Much like your tax return, a dental check-up or a visit to your in-laws, home maintenance is one of these things you can keep putting off but the fact that it needs to be done simply won’t change.
“The reality is that the longer you postpone home maintenance tasks the worse it probably gets, which means it’s likely to cost you more both in terms of time and money than it would have if you addressed it either as a matter of course, or at the first sign of a problem,” says Lee Clarke, property consultant at Leapfrog Tyger Hills.
Maintenance is an integral part of owning a property and it’s an ongoing process. “A property is an asset – likely one of the biggest you’ll ever own – and it is also important to protect and care for asset, which is why property simply cannot be ignored or neglected,” Clarke continues.
The Leapfrog team identified a number of property maintenance concerns that are often overlooked but easily taken care of. Make sure you can tick the following off your list this summer season:
Summer in South Africa is hot, hot, hot and just like our Northern Hemisphere counterparts can’t do winter without central heating, we struggle to do summer without fans and air conditioning. Make sure you can keep things cool by checking that your aircon is clean and in good working order. Also test it to ensure it is working as efficiently as possible, and get it serviced by a professional if necessary. You don’t want to endure 38-degree heat simply because you didn’t think to check the appliance!
You’re fortunate to have a roof over your head, but that roof also needs to be inspected regularly to check for signs of leaks and damages. “Nothing raises the metaphorical roof quite like problems up there! Roof problems are among the most expensive you’re likely to encounter on the home maintenance budget so prevention is always preferable to cure,” Clarke says. He adds that one should check for loose or missing tiles on tiled roofs and look out for blistering or bubbles on flat roofs. “You also want to ensure the roof is clear of debris and that there are no tree branches making contact with the roof,” Clarke advises.
South Africa is a water scarce country and while most of us try our utmost to save water wherever we can, we do sometimes need to “use” water to keep the sanitary ware in good working order. “It’s a good idea to run water in baths and showers that don’t get used regularly and to flush toilets in unused spaces every now and again as this helps to prevent grime from building up, which could cause blockages,” Clarke recommends. Showerheads also need to be removed and cleaned every couple of months to clean the residue build-up inside. “Keeping it clean helps with water pressure, which is ultimately a way of reducing water consumption,” Clarke adds.
The benefits and importance of spring cleaning your home are well documented but the garage is a space that is often neglected in these efforts. “For so many of us, the garage is little more than a dumping ground and storage facility, which means we tend to not clean and care for it in the same way we do the rest of the property,” Clarke believes. The walls, windows, floor and roof of the garage needs to be inspected, maintained and repaired like any other art of the house. “What’s often more important is to deep clean the garage and create order by finding a suitable spot for everything – think shelves, hooks, cupboards – and arrange in categories like “garden”, “kids toys”, “paperwork” and “camping”. Make sure you store things in a dry space where pests like rats can’t get to it. “Another benefit of tidying the garage regularly is that you can see what goes unused and either donate or sell it.
Last, but certainly not least, is to make a point of caring for minor maintenance concerns like replacing a missing screw on a door handle, sealing the area around the bath, replacing lightbulbs and fixing curtain hooks that have come loose. “It’s a case of getting into the habit of addressing the small things so that they don’t get out of control,” Clarke believes.
At the end of the day it’s really just about keeping your hand on things, addressing small problems as they arise as a means of ensuring the problem doesn’t get bigger. “Regular maintenance may feel like effort but it’s bound to save you time, effort and money in the long run, and it helps the property retain – and grow – in value,” Clarke concludes