Earlier this week, I published an article comparing a half-ass homeowner to a Money Boss homeowner. While the piece made some important points about maintaining your home, those points were clouded by overly emotional (even petty) comments on my part. This article is a revision of the previous piece with the negativity removed.
When Kim and I bought our new house — which was built in 1948 — we knew we’d have a lot of work. The inspection report revealed that most of the major systems were victims of deferred maintenance. For one reason or another, the previous owners hadn’t bothered to upgrade or maintain the roof, the siding, the floors, the decks, or the ductwork under the house. The electrical system was wonky and the windows had issues.
After moving in, we realized that we had even more work ahead of us than expected. In addition to the big stuff, there was lots of little stuff that needed attention. Knobs and screws were loose pretty much everywhere, the walls need painting, shelves need to be reinforced, the furnace is more than thirty years old, and so on.
Now, there are plenty of reasons the previous owners might not have addressed these issues. Maybe they experienced illness or accident. Maybe they were busy with their work and lives. Maybe they couldn’t afford the routine maintenance. (Maybe they were lazy or didn’t think the repairs were necessary — but that’s just one possibility.)
Because Kim and I love this place, we want it to shine. We want it to be a home we can be proud of. Right now, we have the enthusiasm all new homeowners get when they move into a place. Plus, we’re fortunate to have profited $59,000 from selling the condo and buying our “English cottage”. All of that money can be used for repairs and upgrades. (And we don’t mind dipping into savings, if needed.)
Before we become too settled, we’re tackling as many of these projects as possible. We’re putting the Money Boss ideals into practice with our new home.
The Money Boss Homeowner
The primary theme here at Money Boss is that you should manage your personal finances as if you were managing a business. By taking a rational approach to earning and spending, you can boost your profit in order to better pursue your goals. Being a money boss homeowner is a huge part of this process.
Note that I’m not one of those who blindly advocates homeownership. Owning makes sense for some people, but not for others. Generally speaking, I believe the choice is a financial wash and the decision comes down to other factors. (The financial implications differ based on where you live, of course.) Still, much of this advice is applicable whether you’re renting or buying.
According to U.S. government statistics, housing is the largest expense for the typical American family. It represents, on average, one-third of household spending. Nothing else comes close. Naturally, it makes a lot of sense to treat your home with care, to perform maintenance and upgrades that reduce future costs while also sustaining the building’s structural integrity.
A lot of people get distracted or forget about the importance of ongoing home improvement. A money boss makes it a priority.
How to Stay on Top of Home Improvement
In order to balance continual home maintenance with the demands of daily life, you need to have a plan.
From my experience, the best approach is to use your home inspection as basis from which to work. Your inspector probably documented tons of issues (both major and minor) as he examined the property. His report makes an excellent source to start your to-do list. But that’s just the beginning. [Read more…]