When it comes to budgeting for their new house, first-time homeowners will often busy themselves with mortgage rates, renovation costs, and taxes, and rightfully so; after all, these are essential expenses. However, there is one expense that a lot of first-time homeowners often overlook: home maintenance.
Home maintenance can sometimes be underappreciated because many first-time homeowners come fresh from renting out apartments, where any form of maintenance requirements are met by the landlord. But once you start owning your own home, you are the landlord, which means every leaky pipe, busted electrical outlet, broken windows, and any other maintenance needs will have to be fixed by you (or, y’know, a contractor that you hire).
Take note as well that if you have parts of your house that fall into disrepair, many home warranty companies will not have it covered. Regular, preventive home maintenance greatly reduces the risk of this happening and helps you maintain your home’s value.
At the end of the day, proper home maintenance saves you money in the long run, keeps your house safe from damage, and even increases your home value in the future. Here are some more reasons why home maintenance is so important for first-time homeowners:
Home Maintenance Saves you Money in the Long Run
Think of home maintenance as insurance: you’re paying a small premium so that you won’t have to pay a large fortune later on. Sure, you’re spending a bit here and there to make sure your pipes are in working order, your wiring is in tip-top shape, and your shingles are all hammered down, but even if you add all those tiny increments up, they still won’t be as expensive as a costly repair for a run-down toilet or something.
In fact, experts believe that for every dollar you spend on preventive maintenance in your house, you save up to a whopping $100 in the future. That’s because nipping problems in the bud help you avoid larger problems in the future e.g., cleaning up a dirty air-conditioning filter today (which you can D.I.Y.) goes a long way to preventing your HVAC system from burning out 5 years from now (which can cost anywhere between $300 and $1500).
Is it a hassle? Sure? Does it require more-than-a-little-bit of effort? You betcha! But trust us: it’s going to be all worth it and more when it’s 20 years down the line and you haven’t spent a dime on a major repair!
Home Maintenance Keeps Your Home Safe and Sound
Home maintenance doesn’t just save you money, it can also save your life. Literally. Home maintenance greatly reduces the risk of injury brought about my appliances and/or building features that have been damaged by misuse or disrepair because it addresses those problems well before they become a hazard.
Proper home maintenance can be scheduled, or it can just be something you do everyday like glancing at the roof from time to time to make sure your shingles are in place, being aware if outlets spark when you plug something in, or noticing when a faucet is leaky or not. These little visual checks and simple awareness goes a very long way to ensuring that your roof doesn’t cave in with the next big storm, preventing an electrical fire, or reducing the chances of a water pipe bursting open and flooding the basement.
It also helps you ensure that your appliances last longer: a big part of preventive home maintenance is making sure that all your plugs and outlets are pumping out the correct volts using a voltage checker, or making sure that you have a surge protector plugged in to your electrical system. These simple steps, while it does add an extra ‘chore’ to your weekly to-do list, can usually be done really quickly and with minimal effort. It’s extra work but hey, someone has to do it, and it might as well be you!
Home Maintenance Increases your Home’s Value
Unlike cars, which decrease in value the moment you drive it off the dealer’s lot, a home’s resale value actually increases the longer you own it. Of course, there are a ton of factors that determine how much your house is worth down the line: additions to the original structure, its distance from schools, and how stable the real estate market is in general. And while all of this sounds like things you can’t control, there is one factor you can control to increase your home’s value. Guess what it is.
A well-maintained house, no matter how old, will always have a higher-than-average value because it offers future buyers a chance to own a beautiful home that doesn’t require a lot of renovation or repair, which saves them money in the future. Houses that require some kind of moderate-to-major repairs (brought about by a lack of maintenance in the past) will be valued at much, much lower prices than homes that were maintained properly, correctly, and regularly.
How does this work? If you decided to put your home up for sale tomorrow, and you hadn’t maintained any of your systems and appliances, you would find that the home inspection report would probably show that your home had a lot of problems or potential problems. Buyers would either want a discounted rate depending on the issues that your home may have, or ask you to replace or repair systems that may give them trouble in the future. Either way, you won’t be getting as much money out of the sell of the home as it could potentially be worth.