Many clients often ask us what they should plan and budget for their home every year. As a general rule, you can expect to spend between 1% (for newer homes) and 2% (for older homes) of your home’s value annually. For a $1 million house, that’s somewhere between $10,000 and $20,000. But in reality, expenses vary widely.
For one, larger projects—such as replacing a roof—happen only once every 15-40 years. Second, cosmetic home improvements—such as kitchen updates—depend on your preferences and willingness to spend. From a planning standpoint, however, there are a few things you can anticipate annually and some big tickets items that you can plan for every couple of years. In this guide, we’ll walk you through all these items so you can start budgeting and planning for your home.
Note: The below price estimates are based on hiring fully licensed and insured trades professionals in Toronto, Canada.
Home Safety Check: For your safety and health, every home needs regular check-ups to keep it in good working order. This includes checking the smoke and CO2 detectors, sump pump, and GFCI power outlets. Every year, plan some time to do an inspection yourself (we've provided a free 10-point checklist of the most important items you should check at the bottom of this page) or budget for a Pro to do a professional and thorough check-up for you.
Prices start at $150, depending on size of your home
Furnace or Boiler Maintenance: It is best practice to maintain your furnace or boiler with an annual servicing to ensure it is in good working order. This also helps to prolong the lifespan of your furnace or boiler so you save money in the long run! If you have a forced-air furnace, changing your filters is an absolute must. The general rule is to replace your filter every 2-3 months for 1-inch filters and every 6-12 months for 4-5-inch filters.
Prices start at $150 for maintenance service, typically per unit
Eavestroughs Cleaning: Clean your eavestroughs once a year (or more, if your home gets a lot of leaf-fall). Clogged eavestroughs may result in rain water running down your exterior and interior walls, causing substantial water damage.
Prices start at $150, depending on size of house
Chimney Sweep: If you have a wood-burning fireplace, you need to sweep your chimney every 50 fires or a minimum of once a year (whichever comes first). This helps prevent creosote buildup which can cause dangerous chimney fires. If you have a gas fireplace, an annual servicing also helps ensure proper functionality and safety.
Prices start at $150, typically per unit
Repairs: The more you carry out the above maintenance tasks on a regular basis, the more likely you will catch issues before they become costly or an emergency. That said, you should still budget for 1-3 repairs a year as things do tend to wear out and surprises can happen.
Prices start at $150, depending on scope of work
Cosmetic tasks: While cosmetic jobs such as window cleaning or landscaping aren’t necessary to keep your home in good working order, they make a big difference in how your home feels and how you live. Plan some time or budget some money for a professional to come by on a regular basis to tend to these regular cosmetic tasks.
Prices for window cleaning start at $150, depending on size of home
Prices for landscaping start at $50 per job, depending on size of garden and scope of work
Repairs and replacements for larger ticket items of more than $1,000 don’t happen frequently but often come as a shock when they do. The good news is that you can easily map out when some these big ticket items will be due for attention so that you can start budgeting accordingly. The below list includes the most common big ticket items that you might need to consider for your home.
Roofing & Eavestroughs: Most homes have asphalt shingle roofs and aluminium eavestroughs and downspouts. Asphalt shingles last 12-30 years (depending on the quality) while aluminium/galvanized gutters last 20-30 years. Replacing your roof when it comes time should not be overlooked or delayed; it’s an important barrier to preventing water damage to your attic and the rest of your home.
Prices for replacing shingles range between $2.50 and $10.00 per sq. ft., depending on the quality of the shingle and complexity of the roofing job
Prices for replacing eavestroughs range between $5.00 and $10.00 per lin. ft.
Windows: Windows last between 15-40 years (depending on the quality). The window caulking usually last between 10-25 years (depending on the quality of the silicone and the harshness of the weather conditions). You can check the age of your windows by checking the space between the window panes — the year of when the window was created (and usually, installed) is marked there (see photo below). New windows will not only provide better insulation but also better sound proofing for your home. If the window caulking also shows signs of cracking (see photo below), it is also time to replace it.
Prices for windows are roughly $1,000 to $2,000 per unit, depending on quality and type of window
Prices for re-caulking a window are roughly $75-100 per unit, depending on number of windows
Appliances: Repairing an appliance at the end of its life span can be costlier than just getting a new one. Using the serial code sticker of your appliance, you can decode the age of your appliance by visit your appliance manufacturer’s website (different manufacturers use different code sequencing). The lifespan of the most common appliances are:
Furnace/AC/Boiler: With regular maintenance (and filter swaps) you can expect your forced-air furnace to last 15-25 years, your AC to last 10-15 years, and your boiler to last 15-25 years.
Prices for furnace replacement are roughly between $2,000 and $8,000 per unit, depending on quality and size of your home
Prices for AC replacement start at $3,000 (existing forced-air system) per unit, $10,000-$20,000 (independent AC system), $3,000-7,000 (ductless air system), all depending on quality and size of your home
Prices for boiler replacement are roughly between $3,500 and $12,000, depending on the age and size of your home
Water Heater: Conventional hot water tank heaters last 8-12 years. Tankless water heaters have an average life expectancy of 20 years. While they are typically more expensive, tankless water hearts boast not only their longevity, they also do not run out of hot water and reduce the risk of flooding.
Prices for tank water heaters range between $500 and $1,500, depending on quality and tank size
Prices for tankless water heaters range between $2,500 and $3,500, depending on quality and water throughput
Deck/Patio: With regular maintenance, a wooden deck will last approximately 10-15 years, a composite deck about 20-30 years, and a concrete patio around 30-40 years (depending on the weather conditions and usage). Water is the enemy for any deck or patio though. Water makes your deck or patio deteriorate faster, which is why a proper drainage system is needed to ensure water doesn’t accumulate and flows away adequately.
Prices for wooden decks are roughly $30 per sq. ft.
Prices for composite decks are roughly $50 per sq. ft.
Prices for concrete slab patio are roughly $5-10 per sq. ft.
Exterior Paint: Wooden exteriors need to be repainted every 4-6 years to protect the wood from the weather. When the wood is exposed to the elements, water damage and damage to the structural integrity of your home is a risk.
Prices start at $2,000, depending on the sq. ft. of your home
Cosmetics Tasks: While not strictly necessary to keep your home in good shape, there are a few large ticket items many homeowners like to tackle to keep their homes beautiful and their home value up.
We hope this guide allows you to better plan your home’s to-do list and budget for the year ahead. If you need help tackling any of the above, our Setter Home Managers would be happy to help you. Please feel free to book a free Home Consultation and we can help you prioritize your home plans and execute your home projects for the year.