Protecting your investment: Tackling deferred maintenance

Your home is more than just a place to lay your head at night. It's a significant investment — a financial asset with the potential for long-term wealth-building and stability.

Point Editorial Team
June 1, 2023
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Your home is more than just a place to lay your head at night. It's a significant investment — a financial asset with the potential for long-term wealth-building and stability. However, as the years go by, it's easy for the maintenance tasks to pile up, and before you know it, your once-pristine property may be showing signs of neglect.

While it's effortless to delay repairs or maintenance work in the short term, deferred maintenance can lead to bigger problems down the road. Deferred maintenance not only diminishes the visual appeal of your home but also poses a severe threat to its overall value and structural integrity.

What is deferred maintenance? 

Think of deferred maintenance like putting off going to the dentist for a checkup. You might avoid it for a while to save time or money, but eventually, you'll have bigger problems. The same goes for your property. 

Deferred maintenance is delaying necessary maintenance and repair work on your home. While it may seem like a good idea to put off repairs — due to budget limitations or time constraints — it can lead to more significant issues in the long term.  

The consequences of deferred maintenance

Maintaining a home can be daunting, but when the deferred maintenance backlog begins to pile up, severe problems quickly follow. These consequences can affect your home's value, condition, and even your family's health and safety.

Safety hazards

Neglecting home maintenance can lead to increased safety hazards that put you and your family at risk. For example, a leaky roof or pipe can cause water damage, weakening the structural integrity of your home and creating an environment for mold to thrive. It can be hazardous to a person's health and cause respiratory problems. 

Other safety hazards that can arise from deferred maintenance include outdated electrical wiring, which can be a dire hazard, and malfunctioning or poorly maintained appliances, which can pose safety risks if not addressed promptly.

Costly repairs

Another product of deferred repairs is the likelihood of maintenance costs becoming more expensive the longer upkeep is postponed. Minor issues can quickly become big problems that consume more of your budget. 

For example, a small plumbing leak can turn into a burst pipe, which can cause water damage and require pricey repairs. Likewise, a malfunctioning HVAC system can lead to higher energy bills and eventually break down entirely, which can be a costly repair or replacement. Delaying inevitable maintenance creates conditions where a small crack in the foundation compromises the structural integrity of your home — a situation no homeowner wants to be in.

Decreased property value

Deferred maintenance can also greatly impact a property's value and a homeowner's share of equity (and financial flexibility). When a property is poorly maintained, its value can decrease, reducing a homeowner's equity. Low equity can make it harder to access financing or draw on equity to fund other projects or investments. It can be especially frustrating when homeowners want to improve their homes but feel limited by their financial situation.

Additionally, homebuyers are often wary of properties requiring significant repairs or visible signs of wear and tear. A flawed home appeal can make it harder to sell a property; in some cases, a homeowner may need to sell at a loss to attract buyers.

Strategies for tackling deferred maintenance

1. Audit and prioritize 

Auditing your home's backlog can help you take proactive steps toward combatting deferred maintenance. 

First, list all the necessary repairs and maintenance tasks that need attention. It can range from small items like leaky faucets to more significant capital improvements like outdated electrical wiring or a damaged roof.

Next, prioritize your list based on urgency and maintenance budget. Doing so will help you determine which items to tackle first and how much you can realistically spend on each task. 

To keep on track, create a schedule or timeline for completing each task. This will help you stay organized and ensure you're progressing toward achieving your maintenance plan.

2. Start or strengthen your preventive maintenance plan

Starting or strengthening your preventive maintenance plan is one of the best ways to stop delayed repairs. Preventive care involves taking proactive steps to sustain your home and prevent future problems. By investing a little time and effort now, you can save yourself from the many consequences that are a result of deferred maintenance. 

To start, identify the areas of your home that require regular maintenance— such as your HVAC system, plumbing, electrical wiring, and appliances. Be sure to check the manufacturer's maintenance recommendations and ensure you're following them. For example, changing your air filter regularly can help prevent costly HVAC repairs.

Then, create a schedule for regular maintenance tasks. It can include monthly, quarterly, or annual work orders. Set reminders on your calendar or phone to ensure you remember to complete these essential tasks.

3. Hire professionals for routine maintenance activities

Lack of knowledge and time are common reasons for delaying maintenance. If you're uncomfortable completing some of these tasks alone or don’t have the time, consider hiring a professional maintenance manager. Many companies offer preventive maintenance packages that help keep your home in shape.


4. Secure maintenance financing  

Lack of funds and limited resources are often causes for putting off routine maintenance and repairs. By securing financing for home upkeep, you can address deferred maintenance as it arises and protect your investment. Some effective options include: 


When it comes to tackling home maintenance, budgeting is a crucial step that often gets overlooked. Many homeowners are caught off guard by unexpected repairs that can quickly drain their finances – or force them to take on debt to cover the costs. Instead, by setting aside funds for maintenance and repairs, you can establish a safety net that ensures you're financially prepared to tackle any issues that arise. Whether saving a fixed percentage of your monthly income or setting aside a specific amount each month, creating a dedicated maintenance budget allows you to secure financing without putting unnecessary strain on your wallet.

‍Home equity loan or line of credit‍

Home equity products allow you to tap into the equity you've built to cover the costs of necessary repairs, renovations, or upgrades. One of the key advantages of using a home equity loan or line of credit is the competitive interest rates they often offer compared to other alternatives. You can access the funds you need while keeping your borrowing costs relatively low. ‍Additionally, these options provide a flexible and convenient way to manage your home maintenance expenses. Whether you choose a lump-sum loan or a revolving line of credit, you can use the funds as needed, paying interest only on the amount you borrow. Responsible borrowing and budgeting are vital to avoid overextending yourself and safeguarding your home's equity.

Personal loans

Personal loans have a straightforward application process and quick turnaround time, which make them a practical option for emergency repairs. They work on a fixed interest rate and structured repayment plan, making budgeting and managing your finances manageable. Unlike home equity products, personal loans don't require using your home as collateral. However, they often come with higher interest rates than secured loans.

Credit Card

Credit cards are another convenient way to tackle deferred maintenance. Many types offer rewards programs or cashback incentives, allowing you to earn benefits or save money on home maintenance expenses. However, it's essential to approach credit card usage responsibly. The interest rates on credit cards can be much higher than other financing options, so it's important to pay off the balance promptly to avoid accumulating debt and interest charges. Borrowers should have a clear repayment plan before using a credit card for significant home maintenance costs. Similarly, it's essential to be mindful of your credit limit and stay within it to maintain a healthy credit score.

Home Equity Investment

Home Equity Investments (HEI) allow homeowners to access their home's wealth without taking on more debt. An investor will pay you a lump sum of cash for a portion of your home's equity. There are no monthly payments, income requirements, or need for perfect credit. You can buy your equity anytime during a 30-year term without any prepayment penalties.

One of the advantages of home equity investments is that they allow homeowners to unlock the value of their property while avoiding traditional loans or interest payments. It can be particularly appealing for those who prefer to avoid taking on additional debt or are unable to qualify for other types of financing.

Learn more about Home Equity Investments.

Final Thoughts

Deferred maintenance can cause severe damage to your home and your wallet. Instead, it would be best to prioritize your asset by keeping up with routine maintenance. In doing so, you invest in its future and the equity you have built over the years. 

Remember, your home is likely one of the most significant investments you'll make in your lifetime, so taking care of it is important. Don't wait until minor issues turn into major problems – start addressing deferred maintenance today.

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