The Three M’s of Homeownership

A home is a very valuable asset. It must be maintained so that they function properly, are safe and enjoyable, and hold their value. Attention to maintenance, minimizing expenses and managing debt & risk are all key to helping you protect your investment.


Think about a car – it’s interesting that people normally understand the necessity to maintain a car and regularly have the car inspected, repaired and do regular maintenance.  Of course a house is worth much more, many more times than what a car is worth actually. However, homeowners can regularly neglect what should be routine maintenance.

If you fail to properly maintain a home, it can adversely affect the home’s value. In many cases, buyers will discount the price they’re willing to pay for a home more than the actual cost of the needed repair(s). Having a home in good condition can instill a confidence in the possible buyer, while a home in “less than good condition” can greatly generate a concern about unknown items which also may need repair.

Appliances, HVAC systems, etc run much more efficiently when they are maintained, which also results in lower utility bills. Another big benefit is that small items in need of repairs, many times, turn into more expensive repairs or having to replace the items completely.

As an example, failing to replace air filters on a regular basis can lead to a more expensive repair such as having to clean the coils – or it can even lead to a larger issue such as burning out a HVAC motor. In an example such as this, the cost of replacing the filters is much less than the cost of a new furnace or A/C unit.

It can definitely be more expensive to fix something that isn’t working, instead of preventing something from failing by performing regular maintenance on that item.

Minimize Expenses

All of us need ways to minimize our expenses. Each dollar that you spend on maintenance increases your cost of housing. Of course, some maintenance items can be easily done by yourself such as changing a filter. However, there are ways to minimize your expenses which go way beyond maintenance.

Ever heard of Ben Franklin’s adage that “a penny saved is a penny earned”? Replace all of your light bulbs with energy efficient alternatives such as LED. In light of Franklin’s adage, every dollar you save on utilities lowers your overall cost of housing!

If your home is not properly insulated, or if your windows and doors have seals which are not adequate, you could be using considerably more energy than necessary.  The cost of making these adjustments could be recaptured in utility savings in a short period of time.

If you aren’t comfortable making those necessary changes, knowing the right service providers can be a big source of savings as well as give you peace of mind.  Your real estate professional has developed a wide range of trusted service providers who are both reputable and reasonable.  You should feel comfortable asking for a recommendation whenever you need one.

Manage Debt & Risk

Refinancing your home to get a lower interest rate can be a big savings, however you will need to analyze this option to determine how long it will cost you to recapture the cost involved.  A Refinance Analysis calculator can help.

There are other cost-saving items that can possibly help in multiple ways – some of those items include investigating multi-policy discounts for insurance, lowering your property tax assessment, low-flow toilets, smart thermostats, unplugging small appliances when not in use, and adjusting the temperature on HVAC units and water heaters.

When talking to your insurance agent about possible discounts, ask about your liability coverage also.  Homeowner policies have a stated amount of coverage, but your financial situation or exposure may indicate that you need to increase those amounts.  Generally, homeowners with pools or boats have increased risk and you’ll want to ask your agent about your other extracurricular activities.

Owning a home is filled with multiple responsibilities. Having a good source of information is very valuable to all homeowners. Your real estate professional is uniquely qualified to be your source of credible real estate information.  If you are wondering why they would be helpful even when you are not buying or selling a home, it is because they want to establish long-term relationships so that whenever you need their help or services, not only will you feel comfortable asking but that you’ll feel confident to refer them to your friends.

I can provide Insider Information on Fairfax VA homes for sale. Get you a FREE Market Snapshot Report of Your Northern Virginia Home’s Value, or  Search All Northern Virginia Homes For Sale. Put that data you need at the tips of your fingers!

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