Many homeowners realize that routine maintenance and emergency repairs may be needed when buying a home. However, due to a variety of circumstances, such as medical issues, divorce or financial challenges, some may find it hard to keep up. This can lead to mounting problems in a residence that can not only decrease the value of the home, but lead to health issues for occupants.
Even when there has been a lapse in general maintenance and repairs, it is possible to start making inroads and addressing outstanding issues. Explore why it is necessary to tackle deferred maintenance issues and get on a path to begin the remediation process.
Why Maintain Property?
Even though a homeowner has bought a home, they often have to pay off an outstanding balance on a home. It is the lender that truly owns a property until the homeowner has paid back the mortgage loan. A homeowner in good faith will attempt to maintain the property and make necessary repairs to ensure that the structure remains sound and any equity put into a home is not lost when it comes time to sell. Poorly maintained property can turn off potential buyers who then need to budget for repairs and upgrades. They may offer a lower offer price or ask for concessions when remaining interested in the home. Homeowners who sell their home “as-is” will generally not get the same price they would have if they had regularly made efforts to perform maintenance and address issues as they arose.
Issues can compound when maintenance has been deferred. A leaking roof can lead to mold issues and a pest infestation. Both of these concerns pose red flags for potential buyers. Not only that, but mold spores and pest dander and fecal matter can aggravate existing health issues in occupants, and make it more likely that growing children develop allergies. It can be hard and expensive to completely eradicate severe mold or a pest infestation from a residence. Homeowners may then need to seek the guidance of a professional mold or pest remediation service. Such issues may reoccur if underlying issues like leaking roofs and foundation cracks are not addressed as part of a specialist's proposed action plan.
This is not the only problem that may present itself. Conditions caused by leaking pipes or roof damage can allow the elements to get into the residence and impact the integrity of the structure. Important parts of the home may then need to be replaced entirely if they lead to a living situation that is not safe for occupants.
Steps to Start Remediation
A homeowner should be aware of what needs to be addressed. Acknowledging the issue and listing what projects have to be done can provide a homeowner with a starting point. The tasks may grow as some issues may not be immediately observable. This should not put off homeowners who want to start getting an understanding of the current condition of their home.
Decide how much to budget. This can be useful for determining which issues are must-haves and those that are cosmetic concerns that can be addressed later. Explore which tasks can be performed by the occupants, saving money when done properly.
Get an inspection to get a better idea of the condition of the home and any areas or repairs that may have not been done to code. Be practical in how far an existing budget may be stretched to accommodate multiple repairs. Find out about when permits are required, such as when dealing with electrical or plumbing problems. Note that electrical issues may occur in older homes or those that have experienced a pest infestation, as rodents often tend to chew electrical wiring, creating a potential fire hazard.
Making Repairs on a Home
All of this is presented to provide guidance for those who may need extra assistance. It is better to get permits for some repairs before starting out and making sure specific types of projects are done to code. The average homeowner can do many repairs themselves including:
- Fix leaking faucets;
- Regrouting tiles;
- Fixing plaster cracks; and
- Painting rooms in a home.
Minor repairs can include replacing a cracked hose on appliances to prevent flooding. Such maintenance projects do not require a special license and may need only a few basic tools.
Financial Help for Home Repairs
The government can help Homer homeowners pay for home repairs. Grants and programs are available at the federal and state level for families. A home equity loan or the Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP) may provide homeowners with additional financial assistance when addressing deferred maintenance.