Your New Home: You Put a Ring On It, Now You Need to Maintain It

Eriks Draiska
Published on December 13, 2016

Your New Home: You Put a Ring On It, Now You Need to Maintain It

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Don’t you find it odd that so many people take better care of their cars than they do their homes?

While maintaining your automobile is important, your home is far more valuable and an investment equally worth protecting.

Sadly, most problems in a home don’t happen overnight but start out small and, neglected over time, reach the point where the price to repair them became quite costly.

These are homes that suffer from what real estate experts call ‘deferred maintenance,’ and they sell for far less than well-maintained homes.

Not only does deferred maintenance drag down the value of a home (by around 10 percent or even more depending on how bad it is, according to the real estate experts), but it may cause health and safety issues as well.

So, even if you aren’t planning on selling the home for years, it’s important to get on a home maintenance schedule and stick to it.

It’s mainly about water

‘Water causes more damage to homes than any other single deferred maintenance issue,’ according to many builders and inspectors.

As an example, they explain how repairing a leaky rubber ring around a toilet, if caught early, costs less than $100, even less if you can do it yourself

Allow the repair to wait, however, and the cost of repair can balloon to thousands and may include pulling up the toilet and possibly the vanity, the floor coverings and then replacing the subfloor, all the while crossing your fingers that the joists aren’t water damaged as well.

Chances are that the lack of home maintenance problems, will not be covered by insurance.

For another example, some of my building inspector contacts tell how cracked sealant around a window, which costs say less than $20 to repair, can quickly blossom into a multiple thousands repair bill if moisture seeps into the sheathing and flooring, causing rot and mould.

The moral of these stories? If anything on or in the home can be damaged by water, inspect it as often as possible.

Make a schedule

Most home maintenance experts agree that regularly inspecting the home yourself, is the key to finding small problems before they swell into huge ones.

Once your inspections become habitual you won’t need to worry about remembering to do them.

Until then, make a schedule and stick to it. Here are some options to get you started; Build.com.au, the USA Department of Housing & Urban Development and Pinterest offer excellent schedules on their websites.

The most important home systems for home maintenance are the ones that cost the most to replace or repair.

For example, roofing contractors suggest that you perform a routine roof inspection twice a year: at the beginning of spring and again in early autumn.

This may seem like a lot of time spent on just one aspect of the home, but when you consider that repairs from water damage may cost you many more thousands, it’s worth it to take the time to inspect it.

While you’re up there, clean out the gutters and downpipe to make sure that water is directed away from the home Here’s some tips from HGTV.

A petrol blower-vac or leaf blower can come in handy to do this, just make sure the roof is not slippery and dry. Be careful and watch your balance or hire someone to do this for you.

This multi-tasking on home maintenance chores will save you time as well as money.

Then there are home maintenance tasks that need to be performed more often, such as cleaning or replacing the heating and air-conditioning filters, dropping a few ice cubes into the garbage disposer to clean the blades, flushing unused toilets.

Annual projects include checking seals and caulking (important to prevent water damage) and checking the water heater for leaks. Again check the home maintenance schedule or make your own.

While some repairs required to keep the home maintained require the services of a professional, the DIY enthusiast will be pleased to know that lots of them are easy and inexpensive projects.

Just for Fun…

Beyoncé – Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)

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Your New Home: You Put a Ring On It, Now You Need to Maintain It
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