Maintaining your home is a time-consuming and expensive activity. You may not consider it a priority unless you are planning to rent or sell. However, failing to adequately maintain your home can have dramatic consequences later on.
We consider priority maintenance activities, and a list of items to consider should you wish to sell your home.
Maintain your home if you plan to sell it
Steve Thomas, secure estate specialist for Lew Geffen Sotheby’s International Realty in Constantiaberg, says that ignoring home maintenance issues may prove to be costly in the long run.
“This is especially true if you plan to sell your home soon. If it needs a lot of work, it’s likely to remain on the market for longer than similar homes that need less work,” says Thomas.
He explains that although there are DIY enthusiasts who are eager to find big renovation projects, buyers generally prefer homes that are immediately habitable. Or at least only need touch-ups and minor repairs.
“The longer your home remains on the market, the more potential buyers will begin to wonder what’s wrong with it, and the lower your eventual selling price will be,” says Thomas.
He adds that buyers will also try to push for a lower price, citing the work that needs to be done as a reason.
What if you’re not planning to sell your home soon?
Even if you don’t intend to sell your home in the near future, Thomas says, it’s extremely important to keep it in tip-top shape. If you let your home maintenance slide, you may be shocked at the cost of repairs.
“Repairing damaged carpets, ceilings, and paintwork after an (unmaintained) geyser has burst is much more expensive than you realise. Similarly, replacing an entire gutter system will cost considerably more than servicing or repairing a faulty strip of gutter,” says Thomas.
“Certain issues can be postponed, such as replacing a chipped tile or fixing a wonky bath tap. However, other maintenance problems should not be ignored. Such as foundation damage, broken gutters, damaged roof tiles, cracks in the plasterwork, water leaks, and mould,” he explains.
How to maintain your property
Andrea Tucker, director at MortgageMe, says that you should start with maintenance that will have the most impact on your property value, while requiring the least investment in time and money.
She suggests going through the following list and assessing which points would add the most value to your home in the long run.
- If the property’s infrastructure is old and outdated, make sure the plumbing and electronics are modernised and updated. This is a very valuable exercise. Get hold of a contractor to confirm which aspects of your home don’t comply with modern building code requirements.
- You should replace rusty windows or loose doors. If they are old or substandard, and they let cold air or moisture in, it’s worth addressing sooner rather than later. However, this can be expensive to do, since you may require a builder to remove the old fixtures. Any maintenance that keeps warmth in your house during winter is valuable.
- Get leaks sorted out as soon as possible. This may involve expensive roof maintenance, so make sure you find a good contractor and always get a second opinion. If these leaks are impacting your water bill, you should get a plumber in as well.
- If you’re dealing with any kind of dampness, do not wait another minute. Get this sorted out immediately. If you don’t, it could lead to long-term damage.
- Make sure that you continually maintain your electric fence and alarm system. If these rely on batteries, test them regularly.
- Never let termites, cockroaches, or ants settle into your house. This may be solved by using products from the hardware store, or calling in an exterminator.
- You can try to reduce your electricity bill by getting a geyser blanket, timer for your geyser, or LED globes in lights, which last longer and use less electricity.
- Make sure that your gate and garage motors are working optimally. Consider replacing the batteries in both of these in case of load shedding.
- Overgrown trees, or trees riddled with borer beetles, need to be trimmed or removed altogether. You won’t stress about wind or storms once you’ve done this.
Tucker believes that seasonal maintenance makes the most sense. This includes, among other things, clearing gutters at the end of autumn, fixing leaky taps, and routinely clearing drains of hair.
“Anything that makes your house safer, warmer, or more eco-friendly will be a valuable addition,” she says.
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