Why Investing in Home Maintenance Is Worth It

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When it comes to home ownership, one of the things that many people often dread are the new responsibilities that they have (sometimes unknowingly) signed up for. Owning a home or real estate comes with a lot of responsibility and requires an investment of money and time to sustain over the long term. Without regular maintenance, homes will eventually start to fall apart leading to costly home repairs and a reduced value.

There are several reasons why performing maintenance is important. Performing regular maintenance on your home or property is a vital part of maintaining your investment and ensuring that it becomes an asset to you rather than a liability. Repairs or replacement of many common household items will eventually be required, however, with a little planning and foresight, doing regular maintenance will go a long way to saving you money and reducing your level of stress.

Maintenance Helps Your Home Last Longer

One of the primary reasons to do maintenance on your home is to make it last longer. Well-maintained homes are able to stand the test of time and will need major repairs or upgrades less frequently. It's unfortunate that in today's world many things are not designed to last for a long period of time. Modern homes may only last for 20 to 40 years before major repairs are needed. Furthermore, it's been said that a typical home might require up to 50% replacement (in dollars) after only 30 years of ownership. Incremental investments in maintenance each year can help extend the life of a home and its components well beyond this. Ultimately, major repairs will still be needed someday; however, the benefits of doing maintenance will greatly outweigh its cost.

Maintenance Reduces Repair Costs

Another important reason to do maintenance on your home is to reduce the likelihood that a major repair or break down will occur. It's been said that for every $1 invested in a home on maintenance that you'll likely save around $100 in future repairs

It's not uncommon for repair bills for major issues to run into the thousands of dollars. In particular, if you have to hire professionals to do the work, the costs can be significant. Some important things that need maintenance are appliances, plumbing fixtures, air conditioners, and things like gutters and smoke detectors. Other items that require regular maintenance also include HVAC systems, windows, doors, and roofs just to name a few.

When it comes to your roof, it's easier and less costly to maintain it then it is to repair or replace one. Make it a point to check your roof annually for leaky spots or broken tiles. An annual inspection with some minor maintenance may only cost $100 to $200 a year; however; this will delay the need to eventually replace the roof. In addition, fixing a minor leak before it becomes a major problem could end up saving you thousands of dollars.

The same philosophy holds true for your home's plumbing and fixtures. Small leaks can occur almost anywhere at any time. Without detection and repair, a small leak can easily turn into a big, expensive headache. I once had a leaky toilet that cost me over $150 on my water bill. I learned really quickly that a $5 flapper and 10 minutes of my time could have saved me the shock of having to pay for that much water. If you have a water heater, especially one with a tank, it's very important to drain it on an annual basis. Sediment and mineral build-up can compromise the integrity of the unit causing it to fail prematurely.

The table below shows a list of typical items in a home that require maintenance and how much it costs to maintain and replace.

How long common household components last and what it may cost to replace them.

ItemLifespanMajor Repair or Replacement Cost

Air Conditioner

10 to 15 Years

$4,000 to $15,000

Asphalt Driveways

10 to 15 Years

$3,000 to $10,000


5 to 10 Years

$2,500 to $10,000

Counter Tops

10 to 20 Years

$500 to $5,000


5 to 15 Years

$250 to $1,500


5 to 15 Years

$250 to $2,500

Electrical Wiring

50+ Years

$500 to $20,000

Exterior Doors

20 to 40 Years

$500 to $5,000

Exterior Paint

5 to 10 Years

$1,000 to $5,000


10 to 15 Years

$200 to $1,000


15 to 20 Years

$4,000 to $15,000

Garage Door Openers

10 to 20 Years

$250 to $2,500

Garbage Disposal

5 to 10 Years

$150 to $750


5 to 10 Years

$150 to $750


20 to 30 Years

$500 to $20,000


10 to 20 Years

$350 to $10,000


20 to 50 Years

$20,000 to $40,000


10 to 20 Years

$250 to $1,500

Stucco Siding

50+ Years

$500 to $20,000

Termite Proofing

12 Years

$200 to $5,000

Tile Floor

10 to 30 Years

$5,000 to $20,000

Vinyl Siding

20 to 50 Years

$15,000 to $25,000

Washing Machine

5 to 15 Years

$250 to $2,500

Water Heater

10 to 15 Years

$500 to $4,000

Water Heater (Tankless)

20+ Years

$500 to $4,000


5 to 15 Years

$10,000 to $20,000

Wood Floors

5 to 50 Years

$5,000 to $20,000

Performing Maintenance Improves Resale Value

For most people, a home is the largest investment that they will ever make. With proper maintenance, their investment can be protected. Over the long term and even in an economic downturn, a well-maintained property will hold a higher value than those homes in the neighborhood that have not been maintained. Furthermore, most prospective home buyers are often looking for a home that they can settle into quickly rather than one that is on the verge of requiring major repairs.

Keeping your home well-maintained and up-to-date is going to significantly affect its resale value. Keeping your home's curb appeal as attractive as possible will do wonders for the price buyers are willing to pay to purchase it.

While most maintenance items affect the functionality of your home, you can't overlook the aesthetic aspects as well. For example, a fresh coat of paint on a house can add a lot of value to a structure and increase its desirability. Other maintenance items that could add value to your house includes updating doors and windows as well as the garage door. In many modern homes, one of the first things prospective buyers see is the garage door.

Another thing to think about is how the yard and landscaping is being utilized. Yard work is a common maintenance item for homeowners. It's certainly much easier to frequently maintain a yard then it is to wait and do a major overhaul. The good news is that yard work is often easy to do and typically requires a small budget in combination with sweat and tears to accomplish.

Performing Maintenance Results in Peace of Mind

The final reason that performing annual maintenance on your home is that it will bring you peace of mind. When you have the knowledge that things have been maintained and that they are working well, you will have a lot less anxiety about the possibility of having to deal with a major repair. With proper maintenance, it is also likely that you will be more prepared for a time when something eventually does break and require a repair. Having the peace of mind offered by keeping a home maintained will do many great things for both your health and your wallet.

References and Resources

Geffner, Marcie. Bankrate. "What's the life span of a house?" January 22, 2010.

Consumer Reports. "By the Numbers: How long will your appliances last?" March 21, 2009

Questions & Answers

Question: What would you advise one to do when they want to overhaul an old house for resale?

Answer: Find a really good home inspector and a contractor to partner with. I would first recommend having a home inspector inspect the house for serious issues. The inspector should provide a list of any issues. Then find a good contractor who can help you address these problems. They can give you an accurate estimate of repair costs and help you focus on the repairs or remodeling that are really the most important. It may also be a good idea to get to know your local jurisdiction's permitting office. If you plan on doing many repairs or remodels, getting to know the permitting office's requirements, timeframes, and process will help you immensely.

© 2018 Christopher Wanamaker

Jeff Zod from Nairobi on August 27, 2018:

@Cwanamaker this is a very useful and enlightening article for homeowners and potential home owners.The advice is solid.many people think that maintenance of a house/home is just about applying a fresh coat of paint.

Watch the video: Why you SHOULDNT buy a home


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