For most of us, the phrase “tune-up” immediately brings up images of a vehicle being serviced —maybe it’s up on a lift, a professional is wielding socket wrenches and lubricating parts… The phrase is also closely related to music, and when musicians tune up they’re making small adjustments for optimum performance, much like the mechanic.
A tune-up is not something we often associate with the home, but maybe it should be. After all, the definition sounds like it fits: “To adjust for proper functioning; to bring into harmony or agreement.”
We’d all like for our home to be a harmonious place where everything is functioning properly. Even though the name isn’t specifically used, a tune-up for your home is a terrific idea.
As real estate professionals, you know this. Homes and the things that make them work are at the center of your lives on a daily basis. You’ve seen the consequences of neglecting home maintenance repeatedly, and first-hand.
There may have been times when a home had to be priced below the neighborhood average because of water damage, or when an inspection uncovered issues that killed a deal and sent everyone back to the drawing board.
We know that regular maintenance can add tremendously to the value of a home and make it a safer and more enjoyable place to live. It’s also a much more cost-effective approach than repairing after the fact. Something as simple and inexpensive as regularly replacing HVAC filters can keep costly systems running years longer, and more efficiently to boot.
Sharing the Benefits
The trouble is, many of your clients aren’t aware of the benefits of regular maintenance, for a variety of reasons. First-time homeowners, in particular, may not be familiar with the workings of a house. They may have never owned a clothes dryer, let alone known to keep the vent clear to avoid fires.
Modern life is full and busy. Your clients may not feel that it’s worth their time to keep up with routine maintenance. They may ignore it until something goes wrong. This can be disastrous. It results in higher costs and has a very negative effect on the whole “harmonious” atmosphere that we’re going for.
It’s Not Always Exciting, But It’s a Good Thing
So, as a professional who hates to see your client’s lives disrupted by unexpected problems with their home, what can you do to convince them that a “tune-up” for their house is important? And something that they can take care of relatively easily?
1. Four Wheels = Four Walls
Even if your client is a first-timer, they likely own a car, and understand preventative maintenance from that point of view. Use that knowledge to impress upon them the wisdom of tuning up their home in order to avoid bigger problems down the road (pun intended…). Their home is an even bigger investment than their car, so keeping it tuned up is even more critical.
2. Price the Alternative
Nothing is better than hard numbers if you want to demonstrate the cost effectiveness of preventative maintenance. Make it clear to your client by sharing a cost comparison of prevention vs. repair or replacement. Many maintenance tasks, like draining and flushing a water heater tank, are very inexpensive or even free, while replacing appliances or systems that fail due to neglect can be very pricy.
3. Sell the Value
Whatever their situation, most of your clients assume that they will eventually be selling their home. Good maintenance practices can increase the home’s value and make it easier to keep the property in top-notch condition. The annual Cost vs. Value survey is a good source of information on what sort of return homeowners can expect on the cost of different upgrades and improvements to their home.
4. Preach the Options
For many new homeowners, the desire to do a good job maintaining that investment is there, but life has other ideas. Modern life is very demanding, and busy professionals and time-strapped parents may tend to put home maintenance on a back burner.
There are only so many hours in the day, as you well know, and people want to be able to enjoy their homes, not spend all their time there on maintenance. Even if they don’t do the work themselves, just being aware of what needs to be done and how often can require some investigation, and then there’s the job of finding a reliable plumber, electrician, or other help.
For clients who would love to keep their home in top shape, but don’t feel they have the time or know-how, have them consider Glasshouse. The service takes care of all of the details so the homeowner’s investment is protected and their peace of mind assured.