How to Handle Deferred Maintenance

Why Homeowners Shouldn't Delay Home MaintenanceDeferred maintenance refers to putting off standard home repair jobs until homeowners have both the time and money to fix the problems. This is not about delaying the installation of a new jacuzzi when there's nothing wrong with the current bathtub, but about waiting to fix a roof shingle or ignoring the ever-growing number of scratches on the dining room floor. A home improvement checklist might be delayed for any number of reasons, but not every homeowner realizes the consequences of choosing to wait. Learn more about deferred maintenance and how to handle the potential pitfalls should you need to do it.

Recognize the Facts

The real problem with deferred maintenance is that its importance is discounted by busy homeowners who don't have endless weekends to oil their deck or repair the tears in their window screens. As long as the deck isn't rotting away and the windows aren't letting in creatures of every variety, it may seem as though a few flaws are perfectly normal. In fact, it's not unusual for homeowners to convince themselves that the wear and tear give the home the character it needs to increase in resale value. But the truth is that deferred maintenance is a good way to devalue the home over the time and increase the total cost of home maintenance over the years.

The Secret of Maintenance

When a homeowner decides to wait several months before tackling a repair, they're merely inviting the problem to become worse over time. The tile in the bathroom may start with a tiny chip but, without being fixed, it can turn the whole floor into a danger zone. In fact, the average cost of deferred maintenance can be up to four times as much as it would have been to fix the original problem! For those planning to sell the home anytime soon, they can also imagine how easy it would be for buyers to use deferred maintenance as a means of renegotiating their offer. Whether the price reduction happens before or after an inspection, it can mean thousands of dollars lost in resale costs.

Making a Game Plan

The good news is that maintenance doesn't have to be expensive or complicated to complete once a homeowner understands the full weight of its importance—homeowners can even do some of the repairs themselves. Part of handling it is developing a systematic way to keep track of each job so the list can be prioritized and tackled in a timely manner. Ideally, these lists will not only keep homeowners on track but also give them a way of estimating and budgeting each type of repair. Traditional methods can be as simple as pen and paper, but there are more tech-savvy solutions available today for homeowners to consider. For example, apps such as Home Maintenance give people an easy way to track maintenance so nothing ever sneaks up on them.

Both Eyes Open

There are plenty of stop-gaps a homeowner can use as temporary solutions to a problem. A leaky roof can be a quick patch-up job, window screens can be held together with just a little bit of duct tape, and plumbing disasters can be deferred by turning off the water line to the problem area. But doing these things aren't recommended for homeowners who want to keep the value of their home. The longer a repair goes left untreated, the more money a homeowner should plan to spend down the line. While it may seem superfluous for cash-strapped homeowners, a basic home inspection every year by a professional may be the best possible way to ensure the longevity of the home—especially if it's an older home.

Additional Considerations

Whether the price of the home rises or falls over time, it helps for homeowners to understand their position in the market. The decision to let certain repairs go because the neighborhood is starting to take a turn for the worse is exactly how certain blocks can go from thriving to dying. While a homeowner shouldn't want to devote their entire savings to making the home picture-perfect (a true impossibility if it's being lived in), standard maintenance will make the home safer for the homeowners and their family members.

The reality of maintenance is that it has to be done consistently by every property owner, in Alexandria or elsewhere or else they run a huge risk of having to spend more money down the line. There's simply no substitute for in-depth inspections and quality repair work. Putting it off may seem like a possibility until homeowners find out the hard way that their plan to save their budget really only added to it in the long run.

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