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How to pay for emergency home repairs

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Personal loans, federally backed programs and more ways to cover a quick fix.

Homeownership can be an exhilarating accomplishment — after all, you’re putting down roots in a place that’s all your own. But one downside is that you’re responsible when things go wrong.

And things will go wrong, and it can feel like at the worst times too. If your homeowners insurance doesn’t cover that leaky roof or broken water heater, you have plenty of financing options to lift you out of a crisis and back into home comforts.

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    How can I pay for emergency home repairs?

    How you’ll want to cover the expenses of an unexpected home repair will depend on the extent of the repair, how much you’re able to contribute from savings and how your home was damaged, among other factors.

    For small repairs, a personal loan might be the fastest, simplest option. If you’re recovering from a natural disaster, however, you might be eligible for the support of government-funded programs.

    3 home repair solutions to avoid

    If you don’t have a savings buffer to put toward unexpected home repairs, you might be tempted to juggle your existing personal expenses to scrape together what you need.

    Applying for a personal loan could be a better option than these three ways people use to pay for home repairs — and keep you from landing in an even worse financial situation:

    1. Putting off payments on bills. Late loan repayments can seriously damage your credit score, making it difficult to qualify for financing in the future. But skipping your usual bills to foot an emergency expense could launch you into a spiral of debt, not to mention leave you without a home if those bills are your mortgage or rent.
    2. Paying with plastic. Paying for a new faucet or a caulk gun with your credit card might not set you back too much. But they typically come with much higher APRs than personal loans, and costs can add up quickly if you swipe for a big-ticket item.
    3. Using short-term lenders. A payday loan or installment loan might be a last resort when you can’t qualify for a personal loan or government assistance. But with APRs that can soar to 100% and even 400%, it’s the most expensive type of financing you can get.

    How much do common home repairs cost?

    Home repair costs can vary according to the value of your home, where you live and the extent of the damage. But here’s a ballpark of what you can expect for common home repair and improvement costs, according to a July 2018 HomeAdvisor survey.

    Repair typeAverage costAverage rangeLowest and highest cost
    Roof$777$335–$1,229$150–$4,100
    Garage door$227$147–$330$75–$588
    Door$220$117–$323$50–$600
    Repair or replace electric panel$1,105$519–$1,698$125–$3,000
    New wiring$1,286$534–$2,038$125–$4,400
    Carpeting$191$123–$260$75–$434
    Hardwood floors$4,405$2,543–$6,490$1,065–$10,200
    Foundation$4,001$1,848–$6,337$450–$11,000
    Level or mudjack concrete slabs$881$543–$1,295$300–$2,200
    AC unit$342$163–$527$75–$1,200
    Furnace$285$131–$454$60–$900
    Siding$639$300–$1,037$100–$16,330
    Trim$608$275–$941$100–$1,990
    Stairs or railings$618$306–$975$115–$1,750
    Drywall$500$272–$750$125–$1,380
    Wall$668$329–$1,012$150–$2,000

    Source: HomeAdvisor.com

    3 tips to prepare for an emergency home repair

    Got a big storm coming your way? Prepare ahead of time so that you can get your home back as soon as you can after.

    1. Keep a list of contractors. Storing numbers in your phone is smart, but write down a list of contractors in your area and stick it in your wallet in the event that you lose cell service. Look for those on call 24/7 in case of emergencies.
    2. Call your insurance provider. Contact your insurer to confirm what’s covered by your policy, and what you’re responsible for. After an emergency, most insurers send an assessor to look over the damages and let you know how much you’re covered for. But it helps to know before so you can think about financing, if you need it.
    3. Know your disaster relief options. Ask your local housing administration about potential grants and other forms of disaster assistance so that you can apply as soon as possible, if necessary, to increase your chance for approval.

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    Rates last updated August 21st, 2018

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    680
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    $30,000
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    Compare up to 4 providers

    Bottom line

    If you don’t have the money up front for repairs when the unexpected or unpreventable happens, you’re not alone. You’re also not out of luck, given your options that include loans, grant programs and opportunities to tap into your home’s equity.

    Start your search with our comprehensive guide to personal loans, where you can jump right into comparing lenders or read more about how these loans work.

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    Anna Serio

    Anna Serio is a staff writer untangling everything you need to know about personal loans, including student, car and business loans. She spent five years living in Beirut, where she was a news editor for The Daily Star and hung out with a lot of cats. She loves to eat, travel and save money.

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