Why regular maintenance is better than a once-off big job
Gerhard Kotzé, MD of the RealNet estate agency group, says there are basic maintenance checks that every homeowner should do at least annually. This will ensure that your home is always sale ready.
Not only is this a great way to maintain the value of your home, it is also the best way to ensure that you don’t lose out should you need to sell in a hurry – a house that has not been maintained, no matter its location or features, will fetch less in the market.
“Homeowners who make a monthly or annual investment in maintenance and upkeep will save money in the long run, even if they have no need or plan to sell,” adds Kotzé. “Repairing the damage done to paintwork, ceilings and carpets after a geyser burst, for example, is likely to cost much more than the timely replacement of an ageing geyser, before it bursts.”
The four must-haves in your maintenance schedule
- Painting – Painting the exterior of the house one year, the interior the next, the garage and outbuildings and the surrounding wall in following years will avoid the major cost of a big paint job all at once. Carried out in stages, it can probably also be paid for from current income rather than savings.
- Plumbing – You should scan all visible water pipes for cracks, leaks or severe rusting and repair dripping taps and leaking cisterns. A dose of drain cleaner will usually clear sluggish drains and a visual inspection of the geyser will ensure it is intact and undamaged.
- Electrical – Check the distribution box and fuses for any signs of scorching and check all visible cabling for worn insulation and signs of shorting or exposed wires. Also go over all wall plugs and switches, and remove all temporary installations with trailing wires and extension cords that could become a fire hazard. Don’t overload plugs and tidy up tangled connections behind TVs, music centres and computers.
- Exterior – Clearing the gutters should be a regular task. Overflows can damage paint, plaster and brickwork and a blockage can cause the gutter system to collapse. You should also check for wind and storm damage to the roof, loose tiles, gaps in the flashing and damage around chimneys. Keep tree branches and shrubbery clear of telephone and electricity cables, window putty should be checked for damage and window frames and doors should be regularly sanded and painted or varnished.
Expert tip: If you keep to your schedule you will usually find that any repairs needed are small tasks that you can handle yourself, saving you even more. However, if you do need to hire a contractor get competitive quotes and check references from previous customers before you hire a contractor you’ve never worked with.