Because of the ability to build equity and call a piece of property your own, people often sing the praises of home ownership over renting. And while home ownership is certainly advantageous in some ways, it also comes with the increased stress, costs, and time commitment related to home maintenance projects and repairs. If you want the best of both worlds – home ownership without incessant projects – there are steps you can take to turn your house into a low-maintenance house. But you must be purposeful in both the big picture and small details.
Hack Your Way to a Low-Maintenance House
Let’s start by making one thing clear: There’s no such thing as a maintenance-free house. If you’re looking for a house that requires no work, rent a condo or townhouse. There are, however, houses that requires less maintenance than others. Here’s how you fit your house into this category:
1. Choose the Right Finishes
While big maintenance issues pop up from time to time, it’s typically the small, everyday tasks that keep you busy. By simply choosing low-maintenance finishes inside the home, you can save yourself a lot of time and effort. Here are a couple of suggestions:
- If you aren’t careful, kitchen countertops can be a huge source of frustration. Laminate is cheap, but stains and wears very easily. Marble and granite are gorgeous, but also stain without the right protective sealant. A more low-maintenance option is quartz, which stands up to scratches, stains, and high heat.
- Everybody loves the look of traditional stainless steel. It’s been the preferred finish for kitchen appliances for the past couple of decades. However, if you’ve owned it in the past, you also know that it smudges very easily – especially with kids and pets in the house. A better option may be black stainless steel, which is a newer option with a darker matte finish.
These are just a couple of options you can pursue in the kitchen. There are similar steps you can take in other rooms – including bathrooms, bedrooms, and basements – to eliminate unnecessary cleaning and maintenance. The more you can implement these upgrades, the less time you’ll spend with upkeep.
2. Hardwood Over Carpet
Carpet offers a number of benefits – namely that it’s cheap and comfortable beneath your feet. However, it’s a pain to keep clean – especially if you have pets. It also stains easily and needs replaced every few years to avoid looking worn.
While it’ll cost you more, a hard flooring like hardwood or vinyl planks can give you a sophisticated look that’s also easier to keep clean. You’ll spend less time vacuuming and removing stains and more time enjoying your house. It’s a no-brainer.
3. Install a Central Vacuum System
Even without carpet, your floors still accumulate dirt and dust. Pulling out the vacuum cleaner is cumbersome, which is why this task often gets put off longer than it should. One way to make your life easier is by installing a central vacuum in your house (which is actually a very simple process).
“One of the most common misconceptions surrounding central vacuums is that installing a system in an existing home requires a major renovation and tearing down walls,” M.D. Manufacturing explains. “This is simply not true- the only hole required is covered with an inlet backing plate, and the pipes are usually fed through an attic, basement, or crawlspace.”
If nothing else, look into the cost of installing one of these systems. They aren’t cheap, but the pros definitely outweigh the cons.
4. Install Metal Roofing
Few things are more frustrating than a bad roof. Leaks can cause damage to the inside of your home and are often costly to repair. Should you have to replace your roof, you’re looking at shelling out thousands and thousands of dollars. A metal roof will eliminate these points of contention.
Not only do metal roofs look good, but they also add to a low-maintenance house. They often come with 40 to 50-year warranties and last nearly three times as long as a standard roof.
5. Be Strategic with Landscaping
What’s fun about working in the hot sun and getting bit by bloodthirsty mosquitoes? Not much.
If you’re anything like most homeowners, you absolutely despise landscaping. While it’s not realistic to eliminate all landscaping tasks, you can do yourself a big favor by incorporating low-maintenance materials into your property. A couple of examples include:
- Synthetic turf, while costly, looks good and never has to be mowed or watered. If you have a small yard, this could be a good option for you.
- Hardscape surfaces whenever possible. A mix of stone, brick, crushed gravel, and synthetic wood can eliminate the need for watering and weeding. You will, however, want to invest in a pressure washer.
The more effort you spend on landscaping now, the less you’ll have to deal with time-consuming tasks when spring and summer hit.
6. Pay for Quality
You’re going to pay now or later. If you buy cheap products on the front end, you’ll spend a lot of time and money on maintenance and repairs on the back end. If, on the other hand, you pay for quality products and materials the first time around, you’ll spend fewer resources maintaining them over their lifetime.
It can be difficult to spend a lot of money on one item when there’s a “comparable” alternative that’s significantly cheaper. But any time you find yourself in one of these dilemmas, do your research and look at the cost of ownership. You’ll usually find that the more expensive option is actually cheaper when you take all things into account.
Let Green Residential Help You
At Green Residential, we understand the desire to be as hands-off as possible. Whether you’re buying, selling, or managing a rental property, it’s our goal to save you time, effort, and money by streamlining the process as much as possible. For additional information on how we can help you achieve your real estate goals, please contact us today!