Spend money on the home you own

Dated: May 28 2019

Views: 31

Gail and I are on vacation for a few weeks.  We are nestled along the Nottley River in North Carolina, de- compressing and relaxing. The fall colors are starting to pop and we just had a week of “chamber of commerce: weather: Cool at night with warm sunny days.

In tune with my “it’s only called work if you would rather be doing something else,”, we also enjoyed looking at some real estate up here. This is our fourth year in a row vacationing in North Carolina and we are consider getting our toes in the mountains with a second home.  Which brings me to a topic that has been bugging me for a few months as I searched for homes for my clients in Fort Myers and it reared its head here in Murphy while looking at previously loved homes for sale:  Maintenance of your home.

If you are planning on selling your home someday – and trust me, you eventually WILL sell your home, you should put together a plan, and by a plan I mean a budget and a calendar, to maintain and upgrade you home on a regular basis.  I see so many homes that owners have just given up on and when it comes time to sell there are so many things that need to be done to the house, the home shows poorly, has a lower value, that the house languishes on the market.

Putting your house on the market certainly is a reason to spruce up you house, and indeed most folks are reactive when it comes to repairs and maintenance: The screen is ripped, repair it; the door squeaks, lubricate it, yes fixing up your home to sell is a reactive act. but you need to be proactive when it comes to maintenance on your home.

For one reason, maintenance is cheaper than repair. Painting before a house truly needs it is SO much less expensive for example, than scraping, sanding and prepping old paint.   The second reason is that its, well, easier. It’s easier to have 12 monthly small projects than spending two weeks on a major repair.   The third reason is to avoid replacement and repair. If you maintain your mechanical items in your house they will simply last longer and perform better, be more energy efficient, and run quieter with less hassles.

When you put your maintenance plan together add items that need upgrading as well. Make a habit or regularly upgrading items to more efficient or contemporary and up to date models. Thermostats, shower heads, light fixtures are a few easy examples. Less obvious are toilet flush valves, faucets, weather-stripping, and thresholds. Upgrade and update wallpaper, closet shelving and seldom used lighting. Look around, and start making a list, prioritize the items, and then tag them with a budget – both time and money. You should have a monthly budget for your home maintentance and upgrades as surely as you have a budget for food end utilities.

To help you here is a link to the life expectancy of just about every item in your house. The by far easiest place to start is caulking and painting. But go through this list and know that life expectancy certainly varies, but in all cases proper care will extend the life of all the items in your home.

Be proactive instead of reactive. In this way you can work on your schedule and budget not the schedule that you house will set. For example, is you water heater at the end of its like expectancy?  (See the chart here )  Better to replace it now instead of in a hurry after cleaning up a bad flood. (And I’m betting that you never flushed or maintained your water heater either).

By the way here is the home we bought BTW - you can visit our cottage here

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Gregg Fous

Real estate has been my passion since I took my first Al Lowery class on real estate investing in the 1970’s. I vowed during that class that I would buy one property a year. Over the next five ....

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