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Tools and Tips: Home Ownership

Although you might not like to think of it that way, your home is an investment. There are many aspects of your investment---such as market ups and downs and natural disasters---you don't have any control over. But you do have control over how your home is maintained and the environment it is in.

Maintenance is an annoying constant, and you may not wish to invest the money or time necessary to keep your home in top condition. But neglected maintenance concerns turn into repair necessities. And the problems created by lack of maintenance could cost you potential buyers or loss of profit on the home.

Consider these maintenance basics

  • Keep up with outside maintenance such as painting and staining, where neglect could cause serious damage to the homeYour garden is part of your house. It's harder to bring back a jungle than to control a garden weekly. If you have a high-maintenance garden you don't have time for, try consulting with a landscape expert on installing a low-care garden
  • Repair immediately any problems that may make your home a danger to others. Loose steps, holes, and torn carpets can cause injury to visitors and family
  • Don't trade fancy extras for the fundamentals. If your kitchen is falling apart, it's not time to buy a new hot-tub! Keep up with the little things. One jiggly doorknob is no problem to fix, but when the little repairs pile up, you're faced with a larger and more expensive task.
  • Consider resale value when you make changes to your house. Do you love a color of bright orange that no one else does? Consider recovering your furniture in your favorite color rather than painting the walls

Remember, also, that you have some control over your environment. All sorts of aspects of your neighborhood can affect your resale value, and so the more you get involved, the more you can determine the directions your neighborhood takes.

 

What you can do to keep up the value of your neighborhood

  • Get involved to make sure that your local schools are safe and provide a good education
  • Start a community action group if your neighborhood experiences a rise in crime
  • Get to know your neighbors so you can work out problems as they arise
  • Although you can't determine your neighbors' lifestyles, you can make sure they don't break the law. Check to see whether a local nuisance such as rusted-out cars is actually illegal
  • Is a developer applying to put a large office building in your residential neighborhood? If you're involved with the community, you can get your say before permission is given