As a homeowner, you must prioritize home maintenance and repair before you even think of doing any home improvement projects. Improvement is optional, but delayed maintenance and repair will lead to further deterioration that will lower the value of your property. Even worse, it could endanger its residents and the property itself.
You must also consider the cost. Before investing in improvements, spend for maintenance and repair first. These alone could already cause a huge drain on your savings. You can save again for improvements later.
Yahoo Finance cites data from a Thumbtack survey in the fourth quarter of 2021. Last year, the average cost of maintaining a single-family was $4,886 annually. This was $450 more per household when compared to 2020. There was an increase of 8.6 percent in the average annual maintenance cost for a townhouse from 2020 to $1,922 in 2021. For an apartment, there was a 10 percent increase from 2020 to $682 in 2021.
Inflation will undoubtedly bring further increases this year. The National Association for Business Economics’ survey among economists showed that their estimate for annual inflation over the next three years is above two percent. At the end of 2022, the Consumer Price Index inflation projection is almost three percent. This means that for this year, the average annual cost of maintenance for a single-family home will exceed $5,000.
It may sound like too much, but this is something no homeowner must shirk. It will be much more expensive to neglect maintenance and repair for now. You may have to spend for a replacement or total reconstruction later.
Fire can wipe out everything you own in one go. Even if you are well covered by fire insurance, belongings with sentimental value are irreplaceable. Fire can also cause death and injuries to your loved ones. Home maintenance and repair to prevent fire must be a top priority. According to the U.S. Fire Administration (USFA), home fires are the leading cause of fire deaths, fire injuries, fire financial losses.
To prevent electrical fires, only hire certified electricians to set up, maintain, and repair your electrical system. Whenever you purchase a major electrical appliance with a high wattage, consult an electrician for its installation because it will probably need its own dedicated outlet. An electrician will also advise you on what you need to support the types and number of electrical equipment you have and if your electrical system is adequately updated. Ask the electrician to install enough outlets for each room, so you do not need to use extension cords or have electrical cords crossing a room. Use childproof outlets if you have children. Regularly check electrical outlets for discoloration, plugs for damage, and cords for fraying. These are signs for immediate replacement.
Various types of heating equipment are also common causes of home fires, requiring yearly maintenance. Hire a professional service for fireplace and furnace repair. This includes your entire heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system.
When using your fireplace, ensure that embers do not fly into the room by using a fireplace screen. Keep the area three feet around the fireplace free of anything flammable. Wait for all the ashes to cool down completely before disposing them in a bin.
Duct cleaning for washing machines is also a fire deterrent. Clogged washing machine ducts are filled with flammable lint, and heat can build up and ignite them.
Install smoke detectors with loud alarms and sprinklers in every room in the house. Check each one every month to ensure that it is working. Have fire extinguishers at home and teach every household member how to use them.
Ensure Structural Integrity
Structural damage to your home affects one or more of the following: the foundation, floors, walls, frames, and roof. Often, damage to one of these also causes damage to the other parts because they work together to keep the house stable.
Termites can damage your home’s structural integrity without your knowledge. Make sure to have your house inspected by professional exterminators and treated if necessary.
Water damage is something else that you must never take for granted. Always have your roof and gutters inspected for leaks. Also, have a certified plumber check your plumbing regularly. You may not notice leaks in your rooms, but these could be dripping behind walls and down to the basement and foundation, causing rot. The moisture also drives the growth of mold, mildew, and bacteria that are health risks to occupants.
Check your home’s foundation, floors, and walls for cracks. If you see any, hire a professional home inspector to assess the extent of the damage.
Apart from these major inspections, make sure you do a thorough monthly cleaning of the entire house. Include the ceiling and the areas under and behind furniture. This will enable you to discover anything that needs fixing. The earlier you catch a potential problem, the easier and cheaper the solution.