Paying for Emergency Home Repairs in Northeast Wisconsin

unexpected home costs

Every once in a blue moon, disaster strikes unexpectedly. Whether you experience flood damage, need to replace your furnace or roof, run into excessive plumbing issues, or unearth termite problems, home repair expenses can be costly and can cut into precious savings.

If your home was affected by the torrential rainfalls and flooding this September in Northeast Wisconsin, or you helped a neighbor clean up their yard from one of the 19 tornadoes that hit in Fond du Lac County and Central Wisconsin this summer, you were reminded just how unpredictable Mother Nature can be. But, home emergencies are not always solely weather-related.

While unbudgeted home expenses can be a homeowner’s worst fear, the good news is there are different routes homeowners can take to ensure your finances won’t need the repairs when your house does. Here are three things you can do:

1. Start an emergency home repair fund.

When something goes awry, a home repair emergency fund is there to pay for those unexpected home issues.

If your hot water heater gives out, your insurance may cover some of the cost to clean up the damage, but you’ll likely have to pay additional expenses to have a new water heater installed. This is the perfect scenario to use the emergency home repair fund.

But how much should you have stashed away? A good target amount is to save around one percent per year of your home’s value. So, if your home is worth $250,000, strive to add $2,500 to the account annually. The Balance shares that while some years you’ll likely spend less than the one percent, there may come a year where your HVAC unit must be replaced, which may cost more than expected. The price of a new air conditioning unit varies by your homes square footage and local costs on HVAC installation, but a replacement averages from $3,500 to $7,525.

If you don’t have an emergency fund, you’re not alone. A survey by HomeServe USA shared that 25 percent of homeowners didn’t have a savings account set aside for major repairs. However, 48 percent of homeowners experienced an emergency home repair expense in the past 12 months, underlining the importance of having money saved away for unplanned home expenses.

The nice thing about saving with a credit union is that you can have several savings accounts, meaning one account can be dedicated to an emergency home repair fund. With Unison, you can keep your basic savings in one place and open sub-share savings to save for vacations, emergency funds, and more. Additionally, you can utilize online and mobile account management functionality, and set up automatic transfers to your primary savings account, so you don’t have to manually move money.

If you don’t have an emergency fund yet, don’t fret. There are other ways to pay for your unforeseen issue.

2. Need cash fast? Consider a loan or line of credit.

When the unanticipated happens, and you need financial assistance right away, Unison’s U Choose loans or Kwik Cash are the fastest way to get the money you need.

For instance, if your furnace goes out in the middle of a frigid Wisconsin winter and you’re not comfortable dipping into your savings, a U Choose loan is one way to address the situation, quickly.

A U Choose loan allows you to borrow the money you need to do whatever you want. While it’s not always used for emergency situations (sometimes it’s used for Wisconsin kitchen remodels or backyard transformations), our members appreciate it because of its speedy approval process and easy online application.

With a U Choose loan, members can borrow up to $30,000 at a time to fix any issues. Recently, we helped one Fox Valley mom get the money she needed for a new roof in 24 hours when her roof was leaking and temperatures were dropping – all through a U Choose loan. We told you we’re speedy!

Additionally, Kwik Cash is a line of credit you can draw from in cash or transfer funds to another account. With Kwik Cash, you can manage your line of credit using online banking and make transfers to accounts as needed. It creates financial flexibility, especially in a time of emergency. You only have to pay interest on the funds you borrow. Depending on your situation, Kwik Cash is another option to have in your arsenal of resources for a rainy day.

3. Have a few weeks? Take out a Home Equity Line of Credit (HELOC).

If you have a little time before the work needs to get done, consider a HELOC. A HELOC allows homeowners to tap into funds as they need it1 – and when crises or home improvement projects arise. It may take up to 4 to 6 weeks for approval, but after that, a HELOC functions like a line of credit so you can draw from the funds at any time2.

We often see this when a family knows their roof needs to be replaced before the months of heavy and wet snow begin. It’s likely they didn’t expect for this expense to come up so soon, but need it restored before an even bigger issue arises such as leaks and structural damage.

A HELOC gives people a little more financial freedom and ensures they aren’t cutting into funds allocated for other items.

To receive a HELOC, members will need a home appraisal, credit check, mortgage statement, recent property tax bill, income and employment information, and deed or legal description of property. Read more about how members use HELOCs and how to get one.

Getting You Out of Sticky Situations

At Unison Credit Union, we understand home repairs can come up without warning. Whether you need help setting up a plan for an emergency fund or need cash fast for a home predicament, we’re here to help. No matter your issue, our Member Advisors are trained to guide you in a direction that matches your timeline and financial needs.

Stop in at one of our six convenient locations to speak with a Unison Member Advisor and learn more about options to solve your emergency home repair situation. Check out our rates or give us a call at 888-878-8806 today. Let Unison Credit Union empower you with financial flexibility!

1Minimum 20% remaining home equity required. Subject to credit approval.
2During the 72 month draw period.
Unison Credit Union does not knowingly collect, maintain, or use personal information from our website about children under age 13. If a child whom we know to be under age 13 sends personal information to us online, we will only use that information to respond directly to that child, notify parents, or seek parental consent.
Any specific references to commercial products, trademarks, service marks, manufacturers, or otherwise in this article do not constitute or imply endorsement by Unison Credit Union. A periodic interest finance charge is imposed on all Loan Advances; HELOCS are a variable Mortgage Loan product, the annual percentage rate may vary after the account is opened.
The HMDA data about our residential mortgage lending are available for review. The data show geographic distribution of loans and applications; ethnicity, race, sex, and income of applicants and borrowers; and information about loan approvals and denials. Inquire at this office regarding the locations where HMDA data may be inspected. Unison Credit Union 920.766.6000.