Regular maintenance around your home is more than just an unavoidable weekend chore.
Proactive, routine maintenance enhances curb appeal, ensures safety, and prevents neglected upkeep from turning into costly major repairs.
“It’s the little things that tend to trip up people,” says Frank Lesh, former president of the American Society of Home Inspectors and owner of Home Sweet Home Inspection Co. in Chicago. “Some cracked caulk around the windows may not seem like much, but behind that caulk, water could get into your sheathing, causing mold and rot. Before you know it, you’re looking at a $5,000 repair that could have been prevented by a $4 tube of caulk and a half hour of your time.”
Outright damage to your house is just one of the consequences of neglected maintenance. Without regular upkeep, overall property values decline by 10 percent.
In addition, a house with chipped, fading paint, sagging gutters, and worn carpeting faces an uphill battle when it comes time to sell.
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 percent each year.
“It’s like going to the gym,” says Dr. John P. Harding, Professor of Finance & Real Estate at UConn’s School of Business and an author of the study. “You have to put in the effort to see the results. In that respect, people and houses are somewhat similar—the older (they are), the more work is needed.”
How much money is required for annual maintenance varies from small, routine tasks to major replacements such as a new roof, which can cost $10,000 or more.
Knowing these average costs can help homeowners be prepared, says Melanie McLane, a professional appraiser and real estate agent in Williamsport, Pa.
McLane suggests setting aside a cash reserve that’s used strictly for home repair and maintenance. That way, significant replacements won’t blindside the family budget.
REALTORŪ Association of the Fox Valley, 433 Williamsburg Ave., Geneva, IL 60134 630-232-2360 www.rafv.realtor