It’s common sense: an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Preventative maintenance is a huge part of responsible home ownership. It slows depreciation, reduces energy consumption, and makes your biggest investment, a safer and more comfortable place to be.
There are dozens of individual tasks that fall under the umbrella of home maintenance. Some cost nothing more than a few minutes of time, once or twice a year. Others may take a large chunk of your savings, but only happen once or twice in a lifetime.
When you’re considering your home’s value, there are few things more critical than good preventative maintenance. It heads off potential problems that are infinitely more costly and disruptive.
Here’s what some of the industry’s top experts are saying about the benefits of home maintenance:
#1. Home Maintenance Outweighs Major Remodels
A discussion on the HGTV design blog clarifies the financial benefits of home maintenance by providing some hard numbers. Some maintenance jobs have a considerable payoff when the house is ready for resale.
It cites a survey of real estate agents, contractors, and architects that found “you’re less likely to recoup your investment in a major kitchen or bathroom remodel than you are to get back what you spend on basic home maintenance such as new siding. Siding replacement recouped 92.8 percent of its cost.”
The article goes on to say: “Most buyers have a limit on what they can spend for a house. If they know they don’t have to spend money on the upkeep of basic systems, then they’re more likely to buy the house and consider upgrading the kitchen or baths themselves.”
Keeping your home in tip-top shape via regular maintenance means buyers can focus on the fun stuff —not the behind-the-scenes details that could turn them off.
#2. Home Maintenance Trumps Luxury Upgrades
Most experts agree that solid home systems trump luxury extras when it comes to increasing a home’s value. The HGTV article quotes Sal Alfano, editorial director of Remodeling Magazine: “Buyers want to take the basic systems for granted. They assume the roof doesn’t leak and the air conditioning and plumbing work. Maintenance can chew up a lot of cash quickly, and people are afraid of that.”
While it’s certainly true that home maintenance should be a significant budget item for homeowners, its cost is a tremendous bargain when compared to the potential costs of ignoring it. And don’t forget the value added to the home: HGTV’s piece states that maintenance and home improvement projects cost about 20 to 25 cents on the dollar. The other 75 to 80 cents spent go directly back into the home through increased value.
#3. Home Maintenance is Big Business
Builder Online provides a good overall picture of what we spend on home improvements and upkeep:
Estimates of expenditures on remodeling vary. Harvard University’s Joint Center for Housing Studies estimates homeowner remodeling at $192 billion in 2013, and nearly $300 billion for remodeling and maintenance of owned and rented homes. As a comparison, construction of new single-family and multifamily homes in 2013 was just over $200 billion. The Census Bureau estimates of homeowners’ remodel activities were $133 billion in 2013, or about 70% of the Joint Center’s estimate. Both estimates are large, especially compared with the relatively weak performance of new housing.
Of course, there is a difference between preventative maintenance and remodeling. Remodeling is often done to increase the amount of space in a home or to update décor. Still, the two are very much intertwined. Replacing outdated appliances with more energy-efficient models proactively reduces utility costs and prevents household disasters that can be very costly to address from ever occurring.
Often, preventative maintenance is not visible to the casual observer. It’s not as exciting as a facelift or remodeling project, but the experts agree that it has more impact on the value of your home. The snazziest kitchen on the block loses its appeal if the pipes are leaking under the sink.
#4. Home Maintenance Thwarts Expensive Problems
As the DIY Network puts it: “A regular schedule of preventative home maintenance can thwart a host of expensive problems down the road and keep your house in tip-top condition. Preventative maintenance is also far easier than waiting until something breaks and then having to scramble to get it fixed.”
They identify protecting the home from moisture as the single most important preventative maintenance concern. Keeping up with specific tasks here can prevent some serious and costly issues. For example, keeping gutters clear will help direct rainwater away from the house, and can prevent cracks and other problems in the foundation. It also keeps water from building up and seeping into roofing materials, causing rot, mold, and other hazards.
The pattern here is clear: preventative maintenance is relatively simple and inexpensive, while the problems it prevents are costly and inconvenient.
… and It Doesn’t Have to Be Hard
It’s difficult to argue with anything these experts are saying, but for many homeowners it’s also hard to imagine finding time to keep up with the dozens of maintenance tasks that modern homes demand every year. That’s the issue that Glasshouse is intended to address.
With our services you can leave home maintenance to your Glasshouse Manager, a single point of contact for anything related to caring for your home. With your input, we create a customized maintenance schedule that ensures that nothing is forgotten. Your house will stay in tip-top condition and potential problems will be nipped in the bud with regular visits from your manager. Enjoy your home and leave the maintenance to us.