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Home maintenance is one of life’s inevitabilities, and both experienced and first-time buyers can be caught off guard with an unexpected costly repair. This can be especially true in the first year after purchasing a home when savings have been utilized for a down payment, and existing budgets may have tightened with a higher mortgage payment. It’s a fact that every home is going to require maintenance, both ongoing and unexpected. Still, having a comprehensive view of the mechanical systems, foundation, plumbing, and appliances can allow homeowners to plan accordingly, save money in the long run, and increase their property’s value over time. While there are variables such as the age and condition of a home, common wisdom holds that homeowners should maintain 1% of their home’s value for annual maintenance. Simply put, if your home cost $300,000, you would want to have $3,000 available.
One of the best ways to be prepared for these expenses is to have a professional inspector perform an inch-by-inch inspection and provide a comprehensive written report detailing any potential deficiencies. While some systems can be checked by the homeowner themselves, the deficiencies that can cause the most expensive repairs like roofing, foundations, framing, electrical systems, and plumbing systems more often than not require a professional inspection. Additionally, breakdowns in electrical systems can create dangerous situations which are invisible to the naked eye and require thermal technology to identify and remediate.
Homeowners can take some relatively straightforward measures to keep their homes mechanical systems functioning optimally, like regularly replacing HVAC filters, keeping gutters clear of debris like leaves, twigs, and bird nests, and occasionally flipping the circuit breaker to prevent corrosion of frequent tripping. For more complex systems like pipes, water heaters, HVAC systems, and roofs, an annual inspection can frequently offset the inspection cost with the savings associated with identifying a small problem before it becomes a major repair.
It’s also important to know and document your appliances’ age and associated lifespan. Identifying your appliances’ age and lifespan can help you plan for and budget accordingly to choose between replacing the entire unit or getting an older unit repaired if possible. See the guide below for more information.
Appliance LifeSpan Guide
Being prepared for costly maintenance is the best way to avoid being hit with a huge bill for an issue that could have been repaired for a relatively low cost had it been identified before major malfunction. Of course, damage can occur due to natural forces like hurricanes, floods, or tornadoes. Still, for issues that arena your control, a professional inspection with a detailed report is the best way to understand and plan your annual maintenance budget and keep your investment sound while building equity for the future.