Tool Kit

The Maintenance and Repair Strategy

Every homeowner needs to consider a maintenance and repair strategy, preferably before purchasing.  Rookie homeowners are usually quite surprised to learn there are over 260 individual inspection and service tasks that need to be addressed every year.

When admiring a spacious new home with impressive, ultra-high ceilings it is easy to overlook the fact that very soon someone is going to have to clean the windows, change burned bulbs, and remove the dust and spider webs from the beams way up there.

Image of a beautiful two story home with uncontrolled ivy.
Uncontrolled Ivy indicates a poor maintenance and repair strategy

It is also very easy to mistakenly think that a new home does not NEED any regular service . I hear this all the time: “Hi, I’m Mrs. Smith! Mr. Smith and I are new homeowners and some friends have told us marvelous things about your service! Could you please come out and take a look at our home? It’s brand new so it really doesn’t need much!”

Wait! You’ve just acquired an enormous asset with 10,000 individual parts that sits exposed to destructive elements day and night, plus your comfort, safety, retirement investment and general well-being depend on it, but it doesn’t need much?

If you know someone that is about to enter the world of homeownership, definitely have them take a look at this site and especially to this page. The information here should help them a lot.

Going into homeownership properly and fully prepared requires a maintenance and repair strategy. But before that you need to discover what philosophy or world view you are prone to because it may save you some time.

Image of home with high ceilings, indoor pool and difficult service needs
Diifficult service needs require a maintenance and repair strategy

You may be saying to yourself, sheesh, I’m just buying a house, why do I need to get philosophical? Here’s why. Your world view is going to dictate what kind of homeowner you will be.

There are two ways to approach the care of your home, the reactive method or the proactive method. The reactive method is easy and requires no plan. Just wait till things break before fixing them.  

The other approach is to be proactive about the care of the home. This is the approach that is promoted in this Home Preservation Manual. It requires a maintenance and repair strategy that combines both proactive service and proactive repairs and replacements.

Understanding proactive replacements. Most materials, appliances and equipment have known useful lives that can be projected. That way replacements can be planned and budgeted for. For instance if your new roof has a 30 year projected life and costs $15,000 to replace, start putting away $500 a year now and plan to start preparing for a replacement in about 29 years. Replace the roof before it actually fails. You can do this with just about everything which can get a bit tedious. Instead, I recommend that you just do it for items that are mission critical or where failure of the item may cause safety issues or other collateral damage. Examples: hot water heaters, smoke detectors, roofing, gutters and downspouts, garage door counter balances, dishwashers, washing machine fill hoses, exterior paint etc.

image of a gorgeous multilevel outdoor pool with trees and view needing a maintenance and repair strategy
Beautiful pool but challenging to maintain

Some people might think it is wasteful to replace working items before they completely break or fail. I think it is smart. Plan ahead, treat yourself to a new appliance before the old one fails and donate the still-working unit to charity. Besides, pre-empting a pending disaster, you may even be able to deduct the donation on your taxes. Check with your tax advisor first.

Proactive Service Strategy

The proactive service strategy takes a bit more work up front but pays huge dividends like lower overall costs and a much more comfortable and enjoyable home over the long run. The proactive strategy outlined in Home Preservation Manual works like this:

  • Inspect your home and create a to-do and repair list
  • Plan and schedule any needed repairs to reduce the above list to ZERO
  • Perform recommended quarterly maintenance and inspection tasks
  • Calendar and perform scheduled proactive replacements*

The benefits from all this proactivity? Longer life of the home, lower operating costs and a much more beautiful and enjoyable home to live in

*The old adage, “If it aint broke, don’t fix it”, should actually be modified slightly with “unless it is about to break.” 


Image of dry grass growing out of a hard to reach rain gutter
Hard to reach gutters needing service