Bless This House – Ongoing Repairs

Our house is our single biggest investment and one that needs lots of care and maintenance. We’ve lived in our house for 11 years now and it feels like there is always something that needs work.

I analyzed it a couple years ago, and the ‘experts’ say that homes require somewhere in the range of 1%-3% of the value of a home in ongoing annual maintenance. With the average price of a home in the US hovering at about $202K, that translates to $2K-$6K a year in maintenance.

Related: The Price Of Home Upkeep

Our house is bigger than average and we’ve built it 11 years this Halloween. That means the amount of money we are paying out seems to be going up. After a decade in a new house, it is prime-time for many things to need replacing.

Related: Is Your House Falling Apart / Repair Guide

I’m not particularly handy, but my phone has a list of ‘my guys’ … the painter, the handyman, the concrete guy, the arborist, the HVAC/plumber, the cabinet maker, irrigation specialist, and landscaper. Many of these people we see year after year and have been using for over 20 years! We have a lot of neighbors that call me and ask if I have a ‘guy’ for something they need done on their house.

One project we are contemplating right now is painting our whole house. It was built with durable, pre-painted cement board, but is starting to fade. We really noticed it when we had our metal garage doors repainted this summer. They look brand new, but now the house looks a bit weatherworn by comparison.

It’s hard to know exactly when we should have the cement board repainted. Functionally, it’s fine and it was warranted for 15 years. It’s just that it doesn’t look shiny and new anymore. We’ll get an estimate and consider a paint job next summer (year 12) or the summer after that (year 13). I suppose it doesn’t matter exactly when we do it as it is a bit unlikely we’ll live in the house another 10-15 years an have to do it again?

What Big House Projects Do You Have Teed Up Next?

Image credit: (c) MrFireStation.com

11 thoughts on “Bless This House – Ongoing Repairs

  1. It’s always something, Chief! Our home is 106 years old. Our bedroom is ready for redo: Flooring, carpet, painting, shades, curtains, lighting, furniture, bath. A pretty penny! Next year, hard wood floors sand and seal on first and second floors. Another pretty penny

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    1. That must be fun to live in a ‘century home’, but I can only imagine how much upkeep it takes. I think owning an old house like that comes with a bit of ‘positive purpose’ though. It’s more than a house, it’s a legacy for you to preserve and pass on for history. Is that how you think about it?

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  2. Just redid my daughters room last weekend for less than a hundred bucks for paint and new curtains. The next big project is replacement of patio door, both front and side doors and a couple of basement windows which are all over 30 years old. We outsourced that which will not be cheap and looks like we will not have them installed until December. Business has been good for the home renovation companies in my area. As more people are working from home they notice the work that needs to get done.

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    1. That sounds like a very, very big job! I agree it’s hard to get on people’s schedules right now. I’m glad to have long-term relationships with my lust of ‘guys’. Gets them to call back when things are busy!

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  3. We built 12 yrs ago and tried to build with low maintenance in mind for the long haul. We put a stone exterior on the entire house and wrapped all the soffits, etc. with a PVC coated aluminum. So far just an occasional spot power washing 12 yrs later! We do have 28 round columns on our porches that will need to be painted at some point. But they are the only painted surfaces on the house, and we put a long-life 25 yr duration paint on them, and so far so good! Next up for us is an exterior stone fireplace on the patio. Houses are definitely a work in progress!

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    1. Sounds like you planned ahead! Our house is about as low-maintenance as you get in our area of MN. Most of our front is stone – but few people here would stone/brick all 4-sides. We went camping with friends last weekend – one owns a HCAC company, the other a roofing company – they were giving me horror stories of all of the things that start ‘going’ in the 10-15 year range.

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      1. Lol…We tried to plan ahead as best we could, but it’s never a perfect plan. And yes, we knew this would be our “forever home”, so we went “stupid” on all four-sides with stone. I’m not sure the up front cost will ever even out over time, but at least I don’t have to stress with painting every few years. (I despise painting!) Roofs, HVACs, appliances, floors, etc are never fun costs. We treat our house a lot like our rentals from a CAPEX accounting standpoint. We have a set accrual amount each month, based on the typical life cycles of the various items. For twelve years, we have been accruing for all of those items (and a bunch of others). So when they eventually break down, we’ll just apply it. If we get lucky and they last longer or they don’t come at all…we’ll just bank it. It’s a CAPEX accounting habit from years of running rental properties, but it does make life a lot smoother when those ugly costs do pop up.

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      2. I think you mentioned your accrual approach once. Makes a lot of sense. I tried to budget for cars that same way – put aside a little a year on paper for when we need to replace one. Honestly, I’ve kind of gotten out of budgeting since we’ve retired. As long as our net worth is trending ahead, I haven’t worried too much about the lumps in our spending.

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  4. I probably did. Sorry if I repeated myself. We do the same thing for cars. I still budget. It’s just habit for me. To be honest, I don’t know how not to!

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    1. My Quicken crashed s few years ago and I lost all of my budgeting history. Never went back to regular budgeting and don’t miss it! I’ve become irresponsible in my old age!! 😉

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