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As a homeowner, you have many anticipated financial responsibilities like your mortgage, insurance, taxes and utilities. But there are also expenses that can sneak up and create financial stress if you don’t properly plan for them. We are talking about maintenance. When it comes to home repairs, it pays to be proactive. The average homeowner spends $1,400 – $2,300* on regular annual maintenance, excluding any repairs or replacements. This may seem like a significant investment, however, when compared to the average cost of failure, you can see why it's worth it. (See our infographic on Preservation vs Repair)

Budgeting for recurring home maintenance as well as any unforeseen expenses is the key to a well-functioning home and avoiding costly repairs down the road. As a rule of thumb, you should have a maintenance budget between 1-4% of your home’s total value. Since home maintenance is an ongoing expense, to fine-tune your budget you should create a list of all the important components, appliances and systems that make up your home. This includes things like the roof, siding, and windows, as well as minor and major appliances like your water heater, HVAC system and refrigerator. Once you've assembled your list, it can be helpful to determine the age and condition of each item and then call local vendors to find out what you should be doing (and how much it costs) to maintain those items. Next, create a calendar of maintenance for your home. Additional factors to consider are your location and seasons, the age of your home and maintenance history. Not sure where to begin? Check out our maintenance checklist template and guide.

It’s important to remember that luxury doesn't come without a price. Just because you spent the extra dough to get the best doesn’t mean it doesn’t require maintenance. Think of your home like a luxury vehicle that needs to be serviced even though everything seems fine. Just like your car, we don’t recommend waiting until the “check engine” light turns on. If you have custom-built or premium features you may need to increase your maintenance budget to cover the costs of repairs, replacements, and upkeep. Things like high-end appliances, marble countertops, European plumbing fixtures and sophisticated technology will be more expensive to maintain, but the cost of doing nothing will also be much higher.

While nothing lasts forever, you can drastically increase the lifespan of many important and costly systems and appliances by just showing them some proactive TLC. For example, the average cost to have a roof and gutters cleaned professionally is between $120 - $320 and it can be up to double your roof lifespan if done annually. The lifespan of an asphalt shingle roof is between 15-30 years and costs the average homeowner around $7K to replace. Wouldn’t you rather get close to 30 years out of your roof? Never mind the stress and headache of a leak in the middle of the rainy season. Did we mention that many roofing companies will provide a free inspection?

Neglecting even seemingly small maintenance tasks can quickly spiral out of control and make your home dysfunctional. Beyond the savings you will enjoy by avoiding costly repairs, budgeting for home maintenance will also allow you to enjoy your home and reduce the stress caused by untimely breakdowns. Ever have your AC unexpectedly quit working when it is 100 degrees outside? If you're planning to sell down the road, a well-maintained property will mean increased value and be more appealing to potential buyers. While it’s a drag to think about budgeting more money toward your home’s care, performing regular home maintenance will save you $ long-term … and who doesn’t like that?

* There are many factors that contribute to the cost of maintaining a home. For the purposes of this blog post, we decided to include “national” averages and amounts we researched on other websites. Budgeting for maintenance is relative to the size, age, contents, location and condition of your home - but so is the cost of repairs and replacements!


How Much Does A Roof Replacement Cost? (Forbes)

Post on HVAC Services (This Old House)

Cost to Repair Roof Leaks (FIXR)

Cost to Repair a Refrigerator (FIXR)

As we prepare to kick off the new year this is a great time to organize and purge. Your home and personal space can greatly influence how you feel and function. The new year is an opportunity to feel you're entering a "fresh start." Organizing can also be overwhelming, so we came up with are some simple tips to help you get started:

Fridge & Pantry

You'll be surprised by the amount of unused food and other random items that have accumulated in your kitchen. Go through your pantry and cabinets and throw out expired ingredients, cracked or dented containers, duplicates, and items you no longer use. Check if you have any spices or condiments that have dried up, and finish with a deep clean of your fridge to remove any lingering food smells and make way for fresh new ingredients.

You can also donate any extra food to your local food bank or soup kitchen. It's a great way to help out those in need while clearing out space for new items!


Out with the old and in with the new. One of the easiest ways to think about purging your closets is to get rid of or donate an item for every new item that goes into your closet. We call this the 1 for 1 rule. Sometimes going into a task with a small goal in mind leads to purging more items you no longer need! Another idea for creating space is storing your seasonal items you don’t need in shrinkable storage bags. If you aren’t sure you are ready to part with items - put them in a bag out of sight for a few months and if they haven’t crossed your mind then it is safe to say you don’t need them!

Get Rid of Something Big

Instead of stressing about going through all of your little knick-knacks, think about getting rid of a couple of big things. Perhaps an old chair, dresser, appliance, tv or kids toy that is taking up a lot of space. If you aren’t able to donate to a local organization then think about posting on Nextdoor or Facebook Marketplace for free.

If you need to haul off something large or a lot of items , try Lugg. Vetted professionals will take care of all the logistics involved, from loading and transporting - ll you have to do is schedule your pickup here.

Whether you're looking forward to colder days or are still coming to terms with the end of summer, winterizing your home should be top of mind. California winters can be relatively mild compared to other parts of the country but this doesn’t mean you can sit back and be relaxed about maintenance. By performing a few annual maintenance tasks you can avoid costly repairs, save on utility bills and ensure that your family stays safe and comfortable throughout the season.

Here are a few winter maintenance must-dos:

Clean your gutters, drains and downspouts

There are a lot of trees in California and chances are leaves, needles and other debris has landed on your roof. Debris and heavy rain can cause gutters to fill up quickly and drains to clog, leading to water overflow, rotting fascia boards and structural damage to your roof. Thoroughly remove built-up debris from your gutters, test drains and downspouts before winter to avoid any wet surprises! Make sure windows and doors are weatherproof.

You’d be surprised how much heat can escape through small spaces in your windows and doors. To avoid unnecessary energy spend and to keep your home breeze-free, make sure all of your window and door hardware is latching securely and that any loose or missing weather stripping is replaced.

Service HVAC and radiant heat systems in your home

The weather outside might be frightful but your HVAC and radiant heat systems should be delightful. This is an easily overlooked service when things have been operating smoothly. But spending a little money to service your HVAC, radiant heat and changing filters regularly can extend the lifespan of your systems and ensure they are working efficiently when you need them most.

Clean your chimney and fireplace

Before you start roasting chestnuts on an open fire, be sure your wood burning fireplace is safe for use. Without proper cleaning and regular safety checks your chimney can build up dangerous debris or develop cracks which significantly increases the risk of fire. Here is a checklist of what should be done -

  • Sweep your chimney annually and inspect for creosote buildup

  • Check your chimney inside and out for cracks

  • Make sure your rain cap is in good condition

  • Test your damper to make sure it opens and closes with ease

  • Check for any tree limbs that are encroaching on your chimney

  • Clean out old ashes from the firebox

  • Check smoke and carbon monoxide detectors

  • Test with a small fire and generally keep your fires small

We know that worrying about maintenance during the holiday season is a drag but the stakes are high if you don’t take preventative measures. Whether you decide to DIY or call a professional, these few tasks can save you major headaches and $.

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