How to Pay for Emergency Home Repairs If You Have No Savings Fund
Are you wondering how you’re going to pay for the emergency home repairs you need like water damage repair, fire damage repair, or mold remediation services?
There’s an initial need to emphasize the importance of having an emergency fund. Mishaps can happen to any household, whether it’s a minor plumbing issue or a major problem in your roof. Home repair is an expensive undertaking, ranging from a couple hundred to thousands of dollars.
So how much money should you set aside for home maintenance and repairs? The rule of thumb is one percent of the total value of your home. This means if your home costs $400,000, you should spare at least 4,000 per year.
But what if you don’t have money and you need professional home repair services right away? Is there a way? Of course.
Five ways to pay for emergency home repairs even if you don’t have enough money:
1. Homeowners Insurance Claim
First thing you want to check is whether your home insurance policy covers the repair service you need. For example, the cost of a major roof replacement might be covered, if not in full then at least partially, if your roof was destroyed by a storm. Make sure to call a professional home remediation service (like us!) to assess the damage and see how much the repair will cost. Take photos of the damage and keep receipts in case you need to buy materials. Contact your home insurance provider immediately to file the claim.
2. Government Assistance
If your insurance policy doesn’t cover the damages, there are government-funded assistance programs available to help in your situation. They can be in a form of loans, as well as grants. Some of these come from state agencies, private foundations, public utilities and non-profit organizations. However, you should check if you meet the requirements for a specific grant or assistance program. Check with your local government office for the list of home repair programs and the requirements.
3. Disaster Relief
The FEMA housing assistance mainly covers emergency home repairs and temporary housing. If a portion of your home has been destroyed due to a disaster or calamity, such as a major storm, you may seek disaster relief to cover for the repair work needed. However, they are unable to assist with all kinds of home repair, vehicle, storage or moving expenses. The Small Business Administration (SBA), which is a major source of funds for long-term recovery assistance for disaster survivors, providing low-interest loans to homeowners, renters, and non-farm businesses to pay for repairs. Check out their website for more info about their disaster assistance programs.
4. Alternative Financing
Usually, people look at traditional financing options, such as banks, to pay for home improvement and repair costs. Some might consider a home equity loan while others, a second mortgage. Unfortunately, not all are approved for their bank loan requests. Good thing, alternative financing is widely available these days. Unlike traditional financing, alternative financial services like personal loans often have more flexible terms, shorter payment terms, lower interest rates, and less strict qualifications or requirements.
5. Community Development Programs
Similar with government assistance, community development programs are administered by local state or governments and financial institutions. There are some restrictions to qualify for these programs. For example, they might require that your income is equal to 80% of the area’s median income. Other programs might be more targeted to certain groups, such as single moms, disabled people, or veterans. Check with your local housing office for the community development programs they currently offer.
Once you’ve found the best approach to pay for your home repair needs, the next important step is to find a reputable home repair contractor. The best company will help you save money by providing quality service during a reasonable timeframe. Ask your friends or relatives for referrals. You can also check with the Better Business Bureau (BBB) or a list of qualified contractors in your area, as well as their customer satisfaction rating.
You will never know when you will need to have your home repaired. That is why it is important to have an emergency fund. Ideally, you should have savings equivalent to 1% of the value of your home for home maintenance and repair. However, if you still don’t have enough savings and you need home repair services ASAP, know that there are other options to cover the cost. These include filing a claim before your home insurance policy provider, seeking government assistance and other community development programs, filing for disaster relief, and applying for alternative financing. If you’re considering the latter, always take time to compare loan packages to ensure that you are getting the best deal.
Written by guest writer: Lidia Staron