5 of the Most Expensive Problems in a Home

When something is structurally or mechanically wrong with your home, it can place a burden on your day-to-day life. It’s not as easy to get ready in the morning if your sink doesn’t work, or if your toilet won’t flush, for instance. And, if your heating or air conditioning systems are malfunctioning, that can completely change comfort and happiness levels for everyone in your household.

Problems in the home are a pain, and as a home gets older, the issues often become more costly and more frequent. Generally, the cost of repairs each year is around 1 to 4% of the home’s value. But of course, some unlucky homeowners face much higher costs. If you move into a different home, you may end up taking on that house’s problems, which could show themselves quickly or pop up slowly over time.

Even as a renter, these home repairs may have a dramatic impact on your life. Although you may not have to foot the bill for every repair, you still have to live in the home during the repairs, contact the landlord or property manager with each and every problem, and wait for someone to come out and fix the problem. As a renter of a home with a lot of issues, you also have to find the line of where your responsibility for repairs ends and where the landlord’s responsibility begins.

We’ve created a list of some of the most expensive problems a home can have. You may be surprised to see some of the problems — and their astronomical costs.

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

1. Bedbugs

Average cost to repair: ranges from $500 to upwards of $1,500

Most people get the heebie jeebies just from thinking about the idea of bed bugs. Found in all 50 states, these tiny bugs can lay more than 500 eggs during their lifetime and they can live for several months without eating (you).

Although people think of bedbugs as a problem reserved for renters, hotels, and places where several people have lived or passed through, Pest World reports that “One out of five Americans has had a bed bug infestation in their home or knows someone who has encountered bed bugs at home or in a hotel.” Bedbugs are more common in urban areas, where there are more apartments and people are on-the-go more often. The treatments (like professional exterminators and heat treatments) for bedbugs can get pretty expensive.

If you are a renter, you generally don’t have to pay for a pest infestation you did not introduce. But if you brought the bugs, you’re probably going to have to pay the bill. Specific laws pertaining to tenant responsibilities may vary by state.

Rob Stothard/Getty Images
Rob Stothard/Getty Images

2. Squirrels

Average cost of repair: $100 to upwards of $1,500

Although squirrels look cute and sweet, these rodents can wreak havoc on your home, and on your budget. The can enter into your home through a small opening on the outside of the house in your foundation, siding, roofing, or elsewhere, and the opening doesn’t have to be very large — a squirrel may be able to fit into a hole as small as two inches, according to House Logic.

Once they get inside, squirrels can damage your home’s structure, chew through electrical wires, and leave a dirty mess. Between the cost of setting up traps to remove them (or paying a professional to remove them) and repairing all the damage they do inside your walls and in your attic, you can end up with a large bill on your hands.

If squirrels do a number on your home electrical, your cost could be anywhere between a few hundred bucks and a few thousand. According to Home Advisor, the average cost to hire an electrician is $428, and to install electrical wiring or an electrical panel, you’re looking at an average cost of $1,979.

China Photos/Getty Images
China Photos/Getty Images

3. Termites

Average cost to repair: $3,000

Termites are small insects that can nest and damage wood without you even knowing they’re present. They leave a path of destruction, damaging resources, like crops, and man-made structures, like buildings and homes. According to Termites.com, these pests damage around 600,000 homes every year, at an average cost of $3,000 per home impacted. Termite damage is generally not something that homeowner’s insurance covers. But if you are a renter, your landlord may cover the cost of termite treatment and repairs.

Source: iStock
Source: iStock

4. Leaks and water damage

Average cost to repair: about $12 per square foot

When places that are supposed to remain dry get wet for long periods of time, big problems result. Basements are common sites for water damage — after surface water runs down the foundation wall, hydrostatic pressure pushes groundwater from the soil into the cellar. Water problems also arise from storm or sanitary sewer systems, reports a StateFarm Insurance publication.

“Unexpected water in your basement can damage walls and floors, destroy carpeting, ruin furniture and lead – pretty quickly – to mold. And perhaps the most upsetting of all: As basements are so often used for storage, water downstairs can ruin irreplaceable items like photo albums, antiques, and family heirlooms,” the publication adds.

With a cost of nearly $12 per square foot in some areas (according to Homewyse), water damage in a large, 500-square-foot area can cost you $6,000, Not to mention any potential added costs for plumbing repairs and mold remediation services. Fortunately for renters, these types of problems are usually paid for by landlords, unless of course, the tenant directly caused the damage.

Source: Thinkstock
Source: Thinkstock

5. Roofing and structural problems

Average price of repairs: $12,000 for a new roof

Your home’s main structural components, like its foundation and roof, are among the most expensive things to fix if there is a problem. The average cost of a new roof is $5,000 for an asphalt shingle roof, $25,000 for more expensive, high-end roofs, and $12,000 for the mid-range, according to an Angie’s List publication.

Foundation repairs can get really pricey, too. The Foundation Repair Network reports that to repair a crack in a concrete wall, you’re looking at a cost of between $800 and $1,500. But, if you need more extensive repairs, you could be looking at a cost in the $10,000 or $15,000 range (or higher).

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