The How and Why of Maintaining a Home

I inherited a property somewhat recently. I know that makes me incredibly lucky and privileged, but I have to say that it feels like a bit of a pain right now. My parents are helping me out with things, and they keep calling with suggestions. For instance, they think I should fix certain things, improve others, get some other thing checked, and so on. However, I have no short-term plans for this property. I’m just holding onto it as an investment. Do I really need to be the star of my own HGTV show right now? Can’t I just do some minimal maintenance, come back to check on the house in a few years, and renovate it then?

Yes, there are some types of renovations and improvements you can postpone. However, keeping maintenance “minimal” is not a good idea, and procrastinating on repairs, even ones that don’t seem all that pressing at the moment, is a bad move.

You say you want to hold onto your property as an investment. That’s a great idea! Real estate can be extremely valuable. With a healthy real estate market and a little bit of luck, you could see your property increase in value.

How you choose to use that value is up to you. You could, of course, sell your property at some point. You could also use the property as collateral for a loan; for example, loans with private money lenders. Or, you could turn it into an income property by renting to tenants.

However, here’s the thing: no matter how you plan to get value out of your property, the value will depend on how much the property is worth. The property’s worth depends, to a large extent, on how well it’s maintained. You can’t change the location of your property, and extensive renovations or additions are tough. However, basic maintenance and repairs are almost as simple as they are essential. They’re your best tool for preserving the value of your property.

You probably understand this to some extent, because you noted that you’d renovate and repair the property when the time comes to get value out of it. However, your plan to defer these tasks is not cost-effective.

Problems with properties don’t just linger for years: they actively get worse. Take foundation issues, for instance. The experts on foundation repair at Acculevel tell us that it’s a tough job to begin with. Let things worsen, and you’ll need to take extreme steps, such as replacing the foundation. If you wait long enough, you may be forced to tear down the home! Needless to say, that would be a serious hit to your investment.

So, as annoying as it may be, you need to develop a schedule of regular maintenance, and follow it. You need to make small repairs right away, not postpone them. It’s true that you can put off improvement tasks. Replacing the countertops, for instance, might not be necessary if you don’t plan to touch the property for another few years. A different sort of countertop might be in style by then, anyway. However, keep in mind that some things that look like improvement, such as repainting walls, also serve maintenance purposes. A property that looks clean and well-maintained often is, which can help head off problems that are more than superficial.

When in doubt, get the work done. If you want your property to serve as an investment, then you need to invest in it yourself.

“Another flaw in the human character is that everybody wants to build, and nobody wants to do maintenance.” – Kurt Vonnegut

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