If inspecting thousands of homes and owning nearly one-hundred apartments over the past thirty years have taught me anything, it’s that failure to maintain is costly. I’ve seen the gamut … from impeccably maintained homes to run-down shells of a home with ten inches of pigeon poop in the attic (yeah that was one of mine when we got it). Often, the owners feel they are saving money or feel it is not worth the cost to maintain their home.
Sooner or later you pay the price. Homes that have been well maintained and updated sell for far more than a home that needs a lot of work. It’s not rocket science . . . pay gradually by taking care of things in a timely manner, or take the hit all at once when you sell. Failure to maintain will almost always cost you more in the end. I have no empirical data on this, but I’m fairly certain you’re far better off taking care of what you own.
The rotten truth:
Failure to caulk and paint wood every few years often results in rotted wood that will need to be replaced. This is particularly true of newer wood which does not tolerate moisture like older wood. This is why new products such as cellular PVC, a wood analog, composite cement siding, and aluminum capping have become so popular. Still these repairs are far costlier than simply maintaining the wood you have.
The most destructive thing on earth:
Water can do a ton of damage. Clean your gutters at least twice a year . . . after the leaves are off the trees and in the spring. Extend your down spouts away from the house at least 3-4 feet. Have the soil around your home slope away from the foundation.
The price of comfort:
Heating and cooling systems are more costly to operate, and often need to be replaced sooner, if not maintained annually.
The hot flush:
There may be more to flush than your toilet. If you are on a well, have a plumber flush the water heater. Deposits often build up at the bottom of the tank. Water heaters typically last about 10 years.
The home inspector solution:
All this seem overwhelming? Call a home inspector! A great inspector is a valuable ally in your home ownership tool kit. You don’t need to be buying or selling a house to have it inspected! It’s a smart way to have a professional evaluate where you are. Helpful inspectors will give you tips on what to do. They are there for you down the road. You can check with them before committing to a major repair. Home inspectors in most states are prohibited from repairing a home they inspected. This keeps them impartial. Having a home inspection every year or two keeps you informed about your home and alerts you if any repairs or maintenance are needed.
Get it inspected and get it done!