The true cost of owning and maintaining a house and the land on which it sits is tough to estimate. It is ideal to establish a house maintenance fund, to which you contribute each month
Tips on Home Maintenance:
- Set up a home maintenance fund
- Contribute 3-5 per cent of monthly income to the fund.
- Replace worn-out appliances
- Pay attention to external aesthetics and internal decorations.
Armed with these, routine property maintenance can save any homeowner huge expenditures.
A couple with two children recently bought a new duplex in a residential city centre to reflect their movement up the income ladder. They were previously living at downtown suburb.
However, they were mystified when their lawn started turning brown and some facilities began to fail. They asked their neighbour if she had any idea what the problem could be.
Single-family homeowners will tell you that, no matter how new or old a house is, there will always be something wrong with it. Whether you have to replace the roof, blacktop the driveway, or get your windows washed, maintaining a house can expensive and time-consuming.
But if you do not keep up with the maintenance, the cost could grow exponentially. A house is less than perfect condition will sell more slowly and for less money than a house that has been maintained impeccably.
Underestimating the true cost of owing and maintaining a house and the land on which it sits is one mistake first-time buyers often make.
Calculating this is a lot tougher than predicting your mortgage payments because it comes in variables and is given to change. If principal, interest, real estate taxes, and insurance are the fixed cost involved with owning a home, utility payment are semi-fixed, and everything else fluctuates, sometimes with the season.
Those are the big expenses that most first-time buyers expect. But do not forget that utility payments, include electricity, gas, internet access, and perhaps, trash and garbage collection, water and sewage; repairs and maintenance of the interior and exterior of the home; landscaping and ground maintenance.
How do you plan for these costs? You will know how much your mortgage payment, homeowner’s insurance premium and taxes will be from the outset. If your new house is about the same size as your old one, you can assume your utility bills will be similar. If the house is bigger, start multiplying.
But it is the maintenance costs that are hard to estimate. A new roof can cost between N150, 000 to N400, 000 depending on the roofing materials used. If you have to put in a new sewage line, it can run into N150, 000. Fixing other things in the house, including replacing worn out appliances, could make the cost to shoot up significantly.
The best way to be ready for the cost of owning and maintaining your home is to plan for it.
Depending on the size of your house, you will probably spend between N50, 000 to N250, 000 each year to maintain it. Some years, the total you spend will be less, perhaps because you do not have any major expenses. And then, in other years, when you have to repaint the interior or replace the carpet or floor, you may have to spend more.
The easiest way to build your house maintenance fund is to set aside the cash each month when you get paid. Putting N2, 000 each month into a special savings account means that when your house needs work, you will already have the cash in hand.
Homeowners should first identify the key elements in home maintenance; this is because adequate attention should be placed on external aesthetics of the building as well as the interior decorations.
Homeowners should endeavour to evacuate their septic holes regularly to prevent the human waste content from flooding the compound with the attendant nauseating inconveniencies, while the drainage channels should be kept clean always to prevent flooding.
Attention should be paid to such little things as changing of electricity bulbs as at when due; servicing of kitchen appliances like the microwave oven and the gas cooker; servicing of air conditioning units every three to four months; and fumigating the surrounding to eliminate pests and rodents.
Homeowners are advised to try to contribute between three to five per cent of their monthly income to a special home maintenance fund to take care of routine repair cost.