home, you might wonder how much you need to set aside for repairs. Industry experts often state that you should set aside 1% of your home’s value for repairs each year. If you bought a house for $400,000, you should allocate $4,000 annually ($333 per month) to resolve issues. 

The reality is that your expenses may not align with this budget. You might only spend $500 to cover minor repairs one year, only to spend $15,000 on a roof replacement in the next. However, setting aside these funds can help cover costly home repairs so you are better prepared for unexpected bills. 

Some homes will have more repair needs than others. As you search for homes, evaluate these seven risky aspects that are costly to repair, and always have a home inspection done before closing on a home. If you are a seller, consider how the age and wear of these elements might turn off buyers or result in lower bids for your property.

Roof Replacement 

A roof replacement is one of the most expensive home repairs you may need to cover. If you’re looking to purchase a home, consult with your agent regarding the age of the roof and options for repair or replacement. Unfortunately, the age of your roof directly correlates to your home insurance costs. Some insurers won’t even cover homes with a roof over 20 years old. 

Your roof is essential to maintain because it affects so many other aspects of your home. Leaks can lead to mold growth and also warp the walls, create uneven floorboards, and even damage the foundation of your house. 

The average cost to replace a roof is just over $9,000. If you have a younger roof that needs emergency repairs, you might be able to pay less for strategic patches and insulation. Most companies will try to recommend a roof repair instead of a total replacement to help customers save money. 

Keep an eye on the age of your roof and look for any signs of wear. Call a roofing professional as soon as you notice problems with it. The sooner you catch an issue, the more likely you will have a lower repair cost.

Water Heater

Whenever you tour a house, ask about the water heater. This is an essential appliance if you want to take hot showers, do your laundry, or even wash your dishes. The average cost to replace a water heater is around $1,281; however, a tankless water heater could cost up to $3,500 to install. 

A tankless water heater can save space in homes compared to tanked models and uses less energy. Instead of keeping 20-100 gallons of water hot regardless of whether you need it, a tankless water heater produces water on demand. They also last longer and are easier to replace—even if they cost more to install. 

If the house you are considering has a water heater that is a decade old, it will soon be time to replace it. Know that this usually isn’t a DIY job, and you can expect to pay around $45 to $200 to hire a plumber. 

HVAC Replacement

Air conditioning is a staple in American households. In the hot summer months, many homeowners couldn’t imagine living in a place that didn’t have AC. In fact, nearly 90% of homes have some form of air conditioning, while 66% use central air. Not only is this essential for the comfort of residents but also for their safety in the hottest parts of the country. 

Unfortunately, HVAC replacement also has one of the highest home maintenance costs. The national average is around $8,000 for an HVAC replacement, with some homeowners paying nearly $12,000 for new systems. Even repairing your HVAC system could cost a few hundred dollars. 

This is another appliance to ask about when you are shopping for homes. Learn when the HVAC system was last replaced and see if the homeowner has a history of regular maintenance. Your home inspector should inform you of the condition of your heating and air conditioning systems.

Sewer Line Repair

You will know as soon as something is wrong with your sewer line. The sewer line removes wastewater from your shower, sinks, and toilets and brings it to your city’s sanitation facility. When something is clogged, broken, or backed up, the smell can be unavoidable. 

Not only is the sewer line one of the stinkier problems in homeownership, but it is also one of the most expensive home repairs you can encounter. You can expect to pay around $5,000 for a complete sewer line repair. This breaks down to $50 to $200 per foot of sewer line. 

There are other costs that might increase your total bill for this project. The contractors will need to excavate the dirt around the sewer line and replace it. Once the work is done, you will need to cover the landscaping costs to replace the damaged grass, flowers, or bushes. 

If a house isn’t connected to a sewer system, it likely has a septic tank. You can expect to pay around $6,400 to completely replace your septic tank—with prices varying based on the size and complexity of the system. 

If you need a septic tank repair, ask that the material and labor costs are listed separately on any estimates you receive. This way, you can make sure you don’t overpay for equipment.

Mold Removal

Mold removal might not seem as complex as some of the extensive repairs on this list, but the cost to eliminate this toxin can add up if the problem gets out of hand.

Mold can cause a variety of reactions in people. It can leave you with itchy eyes, a runny nose, and stuffy sinuses. Some people have skin reactions or difficulty breathing when they are in close contact with mold. People with respiratory problems (like asthma) might experience worsened symptoms in moldy homes. In short, mold is a danger for almost anyone.   

Mold remediation can cost between $1,500 to $4,000, depending on the square footage of your home. It also depends on how far the mold has spread. 

You should contact a mold expert as soon as you notice warning signs in your home—like damp areas, discoloration on your walls, or sinus problems whenever you enter the house. The sooner you catch the issue, the less the mold removal should cost.  

Plumbing Leaks

You might not think plumbing leaks are major issues, but the cost comes more from the damage they cause than the actual pipe. It might cost less than $500 to repair a leaky pipe, which isn’t a problem if you catch the issue early on. However, the total costs can be much higher if the burst pipe floods your home or a slow leak seeps into your floors. 

As soon as you notice water in your home, turn off the water shut-off valve until you can find the source of the problem. A broken pipe can quickly warp wood floors and ruin your electrical system if water gets into your wires. Even minor flooding can cause thousands of dollars in water damage. 

An experienced plumber should be able to identify the problem and repair it quickly. They will also outline any other property damage you need to address to prevent uneven floors or mold growth from unwanted water.


If you catch their warning signs early on, termites don’t have to cause major problems. When you look at houses, ask about the building materials used on the property. A cement block or brick house has minimal termite risk, but a wood house might have termite damage.

The average homeowner can expect to pay anywhere from $225 to $2,500 to cover termite eradication. Catching the warning signs early on can reduce potential treatment and tenting costs while mitigating termite damage. 

Not only are these insects gross, but they can significantly affect your foundation and limit the stability of your home. A minor termite issue can become a major foundational repair cost if you're not careful and don't ask about the home’s history of termites as a buyer. 

Fortunately, you can take steps to prevent infestations. Build a termite inspection into your yearly maintenance plan with your pest control provider. These experts can spot termites immediately and take steps to remove them before the issue becomes serious.

Hire an Agent Who Can Point Out Major Repairs

It’s natural to feel overwhelmed as you review some of the most expensive home repairs you could face. However, there is good news: you don’t need to be a home expert to know if a property is in good condition. That is what your agent—and eventually your home inspector—will do. 

A quality real estate agent will evaluate the condition of a home before recommending it to you. If they find any issues (from septic tank problems to electrical panel violations), they are ethically bound to tell you about them. The home inspector will also uncover any issues you need to know about.

Take a deep breath and search for one of the top real estate agents in your area. An agent can’t prevent costly home repairs, but they can alert you to potential issues to look out for. They can give you the tools to choose the right home and move in with confidence.

Post a Comment