Proactive maintenance is essential to preserving the value of your home—without it, your home could lose 10% of its value. Regular, routine maintenance enhances curb appeal, ensures safety, and prevents neglected upkeep from turning into costly major repairs.
Outright damage to your house is just one of the consequences of neglected maintenance. Without regular upkeep, the property could easily lose 10% of its appraised value. That could translate into a $10,000 or $15,000 adjustment.
In addition, a house with chipped, fading paint, sagging gutters, and worn carpeting faces an uphill battle when it comes time to sell. Not only is it at a disadvantage in comparison with other similar homes that might be for sale in the neighborhood, but a shaggy appearance is bound to turn off prospective buyers and depress the selling price. Remember, first impressions mean a lot to potential buyers.
A study by researchers at the University of Connecticut and Syracuse University suggests that maintenance actually increases the value of a house by about 1% each year. However, maintenance costs money. How much money is required for annual maintenance varies. Some years, routine tasks, such as cleaning gutters and changing furnace filters, are all that’s needed, and your total expenditures may be a few hundred dollars. Other years may include major replacements, such as a new roof, at a cost of $10,000 or more.
Setting aside a cash reserve that’s used strictly for home repair and maintenance can be helpful. That way, routine upkeep is a snap and any significant replacements won’t blindside the family budget.
Some other strategies include:
Play offense, not defense: Proactive maintenance is key to preventing small problems from becoming big issues. Take the initiative with regular inspections. Create and faithfully follow a maintenance schedule. If you’re unsure of what needs to be done, a $200 to $300 visit from a professional inspector can be invaluable in pointing out quick fixes and potential problems.
Plan a room-per-year redo: Pick a different room every year and go through it, fixing and improving as you go. That helps keep maintenance fun and interesting.
Keep track: Having a notebook of all your maintenance and upgrades, along with receipts, is a powerful tool when it comes to sell your home. It gets rid of any doubts for the buyer, and it says you are a meticulous, caring homeowner. A maintenance record also proves repairs and replacements for systems, such as wiring and plumbing, which might not be readily apparent.
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