Home Maintenance Schedule – A Primer with a focus on costs

The home we purchased in 2004 in Alameda, CA (Bay Farm Island) had a vintage appeal, though it was only seventeen years old. The elderly couple that owned the house for all those years had understandably let home maintenance on the back burner towards the end of their tenure there. Though the home inspector had pointed out some of the negatives, negotiating the price was not an option, given the market conditions we were in.

Our maintenance summary over the six-year period of ownership follow:

Yard – The house was on a corner lot with a land area of around 6200 square feet. The property layout was such that a substantial yard area was committed for the curb appeal. The appeal was largely missing as the lawn had dilapidated to a patchy spread and the garden area immediate to the house had stumpy bushes from the ‘80’s and a dwarf Japanese maple tree. The back yard had several fully-grown mature trees – mostly from the pine and holly family, an empty vegetable patch, a semblance of a lawn, and a Japanese rock garden corner complete with a concrete pedestal lamp all swathed in layers of ivy. The fences had almost doubled up under the ivy in full vigor. The family room opened to a concrete patio area. The previous owners had taken privacy to verdant heights – not even the windows were spared. Being no green thumbs we contracted to get the backyard cleared for around $1K.

As we were not into puttering around the yard, only low maintenance options were in our radar and below are the ways we achieved it:
  1. The front-yard had an L-shaped lawn with a tree in the middle. There was no escaping the drudgery of mowing the lawn on a weekly basis except during winter. The condition of the lawn at the time we took ownership was so poor that we attempted various tricks of the trade - aerating, winterizing, sowing seeds, fertilizing, etc. These items were only a few dollars apiece and the lawn could not show any worse for our experimenting. Ultimately, when it came time to sell the house, we chose to avail of our agent’s service and laid down a new lawn in the front and back. That service came to around $1500.
  2. Power washing the front of the garage, patio area, and the atrium immediately gave a face-lift to the house. This was done twice – the first immediately following our move-in and the second before selling. In general, this is a good investment as costs are nominal. 
  3. The house was a zero-lot one with our sidewalls acting as the boundary wall for our neighbor. The fence on that side was set back for curb appeal which had dwindled down to bushes over time. At our neighbor’s initiative, we decided to move the fence on that side to the front. A win-win for all – our neighbor suddenly had his yard space and we had only the small box area next to the brand new fence to maintain.
  4. Periodically, we purchased plants, mulch, pots, and such from Home Depot to spruce up the yard. Regular trips to your local home improvement store are standard fare for most home owners and we were not exempt.
With the yard, it is hard to come up with an accurate home maintenance schedule – only ad hoc basis worked for us.

Fence – We replaced the original fencing, which had withered down to beyond repair on both the side and the back. The pricing was around $20 per linear foot. The linear footage for the side-yard was around 150 while the shared back yard was another 100; this improvement set us back $4K. With some peer advice, those savvy with the saw can save a considerable amount in this quarter. While standard 6-foot redwood fences can hold their ground for anywhere between 10 and 15 years based on the type of soil and other factors, for home maintenance scheduling it is reasonable to plan for replacement after twelve years.

Roof, siding, outside painting, gutters, etc. – Roofing and siding companies offer warranties that run upwards of 25 years. The warranty period generally acts as the guideline for scheduling home maintenance, including the roof replacement. Nonetheless, for the 17-year old house we purchased, the home inspector could only grudgingly give the roof two more years of life. The inspection report pointed out several places with siding damage and a number of wooden planks with water damage. Replacing the roof is fairly expensive and our cost for replacement came to around $12K for composite-shingle roofing with a thirty-year warranty. Steel roofing boasts the best warranty in the business (fifty years or so), but is on the expensive side – still, as they endure fire and storm better, they are the better alternative in areas prone to those factors.

Twelve years is a good stretch for the exterior painting and will work well for home maintenance scheduling. Exterior painting contractors also handle limited siding and water damage work as part of their job. The best quote that came our way for these maintenance works was a combination offer that included upgrading windows and patio doors to be double paned. The expense for the painting and siding work portion came to around $3.5K. The HOA’s update their palette every so often that it is worth the time and effort to check their latest color choices before embarking on a painting adventure. For what it is worth, a contemporary coat will greatly enhance the overall appeal of the house.

Unless extended warranty coverage or home warranty coverage is availed for appliances and other electrical equipments in the house, chances are that periodical maintenance costs for the dishwasher, refrigerator, washer, dryer, water heater, furnace, miscellaneous plumbing, and electrical work will be the norm. Even with insurance, there is no getting away from sporadic expenses that arise from the warranty coverage exclusions - faucets and fixtures lead that list. From our experience, such expenses can easily add up to between $500 and $2K, depending on the age of the appliances and other factors.

As can be seen from the varied expenses above, it is tough to plan accurately for these expenses. The better option is to aside an estimated ballpark figure.

Related Posts:
Last Updated: 03/2012.

No comments :

Labels

401k ( 15 ) Abad Turtle Beach ( 1 ) Abrams Capital Management ( 5 ) Acoustic Electric Guitars ( 1 ) Acoustic Guitars ( 1 ) ACT ( 1 ) Activist ( 4 ) Address Change ( 2 ) Advanced Placement ( 4 ) air asia ( 2 ) airlines ( 2 ) Akre Capital Management ( 18 ) Alex Roepers ( 5 ) AP ( 4 ) apartments ( 2 ) Appaloosa ( 15 ) ARIUS ( 1 ) Arlington Value Capital ( 3 ) Atlantic Investment Management ( 5 ) Ayemenem ( 1 ) Bangalore ( 3 ) Bangkok ( 2 ) Bannerghatta National Park ( 1 ) barbuda ( 2 ) Battery Park ( 1 ) Baupost ( 2 ) Baupost Group ( 17 ) bay area ( 2 ) BDCs ( 3 ) Benjamin Graham ( 2 ) Benjamin Graham Model ( 2 ) Berijam Lake ( 2 ) Berkshire Hathaway ( 32 ) best sites ( 9 ) Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation ( 20 ) Bill Ackman ( 19 ) Bill Gates ( 21 ) Blue Ridge Capital ( 16 ) Blum Capital Partners ( 12 ) books ( 4 ) Boone Pickens ( 2 ) BP Capital Management ( 2 ) Brave Warrior ( 3 ) Brave Warrior Advisors ( 12 ) british honduras ( 2 ) Bruce Berkowitz ( 19 ) Bruce Fund ( 18 ) Camcorders ( 3 ) canada ( 4 ) cancun ( 3 ) CANROYs ( 7 ) Cantillon ( 12 ) carl icahn ( 9 ) Carl Ichan ( 8 ) casino ( 3 ) Casio ( 2 ) CBRE ( 2 ) CEF ( 2 ) Charles Akre ( 15 ) Charlie Munger ( 20 ) Chase Coleman ( 16 ) Chou Associates ( 25 ) Christmas gifts ( 7 ) Christopher H. Browne ( 7 ) Chuck Akre ( 13 ) Cisco ( 2 ) Class Action Settlements ( 2 ) CLEP ( 1 ) Coatue Management ( 20 ) Cochin ( 2 ) coin collecting ( 266 ) collectibles ( 266 ) Consumer Product Reviews ( 29 ) cook islands ( 2 ) coonoor ( 2 ) Covered Calls ( 2 ) credai ( 4 ) Daily Journal ( 20 ) Dalal Street ( 8 ) Dan Loeb ( 10 ) DAT ( 1 ) David Abrams ( 5 ) David Einhorn ( 22 ) David Swensen ( 17 ) David Tepper ( 15 ) David Winters ( 15 ) DCF ( 2 ) Digital Piano ( 3 ) Dinakar Singh ( 20 ) Donald Yacktman ( 10 ) dry bulk shipping ( 2 ) Duquesne ( 25 ) Education ( 37 ) Edward Lampert ( 21 ) Egerton Capital ( 20 ) Egypt ( 3 ) Elementary Education ( 10 ) Elementary School Textbooks ( 5 ) eReaders ( 2 ) Eric Mindich ( 13 ) ESL Investments ( 14 ) ESPP ( 6 ) ETF ( 2 ) ETN ( 2 ) Eton Park ( 13 ) Everyday Musings ( 58 ) Exam Prep ( 7 ) Exiting the rat race - how to? ( 19 ) EXPLORE ( 1 ) Fair Value Estimates ( 4 ) Fairfax Financial ( 4 ) Fairfax Financial Holdings ( 14 ) Fairholme ( 19 ) Fairpointe ( 20 ) Family Office ( 8 ) FD Laddering ( 1 ) Financial Independence ( 93 ) Fisher Asset Management ( 10 ) Flash Camcorders ( 3 ) flat ( 4 ) flats ( 2 ) Flip ( 3 ) Francis Chou ( 25 ) free ( 17 ) frugal ( 3 ) Frugal Living ( 34 ) Fund Holdings ( 890 ) futures ( 2 ) FVE ( 2 ) gambling ( 3 ) garmin ( 2 ) Genting ( 2 ) george soros ( 22 ) giveaway ( 15 ) Glenn Greenberg ( 16 ) Glenview Capital ( 10 ) GMAT ( 1 ) Google ( 2 ) Gotham Asset Management ( 7 ) gps ( 5 ) GRE ( 1 ) Greenlight Capital ( 22 ) Guitars ( 3 ) Half Marathon ( 2 ) Hawaii ( 2 ) Hedge Funds ( 912 ) HELOC ( 1 ) High School Education ( 7 ) High School Textbooks ( 6 ) HOA ( 3 ) hobby ( 17 ) holiday shopping ( 7 ) Holidays ( 3 ) Holyland ( 11 ) Home Improvement ( 2 ) home ownership ( 5 ) Homes ( 18 ) Homeschool ( 18 ) Houses ( 2 ) Housing ( 3 ) Hykon ( 2 ) Ian Cumming ( 15 ) Icahn Enterprises ( 6 ) india real estate ( 5 ) Infinuvo ( 6 ) Insurance ( 2 ) invesco ( 17 ) investing strategies ( 2 ) Investment Portfolio ( 94 ) Investment Research ( 10 ) Investments ( 7 ) iRobot ( 5 ) Irving Kahn ( 10 ) israel ( 5 ) Jason Maynard ( 10 ) Jefferies ( 2 ) Jeffrey Bruce ( 20 ) Jeffrey Ubben ( 12 ) Jerusalem ( 2 ) Jim Chanos ( 20 ) Joel Greenblatt ( 7 ) John Armitage ( 20 ) John Griffin ( 16 ) John Paulson ( 17 ) Joho Capital ( 15 ) Jordan ( 3 ) Joseph Steinberg ( 9 ) Julian Robertson ( 4 ) Kahn Brothers ( 10 ) Kakkanad ( 4 ) Kanyakumari ( 2 ) Kawai ( 2 ) Ken Fisher ( 10 ) kerala real estate ( 5 ) Kids ( 49 ) Kids Yamaha ( 3 ) Kindle ( 2 ) kochi ( 8 ) Kodaikanal ( 2 ) Korg ( 2 ) Kraft ( 2 ) Kuala Lumpur ( 2 ) KWA ( 2 ) Kynikos ( 20 ) laptop ( 5 ) Larry Robbins ( 10 ) Las Vegas ( 2 ) Leon Cooperman ( 21 ) Leucadia ( 2 ) Leucadia National ( 13 ) Lone Pine Capital ( 9 ) long ( 6 ) long call ( 2 ) long puts ( 3 ) Lou Simpson ( 15 ) LSAT ( 1 ) Mahabalipuram ( 2 ) Malaysia ( 3 ) Marathon ( 2 ) Mark McGoldrick ( 10 ) Markel ( 20 ) Mason Hawkins ( 4 ) MCAT ( 1 ) Melinda Gates ( 13 ) memorabilia ( 266 ) MFP Investors ( 20 ) Michael Dell ( 22 ) Michael Price ( 20 ) Middle School Education ( 4 ) Middle School Textbooks ( 3 ) Mini Notebook ( 3 ) MODUS ( 1 ) Mohnish Pabrai ( 21 ) mortgage ( 2 ) Mount Kellett ( 10 ) MSD Capital ( 22 ) Music ( 6 ) Mutual Funds ( 5 ) mysore ( 2 ) Nelson Peltz ( 9 ) Netbook ( 4 ) Notebook ( 3 ) numismatics ( 266 ) O-Duster ( 1 ) Oahu ( 2 ) offers ( 2 ) Ole Andreas Halvorsen ( 10 ) Omega Advisors ( 21 ) online tax ( 4 ) ooty ( 2 ) Options ( 4 ) Pabrai Fund ( 17 ) passive income ( 7 ) pattaya ( 2 ) Paulson & Company ( 7 ) Paulson and Company ( 9 ) PEG ( 2 ) Pershing Square ( 19 ) Phil Fisher ( 5 ) philately ( 283 ) Philippe Laffont ( 20 ) Piano ( 9 ) PLAN Test ( 1 ) portfolio ( 4 ) Prem Watsa ( 17 ) product reviews ( 13 ) Property Taxes ( 2 ) PSAT ( 1 ) R2I ( 24 ) R2I Finances ( 3 ) R2I Housing ( 5 ) Raising Kids ( 41 ) Rat Race ( 15 ) RBS Partners ( 19 ) reading ( 5 ) real estate ( 6 ) Reducing Expenses ( 2 ) REIT ( 3 ) Retirement Portfolio ( 9 ) Reviews ( 81 ) Richard C. Blum ( 12 ) Robert Bruce ( 20 ) Robert Karr ( 15 ) Robotic Vacuum ( 4 ) Roland ( 2 ) Roomba ( 10 ) schooling ( 2 ) Sears ( 12 ) seeking alpha ( 2 ) Services - Reviews ( 33 ) Seth Klarman ( 19 ) Shipping ( 5 ) Shopping ( 3 ) short ( 5 ) short calls ( 2 ) short put ( 2 ) short puts ( 2 ) short selling ( 13 ) Ski ( 5 ) Sled ( 4 ) Solar Stocks ( 13 ) Soros Fund Management ( 14 ) Southeastern Asset Management ( 4 ) Southwest ( 2 ) spin-offs ( 2 ) SQ Advisors ( 15 ) stamp collecting ( 283 ) Stanley Druckenmiller ( 25 ) Statue of Liberty ( 2 ) Stephen Mandel ( 9 ) Stock Analysis ( 84 ) Stock Investments ( 4 ) Stock Portfolio Updates ( 6 ) stocks ( 3 ) summer ( 2 ) tax ( 6 ) TaxAct ( 3 ) TaxCut ( 1 ) Teacher's Editions ( 5 ) Technology ( 4 ) Test Prep ( 11 ) Thailand ( 3 ) Thekkady ( 2 ) theme park ( 2 ) Third Point ( 10 ) Thomas Gayner ( 20 ) Thyra Zerhusen ( 20 ) Tiger Cub ( 32 ) Tiger Global ( 17 ) Tiger Management ( 13 ) Time Square ( 2 ) TOEFL ( 1 ) TPG-Axon ( 20 ) Travel ( 278 ) Travel Reviews ( 82 ) Trian Fund Holdings ( 9 ) trip report ( 21 ) TurboTax ( 3 ) Tweedy Browne ( 10 ) Vacations ( 28 ) value investing ( 13 ) ValueAct ( 5 ) ValueAct Holdings ( 6 ) Vancouver ( 2 ) Video ( 3 ) Viking Global ( 10 ) Wallace Weitz ( 10 ) Warren Buffett ( 31 ) Wayanad ( 4 ) Weitz Investment Management ( 9 ) wilbur ross ( 17 ) William Von Mueffling ( 12 ) Wintergreen Advisors ( 15 ) Yacktman Asset Management ( 10 ) Yale Endowment ( 17 ) Yale University ( 7 ) Yamaha ( 7 ) YDP ( 1 ) YPG ( 1 )