The Three Most Expensive Property Fixes

The Three Most Expensive Property Fixes
May 17, 2023


  • Property ownership is one of the fastest ways to grow wealth but comes with both expected and unexpected expenses
  • Some minor home improvement tasks and maintenance can help mitigate unexpected repair costs.
  • Having a maintenance and monitoring schedule can go a long way to extend the serviceable life of your home systems and appliances.

Buying a home or a rental property can be a truly liberating experience and one that can lead to longer-term wealth accumulation. On the flip side of that coin, property ownership can be riddled with expenses. Some of those expenses are at the forefront - the down payment, monthly mortgage payments, insurance, utilities, and property taxes. But, beyond those standard expenses every homeowner or real estate investor needs to be prepared for - the unexpected and expensive home repairs.

Home repair costs are typically hard to account for. Some are low impact, minor costs while others can be financially crippling expenses that require some planning. One method of financially accounting for those unexpected expenses is commonly referred to the 1% Rule. Budgeting 1% of your purchase price, e.g., if you purchase a $300,000 property, the minimum budget you should set for annual repairs and upkeep would be $3,000. Some experts suggest budgeting up to 4% of the property’s purchase price (it’s never a bad idea to have a robust emergency or “what-if” fund).

We’ve assembled some info on three of the most expensive home fixes that homeowners and real estate investors face along with some advice on how you might be able to avoid them.

Here are the top three most expensive home system repairs:

Foundation Damage

Homes and other buildings that have been built on soil that is most impacted by the drought cycle (swelling during the rainy season and then contracting during the dry season) can wreak havoc on the foundation of your property. Foundation repairs require expertise and expensive equipment that can lead to significant cost passed along to you - the property owner.

Cost: Low grade foundation repairs range from $2,000 to $7,500, with a national average around $4,500. Severe structural foundation issues can balloon up to $15,000 or even $25,000.


  • Windows and doors do not really seem to fit their frames or have changed in how they open and close
  • Basement walls are showing signs of cracking
  • Floors feel uneven or sloping
  • Water pools in your basement or around the exterior of your house after rains 


  • Ensure that soil around the exterior of your home is properly graded away from the building so water channels away
  • Do quarterly checks of your basement walls for signs of cracking or structural changes. Catching changes early often leads to lower repair costs.
  • Ensure that you have proper drainage during times of heavy rains - your gutters and downspouts should be clear, if you have a sump pump it should be cycling properly

Roof Repair

Your roof is the key protector of everything within your home when it comes to dealing with the elements. Delaying roof repairs can significantly increase repair costs to other parts of your property.

COST: The national average for a roof repair is $1,000. Depending on the repair needed, the pitch/design of your roof, and the roofing material, a full roof replacement could cost upwards of $25,000.


  • Water leaks
  • Signs of sagging or unevenness on the roof surface
  • Missing or damaged shingles


  • Inspect the roof annually to identify weak spots or areas in need of repair
  • Hire a professional to do a formal condition inspection periodically (10 years after installation, every 3 years thereafter)

Hot Water Heater Replacement or Repair

The hot water heater is kind of like your big toe, you don’t think much about it until something goes wrong. Water heater problems can lead to flooding and even more expensive repairs if not remedied.

COST: National average repair is $591. Costs can range typically from $221 to $964.


  • The water heater is making unusual banging sounds or is run uncharacteristically loudly
  • It’s leaking water (even more worrisome if the water is rust-colored)


On an annual basis, drain the water in the tank into a bucket and then stir up any sediment in the bottom of the tank by opening the cold-water supply valve. Drain and repeat until clean water comes out of the hose.

Set the temperature dial to 120F. The lower temperature has two benefits - first, it diminishes mineral buildup and corrosion within your water pipes (extending its useful life); and second, for every 10 degrees you lower your water heater temperature you can expect to save up to 5% in your water heater energy costs.


Keeping an eye on the condition of your property’s foundation, roof system, and water heater can pay serious dividends. Regular preventative maintenance work by you as the homeowner or property manager can catch small issues before they evolve into big and expensive issues. 

Do you need help putting a home maintenance plan and schedule into practice? Join the Waitlist for Moatkeeper to build out systematic preventative maintenance and reclaim some peace of mind!

Written by
Brian Borchert

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