We have all seen the commercial where the mechanic says “You can pay me now or pay me later”.
We all know the importance of preventative maintenance; maintenance that is regularly performed to lessen the likelihood of something failing or deteriorating. The goal of a successful real estate preventative maintenance program is to establish consistent practices designed to improve the appearance and performance of your property.
Over the years we have seen the benefits received by home owners who keep their property well maintained. Also, all too often, we see the disappointment and frustration that deferred maintenance can cause.
There are generally two reasons why property owners do not keep their real estate in as good a condition as they should. First, the cost of maintaining a property is an easily avoided, or deferred, expense. Each month when we are budgeting for our expenses, the money runs out before our obligations have been met. Secondly, property owners often look at repairs and maintenance as a challenge or dreaded task. Home repairs, therefore, place low on the priorities of your things to do.
Stop and think for a moment about where the bulk of your net worth is held. If you are like most of us, our real estate equity is our largest asset. Remember that not all real estate improvements have to be expensive. There are many things that just require rolling up your sleeves and putting a little sweat effort into it.
Often people wait until they decide to sell before addressing nagging repairs. Why wait until then? Why not have an ongoing maintenance program and be able to enjoy your property as much as you can right now?
When preparing to sell their home people often made repairs to improve the curb appeal. It is very common for them to say “This looks so beautiful! I wish I had done this year’s ago. My home looks the best it has ever looked and now I’m selling it!”
Most people work very hard to earn the money that pays to support their home. A home owner, or investor, can take modest steps to improve the interior or exterior of their property and realize a significant return on small investments of time and money.
If you need help motivating yourself to take on some routine chores around your house, consider this: where else can you get a 50% or more return on a small investment and from sweat equity? Big returns are available on simple, inexpensive touches such as interior and exterior painting, light fixtures, updated cabinet pulls, shutters, new carpeting, cleaning, and removing clutter.
Perhaps it is time to re-evaluate and prioritize the attention you give to your real estate.
This article was published in the San Francisco Examiner.
Articles are written by Eric Ruxton and Larry Aikins, owners of Terrace Realty, Inc. and Terrace Associates, Inc. in Redwood City. Terrace has been in business more than 55 years and in addition to being an independent Brokerage Company, also owns and operates rental properties.