Maintenance costs need to be considered when purchasing a home. General estimates indicate that every home will require between 1 percent and 3 percent of the home’s value in annual maintenance costs, and this figure does not necessarily include major or emergency repairs.

Prevention Saves Time and Money

The ongoing maintenance of a home is a significant contributor to holding or increasing its value. Homeowners should plan a solid preventive maintenance schedule, so problems can be fixed before they become more costly and damaging.

There are many other benefits for current and potential homeowners when they incorporate preventive maintenance into their annual planning. Preventive maintenance:

  • Avoids expensive emergency repairs: Contractor fees rise in proportion to the urgency and the hour of the service call.
  • Saves money and aggravation: Repairs planned for completion during off-peak times are less expensive and stressful.
  • Minimizes homeowner insurance premiums: Correcting deficiencies before they represent an insurance claim will keep premiums reasonable.
  • Eliminates costly consequential damage: When major home components, like a roof, fail, the damage to home interiors and furnishings can be substantial.
  • Homes in good condition sell at higher prices than neglected counterparts.

Create a Maintenance Checklist

Every house is different, but there are some common elements every homeowner can include on a regular maintenance list:

  • Check the grading and drainage around the foundation
  • Seal driveway and walkway cracks
  • Check fencing and gates
  • Check and trim trees near the house
  • Check for deteriorating/damaged siding
  • Check for loose, damaged, or missing roofing and flashings
  • Clean all gutters and leaders
  • Check weather-stripping and seals on all windows and doors
  • Insulate water lines that are subject to freezing
  • Check condition of the water heater
  • Check ventilation openings for nests, blockage

While this list is not comprehensive, it’s a good start to identifying some potential trouble spots in any home.

Do Your Own Research

It’s important to learn as much about your particular home’s operations. Many web sites and newsletters contain valuable information and tips, and® contains a wide array of resources for homeowners, homebuyers, and home sellers.

Even if you are not comfortable making repairs on your own, simply learning more about spotting potential problems can help reduce the extent and cost of contractor repairs. A home is a major investment and it should be monitored closely.

Remember, these tips are only general guidelines. Since each situation is different, contact a professional if you have questions about a specific issue.