July 08, 2015

What are the top things in your life that are the most important? Your children, your marriage, family, friends…? You invest time and energy in those items because you care about them. Why not invest in your home? It’s one of the largest financial investments that you have! Homes need your attention just like everything else in your life, you can’t just take advantage of their existence – they will show off their neglect visibly for everyone to see!

Recently, I met with Nate Scott of Scott Builders at a friend’s house to discuss the direction of repairs. She was fine with simply hiring a painter and was excited about choosing a new color. But when I took a closer look at the condition of the front porch and shingles, a red flag was raised because there was so much delayed maintenance.

With delayed maintenance, it usually means that one problem leads to another. Typically, the expenses and issues are much larger and could have been avoided if addressed years ago. Quite simply, an appropriately painted trim board can avoid water damage and rot. Structural issues might be inevitable but are best addressed earlier rather than later when the rest of the house settles.

So… who takes care of what and in what order?

  • Your contractor should be the first one in. This will allow time for all the problems that exist to be FIXED. In other words, why spend the money on painting when the problem will persist or get worse.
  • The Painter will come in next. They can do some minor repairs but that should be limited to sanding and perhaps replacing some shingles. When it comes to dealing with water issues and trim boards it is best to have your contractor develop a treatment plan for repairs.
  • The Roofer will come in last. The roof needs to be flashed properly to keep dirt (future moss) and water damage from getting into your home. These are very, very expensive fixes so best to tackle them by hiring a good and qualified roofer.

One question that my friend had was, “How much work do you do on a house before it is an investment beyond return?” My answer is always this: If you are only going to stay in your home for another 5 years, let the next homeowner do the work but be ready to take the repair costs off the price of the house. Fixing up a house to sell is a tricky issue because of return on investment – hence, try to avoid delayed maintenance.

Lastly, I will say this… when you have small children and animals, you can let your floors, interior paint, cabinetry and appliances go. All of these will need to be addressed before moving but you will probably loose the upkeep battle. That said, I encourage you to NOT avoid the larger issues before they become a more expensive problem: water damage, insulation, leaking windows and rotted wood. Love and pay proper attention to your house and I promise, it will love you back.

If you need any more tips on how to prevent costly damages because of delayed maintenance, check out this link: http://money.usnews.com/money/blogs/my-money/2015/03/18/7-home-maintenance-chores-that-turn-costly-if-you-delay