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Home Maintenance Matters

Home Maintenance Matters; Here’s Why

By John Voket

Outright damage to your house is just one of the consequences of neglected maintenance. But take it from me, without regular upkeep, overall property values are affected, too! 

According to Mack Strickland, a professional appraiser and real estate agent in Chester, VA, if a house is in worn condition and shows a lack of preventative maintenance, the property could easily lose 10% of its appraised value—that could translate into a $15,000 or $20,000 adjustment. 

In addition, a house with chipped, fading paint, sagging gutters, and worn carpeting faces an uphill battle when it comes time to sell. Not only is it at a disadvantage in comparison with other similar homes that might be for sale in the neighborhood, Strickland says a shaggy appearance is bound to turn off prospective buyers and depress the selling price. 

A study by researchers at the University of Connecticut and Syracuse University suggests that maintenance actually increases the value of a house by about 1% each year. That means getting off the couch and heading outside with a caulking gun is more than a chore—it’s actually making you money. 

Heading into fall and winter, the folks at First Weber of Wisconsin ( suggest these fall maintenance ideas to perk up your property in a jiffy: 

1. Chimney cleaning - Before you have a fire in the fireplace, it is a good idea to have your chimney looked at each year. 
2. Check windows and doors - Re-caulk as needed and add new weatherstripping around doors if needed to keep the cold air out. 
3. Lawn and landscape - Fall is a great time to seed grass because the temperatures are moderate. Now is also a good time to trim bushes so that they will look great in spring. 
4. Keep your gutters clean - In Wisconsin, and in many regions of the country, you never know when the first snowfall will come. Make sure you clean your gutters regularly so that rain and melting snow can drain.
5. Prune - Take a walk around your house and look for any branches that may be growing a bit too close to the house. Consider pruning these branches before mother nature has the opportunity to do it for you. 
6. Patios and decks - Re-stain or power wash. Also, begin storing outdoor living items like patio table umbrellas, seat cushions and flower pots. 
7. Change your furnace filter - to boost efficiency. 
8. Smoke Alarms - Check these throughout your house to make sure the batteries still work. 
9. Store the mower and test the snow blower to make sure it works before you really need it. 

Reprinted with permission from RISMedia. ©2014. All rights reserved.