Cars, homes and major appliances don’t come with a book that tells you when it’s okay to wait on maintenance and repairs. This means judgement is required and it’s human nature to try to delay any large outlay of cash as long as possible. This may be because you’re trying to earn extra interest or you do not have it.
Mr. Boomer and I have experienced the cost of deferring maintenance both long term and short term in the past couple of years. Maybe our story will help you make the right decision.
Long Term Example
Drywood termites are native to California and a common problem. Mr. Boomer (who owned his home prior to our marriage) had never had termite inspections or treatments in 30 years. When we sold that house two years ago, we had to replace a lot of wood particularly in the attic and under the eaves.
The house was also tented for two days which required us to double bag all non-canned food and open personal items. Additionally, since the fumes are toxic to people and animals all of us including two cats and a dog had to stay elsewhere. Fortunately, family members took us in and we saved the expense of hotels.
Short Term Example
Earlier this year a rock flew up while I was driving and left a small star-shaped chip in the windshield. We had previously had windshield chips repaired on our other vehicle and planned to do with this car.
The mark was out of my normal vision and we soon forgot about it. A few months later when the weather warmed up I returned to my car to find a crack running extending off one side of the star and the next day it extended off the other side. The windshield now has to be replaced.
Consequences and Learnings
Both of these examples of not maintaining our property at the right time resulted in greater costs in terms of money, time and convenience. The home repairs and treatment cost $12,000.
Pest inspections every 10 years would probably have resulted in minor repairs and potentially local treatment instead of tenting. These steps would have conservatively saved us half the money ($6,000) and we could have avoided the double-bagging and moving out for two days.
The windshield (which I still haven’t replaced) will cost about $250 installed plus time to take the car in for the work. I could have had the star fixed at a drive through repair shop for less than $75 which would have saved us $175.
We have learned that deferring maintenance can result in higher costs and inconvenience. Hopefully the lesson will not be forgotten the next time. Have you experienced the pain of deferring maintenance?
Photo courtesy of Mike Mattfield