Many of us think “It Won’t Happen to me” or “I cannot afford it right now,” ignoring regular maintenance may seem like a way to put off spending money. If left unchecked or repaired, the small items can turn into a big, costly deal.
A homeowner can simplify their lives and save on the cost of repairs by focusing instead on preventative maintenance. This maintenance includes monitoring, inspections, tests, adjustments, part replacements, and cleaning specifically to head off problems before they occur.
Why Take a Proactive Approach to Home Maintenance?
Save Your Money In The Long Run
According to the one percent rule, you should set aside at least 1% of your home’s value every year for home maintenance. For a 600,000 house, this works out to $6,000 per year or $500 per month. The national statistic on the cash value of home maintenance states that, for every $1 spent on upkeep, you can avoid up to $100 of repairs.
Preserve the Value of Your Home
“If a house is in worn condition and shows a lack of preventative maintenance, the property could easily lose 10% of its appraised value,” says Mack Strickland, a professional appraiser and real estate agent in Chester, Va. “That could translate into a $15,000 or $20,000 adjustment.”
Dr. John P. Harding, Professor of Finance & Real Estate at UConn’s School of Business notes the ongoing maintenance cost usually offsets the 1% gain in valuation. “Simply put,” “maintenance costs money, so it’s probably best to say that the net effect of regular maintenance is to slow the rate of depreciation.”
How to Automate Your Home Maintenance Plan
Remove the overwhelming thoughts of where to begin. Follow the next few steps to feeling a sense of relief and accomplishment. In the long run, you will also save money, and you protect your investment.
1. Automate your home maintenance budget and management
You can use several digital home maintenance apps by doing some research online that best suits your maintenance plan and budget. After much research, we recommend HomeZada. This digital home management program is user friendly and recommended by homeowner's insurance companies such as Chubb. They also give a discounted subscription rate off HomeZada. Check with your insurance company to see what they might offer.
HomeZada offers a free "Essential" version, or you can purchase the "Premium" version. You can use HomeZada to set up a customized framework that entails a detailed maintenance plan. Using this automated system, you will receive automatic reminders to be sent to your email when tasks are due. You can track warranty information and upload photos and documents that include estimates, invoices, and receipts.
2. Conduct a general home inspection
Before automating your preventative home maintenance schedule, we suggest conducting a general home inspection, which you can do yourself. You will likely find repairs that require attention that you can add to the preventative home maintenance schedule. It is good practice to do this once a year and add additional maintenance or wish list items to the plan.
3. Enter your preventative maintenance task on a recurring schedule
Here are some suggestions for a preventative maintenance plan that you can adjust/add to your home. Read the manufacturer recommendations to care for your appliances and add them to your schedule.
Pool & Spa Maintenance
Window and skylight cleaning weekly/bi-weekly if you live by the ocean. If not, schedule when you feel window cleaning is necessary
Fertilize Citrus Trees
Solar Panel Cleaning
Dishwasher – Prolong the life of your dishwasher by cleaning the filter and spray arm. Then use a dishwasher washer cleaning pod to take away hidden grease and grime
Change Air filters in the HVAC system. May need to be done more often depending on pets etc.
Clean exterior door handles and mailboxes with manufacturer suggested products
With a damp cloth, wipe down exterior electronic security/intercom keys and lubricate
Lubricate garage door hinges, springs, and bearings using a non-silicone lubricant
Light check throughout your home for lights that need replacing
Clean patio furniture
Clean faucet aerators and showerheads – If you have a water softening system, you could move this to once-a-year.
Submerged shower heads in vinegar for 2-3 hours
Use a toothbrush in soapy water or vinegar and clean faucet aerators
Clean security cameras
Sliding door tracks – vacuum the dirt from the tracks, then apply a "Fast Orange Hand Cleaner" on a moist cotton cloth to clean and seal the tracks. Do not use sponges or scouring pads
Switchplates – clean and sanitize
Water Softening System – Add water softening pellets if needed
Twice a Year
Adjust irrigation timers in spring and fall
Doors, Cabinets, Hardware - Tighten/lubricate handles, racks, hinges, towel racks, toilet paper holders, etc.
If you have pets, clean exhaust fans in bathrooms and laundry room twice a year otherwise, you could move this to annually.
Exterior fences and doors, tighten and lubricate
Fertilize trees, shrubs, and grass
Clean Garbage Disposal – using half a bottle of vinegar and half a box of baking soda down the drain
Clean gutters and downspouts in the spring and fall
HVAC Maintenance - AC in the spring, and heating in the fall
Thermostat battery check/replacement
Clean and organize pantry & utensil drawers
Refrigerator - Replace odor filter/water filter/air purification cartridge and clean condensing coils. Read manufacturer recommendations.
Shades that need charging
Descale steam oven (depending on how often you use it)
Seal wood furniture - If you live by the ocean, you may want to do this twice a year
4. Find service professionals
Angie's List, Yelp, Home Advisor, and Nextdoor are just a few places you can check out to find contractors. Whoever you decide to work with, we recommend going to California.gov contractors state license board website to check if the contractor is licensed and insured.
5. Set up subscription deliveries
To make life easier, use services that will allow you to replenish maintenance supplies such as Amazon automatically. If you cannot do that for some of your supplies, we suggest adding a link where you can purchase the supplies, such as filters in HomeZada, under the task. This way, when the tasks come due, you know where to buy the items.
Home maintenance is one of those things that is easy to forget about or put off because we get so busy with our lives or feel overwhelmed by the thought of where to begin.
Give Custom Home Maintenance (CHM) a Call
If setting up a digital home maintenance framework seems daunting, Custom Home Maintenance can make it a lot easier for you. We conduct the general inspection, upload all the data into HomeZada with contacts to manage and track maintenance. At that point, you can handle the plan yourself or you can work with CHM and our home manager will handle everything from start to finish. Give us a call to find out more information at 310-237-3869 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Instead of caulking around your home, tightening loose screws, or climbing on the roof, why not spend your time doing something fun with family and friends?