For the majority of us, our home is our most valuable investment. It’s also probably the most costly. One of the great things about owning a home is that it provides shelter and enjoyment while we’re living in it and the promise of future value if we ever decide to sell or rent it. However—as every homeowner knows—the long-term value of this investment depends a lot on how well it is kept up over the years you own it. This is why we want to continue to encourage you to take steps that maintain your home’s value so you can experience peace of mind no matter what your future plans are.
Maintaining your home is important, whether you’re thinking about selling it in the future or planning to stay there for the rest of your life. The work you put into your home now will make a big difference in its value, safety and comfort in five years, 10 years, 20 years and beyond. Aside from taking care of your investment, life happens. It’s always a good idea to prepare for the unexpected in case something occurs that causes you to consider moving. Knowing all of the steps to maintain your home’s value gives you leverage throughout home ownership.
Deferred maintenance can wreak havoc over time and end up costing you a lot more than if you take care of things on a regular schedule. As a rule of thumb, you should paint the exterior of your home every five to 10 years. A new roof should last about 30 years—but this can vary according to the type of roof you have and the quality of workmanship. It’s a good idea, incidentally, to look at your roof—or have a professional inspect it—every two years. When it comes to kitchens and bathrooms, your eyes will likely tell you when your appliances, cabinets, hardware, floors, walls and finishes are out of date. If you wait too long, you risk experiencing a disaster that damages other elements of your home’s interior.
If you’re a typical homeowner, there are certainly some routine maintenance projects you can most likely undertake on your own. For example, maintaining your landscaping, painting the interior rooms of your home, and replacing flooring is within the skillset of many people.
There are even easier tasks that boost the value and enjoyment of your home. Replace your door and cabinet hardware every few years to give your home an updated look. To keep the bugs and the dust out, replace your weather-stripping whenever it becomes hard or cracked.
However, there are some home improvement projects that may seem tempting to do yourself but can end up in a big mess unless you possess skills and experience in the particular work involved. These tasks include tile installation, plumbing and electrical upgrades, drywall finishing, and installation of wood trim.
In a perfect world, projects like these would be a snap. However, the reality is that the best-constructed homes may be hiding imperfections that can create a real headache for even the most hardy DIY enthusiast. For example, if the concrete slab under your flooring isn’t perfectly square, you can quickly run into a problem when laying tile or other flooring. The same is true of walls if you’re trying to install trim or even do something as seemingly straightforward as hanging a door.
If you have any concerns at all that the “simple” home maintenance task you’re considering may not be quite so easy, you may want to save yourself time and frustration and get some professional construction assistance from a reputable company like Rictor Contracting right from the beginning.
There are other types of home maintenance projects you should never consider doing yourself for safety reasons. You should, for instance, always—without exception—leave electrical and gas work to the professionals. The smallest error can result in a fire, explosion, or deadly gas leak. It’s not worth the risk. So, take the necessary steps to maintain your home’s value.
So, what should you do if you’re one of those people who have put off routine maintenance and renovations on your home? First of all, don’t despair; it may take more concentrated work to bring your home up to date—and you may run into some unpleasant results of not doing the work earlier—but it is better than not ever taking on these tasks at all.
Start by getting on your roof—or hiring a professional to do so if you don’t feel comfortable making the assessment on your own. Look at the seals around your vents for plumbing, gas, air-conditioning and so forth. Tar sealant takes a beating in the Arizona sun and heat, so you’ll want to repair any gaps you see. Fortunately, this is a fairly easy and inexpensive process.
Next, inspect your exterior walls, paying particular attention to areas where the paint has weathered off. Take a close look at the tops of any exposed beams, where paint tends to degrade faster than on other surfaces and where water can sit and, eventually, rot the wood. Don’t forget to also look at brick and any other exterior finishes.
Inside your home, flooring is an obvious place to start. If your hard-surface floors are worn, there are some DIY options you can pursue to remedy the situation. Laminate flooring, such as Pergo, is relatively easy to install. Watch how-to videos online or attend a class at your local home improvement store, then decide for yourself whether this is a job you want to take on yourself or if you’d be better off hiring a professional contractor. Hiring a qualified contractor is one of the key steps to maintain your home’s value.
If your bathroom floor is wood, you might want to consider tiling it, which lasts longer and is easier to clean in such a water-prone environment. A word on tile choice: If you have children, it’s best to pass on travertine tiles. While they are beautiful and add a luxury touch to your home, they are vulnerable to soap stains and are much more “fussy” in general than other options. Incidentally, Rictor Contracting makes caring for tile easier than ever before with a technique that minimizes grout joints.
While you’re in the bathroom, take a look at your tub. If it’s time for a replacement, you might want to consider a cast iron tub this time, which is easier to keep clean than fiberglass.
Obviously, there are many other aspects of home improvement we could talk about, but the topics we’ve brought up here should get you started. Just like a lot of things in life, the more you put into maintaining the value of your home today, the better the return in the long run.