Is it time for a tune-up? Train your clients in home maintenance

Preventative measures are critical
  • A tune-up is not something we often associate with the home, but maybe it should be.
  • A home is an even bigger investment than a car, so keeping it tuned up is even more critical.
  • Nothing is better than hard numbers if you want to demonstrate the cost effectiveness of preventative maintenance.

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For most of us, the phrase “tune-up” immediately brings up images of a vehicle being serviced  — maybe it’s up on a lift with a professional is wielding socket wrenches and lubricating parts.

The phrase is also closely related to music, and when musicians tune up they’re making small adjustments for optimum performance, much like the mechanic.

A tune-up is not something we often associate with the home, but maybe it should be. After all, the definition sounds like it fits: “To adjust for proper functioning; to bring into harmony or agreement.”

We’d all like for our home to be a harmonious place where everything is functioning properly. Even though the name isn’t specifically used, a tune-up for your home is a terrific idea.

Home harmony

As real estate agents, you know this. Homes and the things that make them work are at the center of our lives on a daily basis. You’ve seen the consequences of neglecting home maintenance repeatedly and first-hand.

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We know that regular maintenance can add to the value of a home tremendously and make it a safer and more enjoyable place to live. It’s also a much more cost-effective approach than repairing after the fact.

Something as simple and inexpensive as regularly replacing HVAC filters can keep costly systems running years longer — and more efficiently to boot.

Sharing the benefits

The trouble is, many of your clients aren’t aware of the benefits of regular maintenance, for a variety of reasons. First-time homeowners, in particular, might not be familiar with the workings of a house.

They might have never owned a clothes dryer, let alone know how to keep the vent clear to avoid fires.

Modern life is full and busy. Your clients might not feel that it’s worth their time to keep up with routine maintenance. They might ignore it until something goes wrong. This can be disastrous. It results in higher costs and has a very negative effect on the whole “harmonious” atmosphere that we’re going for.

4 tips for helping homeowners understand the value of home maintenance 

So, as a professional who hates to see your clients’ lives disrupted by unexpected problems with their home, what can you do to convince them that a “tune-up” for their house is important and something that they can take care of relatively easily?

Here are four ways real estate agents can help homeowners understand the value of regular home maintenance.

1. Four wheels = four walls

Even if your client is a first-timer, they likely own a car and understand preventative maintenance from that point of view.

Use that knowledge to impress upon them the wisdom of tuning up their home to avoid bigger problems down the road (pun intended). Their home is an even bigger investment than their car, so keeping it tuned up is even more critical.

2. Price the alternative

Nothing is better than hard numbers if you want to demonstrate the cost effectiveness of preventative maintenance. Make it clear to your client by sharing a cost comparison of prevention versus repair or replacement.

Many maintenance tasks, like draining and flushing a water heater tank, are very inexpensive or even free, but replacing appliances or systems that fail due to neglect can be very pricey.

3. Sell the value

Whatever their situation, most of your clients assume that they will eventually be selling their home. Good maintenance practices can increase the home’s value and make it easier to keep the property in top-notch condition.

The Remodeling’s annual Cost vs. Value survey is a good source of information on what sort of return homeowners can expect on the cost of different upgrades and improvements to their home.

4. Preach the options

For many new homeowners, the desire to do a good job maintaining that investment is there, but life has other ideas. Modern life is very demanding, and busy professionals and time-strapped parents might tend to put home maintenance on a back burner.

There are only so many hours in the day, as you well know, and people want to be able to enjoy their homes, not spend all their time there on maintenance.

Even if they don’t do the work themselves, just being aware of what needs to be done and how often can require some investigation, and then there’s the job of finding a reliable plumber, electrician or other help. But it will save lots of pain later if your clients tune-up their homes regularly.

Shannon Bloemker is the CEO and founder of Glasshouse. Follow her onTwitter

Email Shannon Bloemker.