The Cost of Maintaining a Home

To age at home, or not to age at home: That is the question many retirees eventually face. One major determining factor is whetherthey can afford to move into a senior community offering living assistance and nursing care if necessary.

While costs vary from state to state, the 2018 nationwide average for assisted living costs was$3,800 a month. From an affordability perspective, it’s important to explore prices in your area to make an apples-to-apples comparison between the costs of remaining in — and maintaining — the family home or moving to a retirement community.

Considernot only ongoing expenses such as utilities, property taxes and homeowner’s insurance but also maintenance. According to, an online home-services platform,the average cost of maintaining a home is more than $16,000a year. The report identified the following projects as among the most expensive:

  • Repairing subfloor: $10,536
  • Repairing water damage: $3,571
  • Re-groutinga shower: $2,858
  • Replacinga pool-filter system:$1,786
  • Some of the highestongoing maintenance costs are related to pools, lawns and driveways. Also, keep in mind that the bigger the home, the more expensive it is to maintain. Therefore, even if you aren’t interested in moving into a low-maintenance senior community, it may be worth considering downsizing to a smaller home or condominium.

    If you have any questions or concerns about planning for retirement, please call our office and we’ll be happy to set up a time to meet.

    Money-Saving Tips
    Sustainable Home Updates
    If possible, it’s a good idea to implement major home repairs or remodeling projects while you’re still working, potentially avoiding future withdrawals from your retirement assets. It’s also wise to consider sustainable materials and workmanship options that will last for years to come.

    If you live through your 90s, your nest egg may not be as robust as it used to be — and that’s hardly the time to learn your home needs a new roof or other major repair. While you may have to forgo remodeling luxuries to pay for more expensive materials, choosing sustainable projects may help you avoid outliving your retirement income. For ideas on long-lasting upgrades, check out the following.

    Fiber-Cement Siding
    If you’re considering re-siding your house, fiber-cement is championed for both its attractiveness and durability. The material is more durable than wood in terms of weather, rot, insect and fire resistance.

  • Warranty: 30 to 50 years
  • Paint finish:Some guaranteed 15 years
  • Life expectancy: 50+ years
  • Average cost: $5 to $11 per installed square foot
  • Metal Roof
    Metal roofing is all the rage now, and for good reason. This tough, highly fire-resistant material is relatively maintenance-free.

  • Warranty: 40 to 50 years
  • Lifeexpectancy: 50+ years
  • Average cost: $3.50 to $11 per installed square foot
  • Laminate Plank Flooring
    Laminate flooring is easy to install;resists scratches, moisture and stains;never needs refinishing;and is relatively inexpensive. Finishes include simulations of natural stone and exotic hardwoods.

  • Warranty: 15 to 50 years
  • Lifeexpectancy: 25+ years
  • Cost: $1 to $7per square foot (when installed yourself); extra $2 to $5 per installed square foot
  • Quartz Countertops
    Quartz is durable, antimicrobial, scratch-resistant, nearly impossible to stain and never needs sealing.

    • Warranty: 10 to 15 years(some manufacturers offer a lifetime guarantee)
    • Lifeexpectancy: 30+ years
    • Cost: $40 to $100 per square foot

    Fiberglass Windows
    Fiberglass windows are more affordable than wood windows, with the added advantage of being moisture-, rot- and warp-resistant as well as thermally insulated. Also, the U.S. Department of Energy reports that fiberglass windows with an Energy Star label can help reduce energy costs by 7 percent to 15 percent.

  • Warranty: 10 to 20 years
  • Lifeexpectancy: 40+ years
  • Cost: $400 to $730 for a 3-foot-by-5-foot double-hung window (depending on options)
  • Planning Tip
    Value-Enhancing Home Updates
    Whether aging in place or selling the family home, consider remodeling projects that will enhance the value of your house. The proceeds from a higher sales price can be used to help supplement retirement income or leave a larger inheritance for loved ones.

    These enhancements tend to yield a strong return on investment:

  • Updated kitchens and bathrooms
  • Landscaping –healthy trees, blooming flowers and a neatly trimmed lawn offer easy and affordable curb appeal
  • Modify the floor plan — removinga wall between the kitchen and living roomor adding an island createsan open-concept living space
  • Add square footage through a second bathroom, family room or four-season room
  • Content prepared by Kara Stefan Communications.

    1 WGRZ. July 6, 2018. “Financial Assistance & Funding Options for Assisted Living / Senior Living.” Accessed July 31, 2018.
    2 Clare Trapasso. July 18, 2018. “You’ve Probably Never Heard of the Most Expensive Home Maintenance Task.” Accessed July 31, 2018.

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