If we’ve learned anything from HGTV and This Old House, it’s that home improvement projects can increase your home’s value. But, did you know that basic maintenance can be just as valuable? Without proactive maintenance – like cleaning lint from the dryer or changing your furnace filter – your home could lose up to 10% of its value.
Routine maintenance not only protects the value of your property, but can enhance curb appeal, ensure safety and above all, prevent simple problems from turning into costly repairs. Think about it this way: cracks in your window caulk can lead to trapped water. Trapped water leads to rot. And, rot leads to mold and a bill of about $5,000. Ten minutes and a $4 tube of caulk will prevent mold and save you thousands in repairs.
One study indicates that basic maintenance can even earn you money. Researchers at the University of Connecticut say maintenance can increase the value of a house by about 1% each year.
The first step in getting ahead of home maintenance is to establish your 2012 budget. Earmark about 1% to 3% of the initial house price every year for home maintenance expenses. Some years you’ll spend more than others, so don’t feel pressured to spend the entire budget each year. Let it grow, and the funds will be available when you need it.
If you expect to sell your home in the next few years, home maintenance should be even higher on your priority list. Keep in mind that appraisers factor in your property’s economic age -- the number of years a house is expected to survive -- when valuing your home. Routine maintenance positively affects this estimate. Plus, much like a blind date, first impressions matter. A potential buyer can be deterred by chipped or fading paint, sagging gutters and worn carpet. Don’t wait until you’re ready to sell your property to maintain it!