Benjamin Franklin famously said, “You may delay, but time will not.” Many a homeowner, who has put off home maintenance, knows this well.
“The biggest mistake is deferring home maintenance and kicking the can down the road — whether it’s a small issue or a larger one, most of the time, it’s only going to get worse over time,” said realtor and contractor Zach Tyson, who owns Tyson construction with his parents Patricia and Larry Tyson.
Tyson says staying on top of maintenance is essential and offers advice on how to manage the demands of maintenance, so you’re not overwhelmed. He suggests making separate lists for exterior and interior items – based on the unique materials involved, such as brick vs. wood — and doing a yearly walk-thru to assess each item. Exterior concerns include roof, gutters, windows and doors, and pest control. In New Orleans, where climate, termites, hurricanes and rainstorms take a toll, he advises a roof inspection every three to five years, regular gutter cleaning, making sure windows and doors are sealed and caulked against the elements, and having a termite contract. An interior checklist should cover a service agreement with an air condition company that includes an annual or semi-annual inspection, keeping electrical, plumbing and water heater systems in good shape, making sure windows and doors are sealed for energy efficiency, and checking inside cabinets and around bathrooms, kitchens and laundry rooms for leaks. Taking care of these things will keep a house comfortable and protect its value.
“The biggest enemy of any house is moisture or water outside or inside,” he said.
Maintaining the exterior cladding (whatever that may be), landscaping and hardscaping will go a long way toward adding to its curb appeal, which in turn adds to its value. Gentle pressure washing can prolong the life of a good paint job, while tending to railings, porch flooring, shutters, driveways, walkways, lawns, trees and flower beds will keep both eyesores and intruders like termites at bay.
Tyson points out that DIY projects can help save money, as can materials designed to resist rot and termites – like Hardie Board and PVC, and low-maintenance materials like artificial turf instead of grass. But he recommends hiring professionals for gutters, roofing, air conditioning, electrical and plumbing before problems get out of hand. He also suggests an annual maintenance budget to help cover out of pocket costs.
“For most people, a home is the single largest investment they will have in their lifetime,” said Tyson. “These things will protect their investment.”
- Know your house and its materials, so you can formulate interior and exterior to-do checklists.
- Do an annual walkthrough to assess needs and address them in a timely manner.
- Don’t forget exterior details like shutters and railings that add to your home’s curb appeal and value.
ABOUT THE DESIGNER
Zach Tyson is a realtor and contractor, specializing in residential properties. His family’s business, Tyson Construction, builds custom homes and remodels existing properties in the Greater New Orleans Metro area. Tyson-construction.com