Dave Says: Look at past numbers, then proceed realistically

Dear Dave,

Do you have a rule for calculating how much money to set aside for home repair and maintenance?


Dear Bobby,

I don’t really know of a formula to determine this sort of thing. I’d suggest looking at your checkbook over the previous year, and see what you spent on maintenance and repair issues. Home maintenance is kind of like car maintenance, in that it’s going to depend on the age and general condition of the house. If you’re driving an older model car, you expect to put more into it over time, right? It’s kind of the same principle with houses. The older the structure, the greater the likelihood you’ll have to pump some money into it.

Make sure you look at things from a realistic point of view. You probably won’t need a new roof anytime soon if you had one installed in the last couple of years. But give your house a good going over, inside and out, every six months or so. This will go a long way in assessing what’s needed—and what might pop up in the future!