Beyond Repair: How Maintenance Improves Home Value

Realtor Advice: By Sharika Tucci of Masterkey Management Ltd.

Whether your property is an investment vehicle or ‘home-sweet-home’, as a property owner your ultimate desire is for your property value to increase over time. In order to maximize your property value, repairs and maintenance are key.

“Repairs and maintenance” is often used as a general term for any work that is required at a property, but it can actually be broken down into categories.

The first category is emergency repair work, which occurs as a reactive response when something goes wrong. An example would be a blocked pipe or a leaking roof. These repairs don’t improve the value of a property; they are just the bare minimum requirements to maintain the property in adequate condition.

Emergency repair work, on its own, is not sufficient. If you want to see real increase in value, you must move beyond repair into maintenance.

The routine maintenance category is the regular, recurring upkeep that must be done, for example cutting the grass, cleaning the tank or repainting.

The third category is preventative maintenance. These are items which ideally should be regularly addressed to ensure the number of emergency repairs are kept to a minimum. Checking the roof for cracks, removing invasive plant growth, regular pest control, clearing gutters and drains and scheduled air-conditioning servicing all fall into this category.

The next category, investment maintenance, is the planned replacement of any item in the property that depreciates in value. Examples would include upgrading flooring, light fixtures or cabinetry. This pre-planned maintenance provides a level of control over the standard, and value, of the property.

The last category includes the addition of new elements to the property, or capital works. You may choose to add a dishwasher or install an air-conditioning system. These types of projects assist in increasing the value of the property and the rental return.

If a property owner only attends to emergency repairs, over time the property will be worth less, however, with careful consideration of the full maintenance spectrum, the property can experience less aggravating emergency repairs, be more efficient, achieve more rent, attract a better quality tenant and the value of the property is likely to increase.

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