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Homeownership 101: Your "Fix It Fund"

Every homeowner should have a "Fix It Fund" to cover the replacement costs of the various parts of a house that will wear and break over time. Set up an account asap, liquid of course, and auto transfer a set amount to cover repair costs, parts & labor.

As a former teacher, I think in Backwards Design, which is a method of curriculum design where we begin by listing desired outcomes. Start by making a list of the age of items in your home, then work backwards based on the age and life expectancy. Every year, look at the list and consider what may need repair or replacement this year. Set your FIX IT FUND deposits based on your expectations.

The Life Expectancy List

Here is a basic list of items you should anticipate repairing or replacing:

  • Asphalt Shingle Roof: 15-20 years

  • Architectural Shingle Roof: 20-30 years

  • Clay Tile Roof: 20-40 years

  • Tar & Gravel Roof: 15-25 years

  • Slate Roof: 20-40 years

  • Metal Roof: 60 years

  • Refrigerator: 10-15 years

  • Dishwashers: 8-10 years

  • Garbage Disposal: 8-12 years

  • Oven, Range: 12-17 years

  • Trash Compactors: 7 years

  • Heating: High Efficiency: 12-15 years

  • Heating: Conventional: 18-25 years

  • Cooling: Central Air: 10-15 years

  • Heat Pump: 10-15 years

  • Septic / Sewer Pump: 7-10 years

  • Well Pump: 7-10 years

  • Water Heater: 8-12 years


  • Annual maintenance, like HVAC servicing, pest inspection and control, etc.

  • Other maintenance including dryer vent cleaning, duct cleaning

  • Things you want to hire out: gutter cleaning, power washing, window washing

  • Pre-funding your insurances: homeowners & umbrella insurance

Time to start your Fix It Fund!

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