Recently I've noticed how neglecting home maintenance may cost far more than had those maintenance issues had been addressed much sooner.

I've seen homes built just 15 years ago that already have dry rot on the outside, roofs that leak, air conditioning systems that barely work and on the inside, dirty walls, leaks under the sinks and appliances on their "last leg."

If you look at fixing all of these things all at once, it may cost tens of thousands of dollars. But if they could have been addressed as they became an issue, that cost could have been far less.

The reason is that if a problem is allowed to get worse over the years, more things have to be done to remedy the issue. For example if a home is not painted regularly, the exterior wood gets dry, warps and often has dry rot because it hasn't been caulked and painted. If the issue is not addressed, water enters the walls and causes far more damage. But if it's taken care of early, it may only require a few wood pieces to be replaced at a very low cost.

So, with that in mind every Spring, get out your yellow pad and pen and evaluate your home carefully (or pay for someone to do that for you). Pay attention not only to current issues but look for things that can lead to issues later. Then get going on getting those items repaired. If you can't do it yourself, get some bids from qualified contractors, choose one and have them get to work as soon as possible. Maybe the contractor could do the the rough work and you can finish up by caulking and painting to save some money.

If you say, "I barely have money just to make the monthly payments", consider that a roof leak not only is a result of a bad roof, but may affect your attic insulation, attic wood members and the ceiling of your home. You cannot afford to let these issues accumulate, especially if you plan to sell your home in the future.

So instead of avoiding doing repairs to your home, take a proactive position on these issues. PLAN ahead! Do what a responsible property manager would do, project how much it may cost to do certain projects. If you anticipate a roof will last 10 more years, find out what it could cost to replace the roof and divide that number by 120. That's how much per month you'll need to put away each month so that in 10 years you have the cash to replace the roof. A water heater may last 15 years. If it's only 5 years old, you'll need to take the cost of a new water heater, divide by 120 and that's how much you'll need to set aside for a future water heater and so on. Sinks, flooring, windows and paint will only last so long. So factor all of that in. If necessary, create a special, separate bank account which you don't touch where you accumulate funds for future repairs.

If you don't have much money today and want to begin saving for future repairs you may consider buying a 1 year home warranty plan until you have enough money in your savings for potential breakdowns. Home warranty plans can cost less than $500 per year for most homes and cover big failures like water heaters, air conditioning, electrical and plumbing. 

Those who say money cannot buy happiness don't know how it feels when your water heater goes out and you HAVE the money in your savings account to pay for it. Instead of panicking, you calmly write a check and the hot water returns to your household in a timely fashion.

And where will the money come for my home improvement account? From where you spend it NOW! 

Remember, most items that stop working or fail can usually be fixed at a much lower cost than buying a new one. All you have to do is the math to determine if fixing is better for you than buying a new one. In my household, some of my appliances lasted more than 20 years before needing to be replaced!

If you follow the manufacturer's recommendations, you may be able to extend the life of some items for a very long time.

Some of my friends will say to themselves, "My air conditioner is 20 years old. It statistically is at the end of its life. Instead of going through the hassle of attempting to get it fixed on a 100 degree Summer day, I'll replace it now BEFORE the breakdown arises." My other friends feel there's no point to replacing things early. They wait until it breaks down and then make the decision to either fix it or replace it at that time.  If you have money set aside for repairs, you'll have more options in the future.

Remember, if you plan to sell your home, potential buyers may seriously discount the price of your home because there may be a lot of work to do to bring it up to standard. They won't just discount the cost of the work from your sales price, they'll subtract a lot more from the price to justify their time and effort in the fix up project.

Also consider that in the Winter, repair contractors may slow down due to the holidays. They may give you their best price if you hire them when business is slower.

Do you have something that really needs to be fixed at your home, so much so that it could lead to bigger problems later? Get going now and feel proud of the beautiful home you live in!

Would you like an introduction to contractors that may assist you in resolving fix-up issues around your home? Please call David Jurewicz, REALTOR(r) 00661096, of RE/MAX Gold at 916.682.6454 today.


P.S. We have discovered that it may be less costly for you in the long run to buy the very best materials or well-built appliances you can afford and maintain them according to the manufacturers recommendations. If you can get your 15 year appliances or repairs to last 25 years, the yearly cost of maintaining your home will go way down.

For more home maintenance ideas, call REALTOR(r) David Jurewicz today at 916.682.6454.