By Nina Doiron
According to Statistics Canada, more than one-third of Canadian households own a home. As housing affordability continues to be a hot topic, it goes without saying that those of us who are fortunate enough to do so are proud of our investment. For the majority of us, our home is our largest financial asset.
Due to the soaring cost over the past decade, more than one-quarter of households spend more than 30 per cent of their total combined income on shelter alone.
As I write this, there’s an extreme cold warning with wind chill values between -35 and -30 expected overnight. Last night, there was a power outage in my neighbourhood from 10 p.m. to 1:30 a.m. and the wind chill value was measured at -36. That’s extremely cold. I was thankful that my family were all snug and cosy inside.
Our home protects us in so many ways. From the blazing heat of the summer, to the torrential downpour of the rainy spring season to the freezing cold conditions of the winter months, it keeps our loved ones safe and allows us to entertain friends and family with pride.
Given these statistics and the privilege of home ownership, it saddens me to see the severe neglect some homes have faced. Just like our bodies, our homes need regular maintenance and care to keep them well. Everything ages and deteriorates over time, and our homes are no different.
I have seen homes that feel unsafe to enter because the roof is caving in and the floors bounce. Evidence of moisture build-up can be seen on the walls and floors. As a professional home stager and organizer, I have seen homes in vastly different condition, and those that are neglected really leave me scratching my head. Why do people let their most important asset, the place that shelters them, fall into such disrepair?
People should treat home maintenance the way they treat their personal health. If you are sick, you go to the doctor to try and resolve the problem. Your home can get sick sometimes too and it needs regular check-ups too. Here are a few recommendations to keep it at optimal health and to help it retain its value:
- If something is broken, fix it right away. The longer you delay it, the worse it will get and the costlier the repair will become.
- Make the time to give your home a thorough check-up at least twice a year, particularly before the first frost and after the winter thaw to avoid any major issues such as water line breakages and leaky roofs.
- If you have an older house and some things are no longer up to code, plan to address those concerns, even if you can only tackle them one at a time. This isn’t just about your house – it ensures the health and safety of your loved ones.
- For more costly maintenance projects such as roofs, windows and driveways, affordability is an issue. Start up a savings plan. It can be as simple as $5 a week. Instead of asking for another trinket or toy for birthdays and holidays, opt for cash that you can put toward home maintenance.
- Just like a new outfit or accessory can make you feel great, think of how a new coat of paint will enhance your home. Paint is an inexpensive update but gives your home renewed freshness.
- Keeping your home clean and orderly allows you to see any problems and ensure that everything is alright.
Your home protects you, so you should protect it too and help it continue to grow in value.