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Spend now, benefit later: How home maintenance can put money back in your wallet

People have been spending thousands of dollars over asking cost to land their dream homes. But did you know it’s thousands of dollars more to keep it maintained?

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The last two years have seen a record-high surge in people looking to buy their first home; however, house hunting, down payments, and closing costs are just the beginning of the journey, as keeping your home maintained is the next process homeowners have to worry about.

“When the results of our national survey came back this year, what we saw was overwhelmingly homeowners are feeling like maintaining their homes is sort of like having a second job," David Steckel, a home care expert with Thumbtack, said. "And when it comes to new homeowners, the majority of them didn't really know where to start, and what this is doing is causing a lot of stress for all homeowners." 

Steckel said many homeowners underestimate the time, effort and costs associated with maintaining the property when they purchase a house. He said the cost to maintain a home is thousands of dollars per year. 

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"The national average required to maintain a home is about $5,000," Steckel said. "And this includes HVAC maintenance, lawn care, window cleaning, etc. and some repairs." 

The good news is Charlotte is a little below the national average at $4,200 a year. Steckel said while it's a lot to spend now, taking care of those needs will benefit you in the long run. 

"A well-maintained home is actually going to sell for 10% more than a similar home in average condition," he said. "So in a market like yours, this increase is going to translate to $34,000, approximately, at sale time." 

WCNC Charlotte is always asking "where's the money?" If you need help, reach out to WCNC Charlotte by emailing money@wcnc.com.

So how can you get started? Take baby steps, don't worry about the long list. Just take it one job at a time, starting with seasonal maintenance. 

"With summer, most people want to get as much use of their outdoor space as possible, so I'd focus on the to-do's around the exterior," Steckel said. "Your window cleaning, making sure your landscaping is fresh and pristine power washing. It's also going to get hot, and you want to make sure your AC is working well before the really hot days." 

Steckel says adding more functionality to your home is going to make it more valuable. 

"Think outdoor kitchens, having exterior sound systems and lighting, and just making a beautiful hosting space in your exterior will always bring more buyers to the home," he explained. 

Steckel says Thumbtack recently created a home care plan that gives customers a manual to homeownership. 

"As soon as you download the app, it's going to create a custom seasonal maintenance plan for you and your home based on geography," Steckel said. 

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WCNC Charlotte is committed to reporting on the issues facing the communities we serve. We tell the stories of people working to solve persistent social problems. We examine how problems can be solved or addressed to improve the quality of life and make a positive difference. WCNC Charlotte is seeking solutions for you. Send your tips or questions to newstips@wcnc.com.

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