When Are Home Repairs an Emergency?

Brittany says a roofer recently came out to inspect the roof, and it's going to cost $25,000 to repair the home. Brittany and her husband don't have the money to fix it right now. What do they do?

QUESTION: Brittany in Houston and her husband bought a foreclosure three years ago. A roofer recently came out to inspect the roof, and it’s going to cost $25,000 to repair the home. Brittany doesn’t have the money to fix it right now, although they earn $100,000 a year. What do they do?

ANSWER: When Sharon and I were in a similar situation, we saved the money and paid cash for the repair. We didn’t turn it into an emergency. This isn’t an emergency; it needs to be fixed, but I certainly won’t tell you to borrow the money to fix it.

I think you keep working on this and figuring it out if there are different levels of repair that you can do. I don’t want you to fix it poorly to where it has to be fixed later, but often when someone gets into a renovation or situation like that, they overdo the repair. I want to do the proper amount only. I’ve done a lot of remodels and owned a lot of property and fixed up a lot of foreclosures. There are a lot of things you can do at a level that is reasonable, safe and sound and you are not overdoing the build-out on it. You have to be careful of that.

It feels like that’s a lot of money for that situation. I want you to keep working on it while you are getting this debt paid off and getting the money saved. I want you to find a $15,000 fix for this instead of a $25,000 fix. You can be debt-free and pay cash for your repair one year from today. If you are making $100,000 a year, that’s doable.

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