“Why do today what can be put off until tomorrow?” This tongue-in-cheek adage describes many homeowners’ attitudes toward dealing with home maintenance and repairs. Maintenance costs money, and it's easy to let other pressing matters take priority. Some prefer to perform maintenance themselves but simply lack sufficient time to do so promptly. Whatever the reason for procrastination, the high cost of deferred maintenance will eventually take its toll.
What is the High Cost of Deferred Maintenance?
Many homeowners encounter the painful reality of deferred maintenance and its price tag unexpectedly, usually at the worst possible moment. These costs typically come crashing in when critical systems or other components of the home fail and require repairs that can no longer be postponed. Some examples may include:
- Small moisture intrusions become bad leaks, resulting in damage to ceilings, walls, floors, insulation, roofing, foundations, and more.
- Plumbing issues result in significant breaks in the system, causing sewage backups into the home and requiring extensive repairs that may mean digging up your yard, walkways, or driveway.
In these and other consequences of deferred maintenance, repair costs always far surpass what would have been spent on routine maintenance. Prevention still costs less than repairs.
Deferred maintenance can also include collateral impacts. Finding money for emergency repairs may mean dipping into home equity, a retirement fund, college fund, vacation fund, or require borrowing money or selling valuable property.
How Can I Avoid the High Cost of Deferred Maintenance?
It is in the best interests of homeowners to plan and budget for routine maintenance. Avoiding the high cost of regular maintenance requires some prior planning, savings, and investment. Here are some tips to help you begin:
- Make a priority list of maintenance items – determine what needs upkeep, repair, or replacement throughout your home and prioritize them according to importance/severity. For example, any leaks should be fixed quickly, before rooms that need fresh paint.
- Establish a budget category for home maintenance – save a designated amount from your regular income to be used for maintenance tasks. Your other budget needs and home maintenance needs will influence how much you should save.
- Determine what maintenance tasks you can perform yourself and which require professional attention. For example, you may tackle repainting rooms, but hire a professional for any tuckpointing, electrical, plumbing, or big masonry projects. When a permit is needed, so is a licensed professional.
- Obtain pricing and estimates for materials and labor for each maintenance task. Pay attention to trends in materials pricing. Specific times of the year may be better for purchasing materials at better prices, saving you money. You can also research customer recommendations for contractors you may want to consider for some tasks.
- Schedule maintenance tasks as you are able according to your budgeting and needs. Always perform these tasks as soon as possible to prevent more serious repairs down the road.
You can avoid the high cost of deferred maintenance with some thoughtful planning and disciplined savings. Renaissance Development can help you when your home maintenance tasks in the Washington DC area and surrounding communities include exterior masonry, tuckpointing, and hardscaping. Call us at 202-547-2345 or send a message online about your home maintenance needs.