Is there a trend of not maintaining our homes growing? Do we see houses a places to stay, or as our homes?
One of my habits for my home inspections is to check out the other houses in an area. Although each house is different, because of the way it has been maintained, a home inspector can spot trends in other homes which may also be effecting the house he is examining. You see that we primp our homes for sale, and we cover up the common problems to make the home look its best. Our neighbors are not doing the same. Lately, I notice that many homes have wonderfully maintained fronts, but the homeowners are ignoring everything else.
On one inspection last week, I met the neighbor by his front drive. Everything in the front yard was well maintained. We talked for a moment about the house that I was inspecting, and how he was glad that it was being sold. As the inspection proceeded, I could see that the grass in his backyard was about waist height. This was quite visible since the fence was falling down. I saw that the roof had problems, and that other parts of the home had moisture damage. You would never have noticed by looking at the front of the home. To me what stood out was that he appeared to be doing well from other appearances (nice clothes, nice car, and other signs of material wealth). Yet, there was is house. I began to think about my own neighborhood, and the areas where I go for inspections, only to realize that this is happening quite often. I can only imagine that we perceive our homes as a place to stay, and not to live out our lives.
I began to look at homes a little bit closer with this idea tumbling around in my head. Going to a party this past weekend, left me slightly perplexed. The owners of this house had a landscaper create a nice front garden for them, which became a bit wild. For the party, they had cleared it up. Inside the home, I could see new furnishings. In the backyard there was quite a tree house complex built for the children; however, the home would have many problems if I was producing an inspection report. Moisture damage in the trim work and fascia. Window screens broken. Gutters falling apart. Damage to the roof. Grading that allows water to collect by the rear door. The list goes on. I look at the new furniture and the treehouse. I know that they had money for those things. Why not focus on repairs to the house as well? Before you say I am being to critical, you should also know that they have asked me about these problems that I have seen for some time now. They knew what I suggested for repairs. They decided that other things were more important.
If your house is the largest financial transaction that you are likely to be involved in, I feel that the sensible thing to do is protect that investment. Maybe I am wrong though. A neighbor recently told me that he is planning to move. He bought the house a few years ago, and he is ready to move on. We have been a people on the move. We have followed our jobs, our friends, or our families. A house is meant to be our home for five years for some owners. his attitude s harder to maintain in the current lending environment. We may not qualify for the mortgage that we want.Should we begin to think of our houses as homes again? If we think of these structures as a place where we may live for the next twenty years or more, we will take care of our investment. Maybe we need to learn how to maintain our homes. I think maybe some people do not know. I almost feel that it would not be a waste of money for you to hire a home inspector to examine your home, so you can better understand its condition.
Yesterday evening, I walked around my house. I noticed that I have home repairs to make as well. The little children have removed door stops, so now walls are damaged. I saw that I have to regrout the shower, and there is a door to fix. Yet, I work on my house all of the time. Each month sees a new project to improve the house or repair damage caused by time. Having been in facilities management, I know that maintaining a building can be hard. You have to develop a plan to inspect the premises, and organize your repairs, so that everything is done. Take the responsibility for your investment.