Deferred Maintenance is Not a good thing for your house. If you have a 2nd vacation house or your main living house in one location, deferring maintenance that is needed NOW (until later) is not wise.
“Defer”, in this context, means: putting off until later, what fixes should be done today.
This is almost always done to save money now. Unfortunately, what this ends up doing is COSTING MORE LATER, because the environment and other elements continue acting on the affected portion of the house, causing more pronounced damage. Especially in the case of wood, metal that can rust, plumbing, pavement, gravel, soil and other items that are degrading or that have problems NOW.
Thinking that there is no problem does not make it go away. Penetration of water Must be stopped, erosion of soil and other surfaces around the house and grounds Must be corrected and other circumstances causing damage have to be corrected or they will get worse.
This is especially an important consideration for vacation (2nd) houses. A house that you own and that you visit once in a while. The main problem is the psychology of some owners is this:
“This is my toy that I play with once in a while and it will remain brand new and safe in my toy box until I return to play with it again, forever.” NO, that is not what happens. There are these environmental factors: rain, snow, ice, wind, bugs, heat, cold, seismic movement, settlement of soil under the house, flooding. Those continue to act on the house, causing degradation. You HAVE to maintain your house with paint, cleaning away mold, sealants, replacing of rotten materials with new, patching failed areas of siding, pavement and other items unless you don’t care about losing your investment in the house.
And if you are deferring maintenance because you’re thinking about selling, think again.
Buyers have the assistance these days of licensed Home Inspectors, who write up long and detailed reports about the failing conditions of a house. So: if you want a higher price for your house, you better have it in top condition, or the Buyer will tell their Real Estate Broker to demand a price reduction due to the house inspector’s long list of deferred maintenance items, possibly costing you tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands of dollars in lost sales price just because you were a cheapskate and didn’t take care of the expensive toy you visited once in a while. That’s not good business. Spend what you need to, in order to keep your 2nd house and main living house in tip-tip condition or you will lose much more than the cost of maintenance when you try to sell it.
Do you really think no one will notice that your house is deteriorating? Especially a Licensed House Inspector? They get paid to Find Problems, just so the Buyer of your house can chisel the price down, while pointing to the line items on the inspector’s report. This is very real. So if you think you are “saving money” by not maintaining your house, you are dead wrong. And it will cost you far more than if you had fixed problem areas when they were first noticed.
Cost you how?
1. In lower selling price (because the new owners will need to fix all those things you should have maintained, but did not). And by lower, we’re not just talking about a few hundred or a few thousand dollars less. It can be much more than that, if the buyers get the idea that the deferred maintenance seen is only the tip of the iceberg. And that the unfixed items run much deeper. In other words, you can scare your buyers into offering much less than you want for your house.
2. In higher maintenance costs later, if you allow the deteriorating items to continue deteriorating worse, than if you had fixed them when they were first discovered.
So: if you see some rusty metal somewhere around your house, call a Licensed Contractor and have him replace it. If you see rotten wood siding: do the same thing. If you see water penetrating a roof, wall or floor: same thing. Except for the roof, call a Licensed Roofer. If your toilet’s leaking, call a Licensed Plumber (a real one, not a handyman). If you have electrical problems, call a Licensed Electrician.
And if you want to expand or renovate your house: call a Licensed Architect. Always hire a professional. And don’t put off for later what needs to be fixed today. It will only get worse and cost you more tomorrow.