July 29, 2021
Budget Now to Avoid Costly Maintenance Blunders
How to Protect Your Home and Not Break Your Budget Series — Week 4
This 4-week series is a must for every homeowner. Once you buy a home, it’s now all your responsibility! But are you truly prepared for the unexpected? This series is a great overview on what you need to know when it comes to getting homeowner’s insurance, keeping your home safe and secure, and avoiding costly mistakes when protecting your home.
In this final week, it’s all about precaution and preventing costly mistakes in your home. Here’s why regular maintenance is a must and should always be on your calendar.
It can be fun and exciting to be a new homeowner, with entertaining friends around your kitchen island, relaxing on your favorite coach with the game on the big screen TV, and treasuring your extra bathroom when guests visit.
All sounds good, right?
But this is a homeowner scenario you want to avoid:
“I should’ve caulked those windows for a few bucks a tube last summer. Now I’ve got a $2,000 repair bill for mold and water damage. What was I thinking?!”
Big homeowner mistake … that can be easily avoided if you put “preventative” maintenance on your to-do list today.
It will be worth your time and money now so that you won’t face costly repairs for any serious (and preventable) damage later on.
How Much to Budget
Many homeowners put off maintenance because of its cost. The benefit isn’t always seen immediately. But you need to think of it more like insurance, spend a little upfront so that you’re not wiped out later on if (and, most likely, when) something happens.
Maintenance costs can vary from year to year, but on average, most owners should budget 1% of their initial home’s price for maintenance and put that money aside.
You may spend just a couple of hundred dollars some years but having a reserve fund will prevent you from being blindsided by a major project, like a new roof or tree removal.
Keep in mind, older houses may require more work and money to upkeep, so all of these tips should be rules of thumb. We see many homeowners focusing on upgrades and updates instead of necessary maintenance. So take notes on everything we are telling you here!
Some of these maintenance “musts” will require hiring an expert or having a service contract, while others may need you to purchase items for your DIY attempts.
Plus, some maintenance is required regularly while others come up every few years. Either way, these “musts” should be on your list and part of your budget.
Cluttered gutters can lead to water damage. During a major rainstorm, see if gutters are overflowing. Standing water in a gutter can also freeze in the winter causing the gutters to pull away from the house.
Make sure your gutters are directed to drain as far away from the house as possible and on a downslope. Check this regularly to prevent major water damage.
Consider and budget for a French drain system if water tends to pool in your yard.
Keep your trees trimmed and healthy every couple of years. Look for dead branches and dangerous overhangs close to your home. You don’t want any surprises during a storm so hire a professional company to care for your trees and trim them when necessary.
Overgrown bushes can be a comfy home for mice and other creatures. Keep them neat and trimmed below window level.
Yard work includes mowing the lawn, raking leaves, aerating, fertilizing, weed prevention, and seeding. You’re either going to do this yourself or hire someone.
You may need to budget for the purchase of a lawnmower, garden tools, rakes, and snow shovels over the course of your homeownership.
Follow your deck’s maintenance instructions each year, which might include cleaning it with a mild bleach solution to prevent mold.
Pressure-treated decks can become dry and splintered, so stain or seal regularly.
Pull weeds from patios before they take root and cause damage.
Follow your driveway’s maintenance instructions since there are so many different kinds of materials used now. Clean up oil and gas stains as directed. Your driveway also might require sealing of asphalt or filling in sand/sealing if you have brick or clay pavers.
Know the age of your appliances and how to handle each properly to ensure a longer lifespan — washer/dryer; dishwasher; stove/oven; refrigerator; etc. If you’ve “inherited” these appliances when you moved in, then take the time to read up on them before using them.
Treat your appliances with proper care and don’t delay fixing when broken. Budget for repair or replacement for these items. Appliances do not last as long as you might think!
Find a reputable service repair company or consider getting a repair plan when purchasing a new item. It is usually well worth the extra cost but do your homework first.
Make it Easy — Schedule and Record It
Having a budget isn’t any good if you don’t actually do the maintenance. Create a schedule for when certain tasks need to be done, perhaps by month. This will help you stay on task. For example, in October: gutters get cleaned.
Keep a record of maintenance tasks, purchases, and receipts in a binder or another file system to easily find information. There are even apps for smartphones out there too.
No matter what system you use, it should contain information on:
store and contractor receipts,
model numbers and manufacturer information,
Preserving the Value of Your Home
Preventative maintenance is also important for preserving your home’s value. Your home is probably your biggest investment and you want to make sure it retains its value.
A poorly kept home in a worn condition can lose up to 10% of its appraised value, according to appraisers. When you sell your home, you don’t want major issues that could drag down its selling points.
You are in control of this outcome, so start today on your preventative maintenance and budget plan!
I Want To Help
If you need any recommendations for contractors or service providers who can help you with any of these items, please reach out. I can recommend my favorites to you that I trust. Or, if you are more of a do-it-yourselfer, reach out if you have any questions about this list of home maintenance items.
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Regan Van Kerckhove is a real estate agent affiliated with Comey & Shepherd Realtors. Comey & Shepherd is a licensed real estate broker in the State of Ohio and Kentucky and abides by equal housing opportunity laws. All material presented herein is intended for informational purposes only. Information is compiled from sources deemed reliable but is subject to errors, omissions, changes in price, condition, sale, or withdrawal without notice. No statement is made as to accuracy of any description. All measurements and square footages are approximate. This is not intended to solicit property already listed. Nothing herein shall be construed as legal, accounting or other professional advice outside the realm of real estate brokerage