We’re big believers in the investment opportunities of homeownership, but there’s a catch: If you don’t take proper care of your home, it may not reach its full potential when it comes time to sell. Wondering how much you should budget for home maintenance? Brad Ruckart puts it simply: “Take care of your house and it will take care of you.”
Ruckart recommends investing 1-2% annually in the maintenance of your home in order to help it maintain its full value. “The truth is, most people don’t do this,” Ruckart says. “When I show up to a listing appointment, I have to break the news, ‘You’ve avoided 20 years of a consistent 1-2% in maintenance annually, and we have to make up for some of that when we prepare your home for the market.”
Although 1% can sound like a fairly minimal investment, it’s one that should be seriously considered when buyers are determining the affordability of a home. For instance, 1% of a $300,000 home is $3000 a year. Buyers who are on the edge of affordability may struggle to budget even that. However, those who commit to that annual investment are sure to reap the rewards down the road.
Making a home maintenance checklist
Before we discuss some typical home maintenance tasks, let’s touch on the difference between home maintenance and major home repairs. When we talk about home maintenance, we are not talking about replacing your roof when a tree falls on it, renovating your bathroom, or repairing a sagging foundation. These are major home repairs that, ideally, should be allotted their own savings account.
Home maintenance refers to the more everyday, manageable tasks that contribute to the well-being of your home. It’s a good idea to create a seasonal checklist of tasks to complete throughout the year to keep your home in tip-top shape. (HSH has a thorough home repair checklist that we recommend.) Here are just a few common home maintenance tasks:
- Cleaning out your gutters and vents
- Replacing filters on your HVAC units
- Powerwashing your deck, patio, and/or siding
- Mowing your lawn and landscaping
- Having appliances serviced
- Swapping out broken fixtures
Planning for home maintenance costs
When buying a home, it’s important to look beyond the costs of the mortgage, insurance, and property taxes when determining what you can afford. Without a doubt, home maintenance and repair costs will add to your expenses over time, and you don’t want to be taken by surprise. While Ruckart’s 1-2% estimate is a good rule of thumb for basic maintenance, a number of factors may shift that number one direction of the other:
- The age of your home. A well-built brand-new home should require significantly less routine maintenance than, say, a historic rowhouse in Church Hill.
- The size of your home. The bigger your home, the greater its home maintenance needs.
- The location of your home. Extreme climates tend to put more wear and tear on your home. Luckily for local homeowners, the Richmond region enjoys a fairly temperate climate.
Setting aside a budget for home maintenance costs is a crucial investment with both immediate and far-reaching results. Not only will it ensure that you have enough money to keep your home in safe working order, it can also help you avoid costly repairs down the road. And most significantly? It’ll help your home achieve a healthy annual appreciation that will result in more money for you if you ever decide to sell.
Are you uncertain where to start when it comes to creating a home maintenance budget? Reach out to one of Ruckart Real Estate’s agents today, and we can help you ensure that you’re making the most of your investment.