I know my husband loves that funky, sweaty baseball hat, but please, there comes a time when man and hat must part company and I think we've reached that moment. (This feels a lot like when my kids had to say good-bye to their binkies, but didn't do so without a a fight.) The truth is that no matter how well loved or attached we are to our "security blankets," it's important to recognize when to let them go . . .
Of course, I realize that the battle over this hat actually stems from our disparate perceptions: my desire to purge what I perceive as old and worn, battling against Cliff's nostalgia for the memories his hat invokes. But from where I sit, that cap is well past its prime and ready for the GARBAGE HEAP! (I'm certain that even The Salvation Army would reject it, as well they should.) Of course, that's just my opinion . . .
"Are you kidding me? It's just getting good!" Cliff argues whenever pressed on the subject. "I've finally broken it in."
Broken in, or broken down? With all due respect honey, you're delusional. That hat passed "good" several years ago; it's actually way past"kinda disgusting." In fact, you're now in the realm of "maybe we should seek professional help" territory. (Never mind that Cliff probably has at least another 20 or 30 baseball caps that he could easily wear instead, and any one of them would avoid making him appear homeless and destitute.)
On the heels of last week's article, where I suggested we all seek"professional help" as it pertains to our homes, I'm going to give you a homework assignment and ask you to begin to notice what others unfavorably might were they guests for the weekend - then make a list!
What have you stopped seeing? What do you walk by every day and think,"Gee, maybe I should fix that." (Maybe you should.) What are the chores that are long overdue? Because even if you've grown accustomed to the stains in the carpet or the front door that requires a good swift swing of the hips to open it, your Buyers will certainly take note come time to sell.
The broken dishwasher, the leaky faucet, the overgrown trees (this one almost everyone is guilty of) and the drain that hasn't worked correctly since the tub was installed (okay, that one is just pissing me off) are all but forgotten as our busy lives unfold. How about the burned-out porch light bulbs, the loose shower handles, or the tub that needs regrouting? And let's not forget the batteries in your smoke and Co detectors! (That one is a safety issue so if you do nothing else, attend to it.) I've spent entire weekends nagging my husband to get out a ladder, often to little avail.
As homeowners, we've all got these sorts of annoying tasks staring us in the face that we've quite honestly, stopped noticing. When I look out at my neighbor's house next door, there are vines that have quite literally crept through the windows of their spare bedroom and are now growing inside.That's not good, but it's also easily correctable, as are most of the chores that begin to mount up around our homes and gardens.
Handyman/woman, husband, gardener, do-it-yourselfer, or a combination of all of the above, it's important to stay on top of these tasks that require a little elbow grease to the mission of keeping our single-largest asset . . . an ASSET!
Too often I arrive on the scene to discover that a minor problem has evolved into a major one (I'm just a Realtor, not a contractor, and certainly not a miracle worker. I can't turn back time.)
A leaking kitchen faucet - left unattended - can not only create mold and decay in the cabinet, but over time, can actually rot out the the joists that support the floor! Now that's a MUCH more expensive problem to address than a timely plumber would have been years, or even months, earlier.
How about rodent activity in the attic or basement? (Yuck.) The term "vermin" is defined by Webster's in the plural (for a reason!) A single sighting isn't likely to be an accurate representation, often quickly multiplying and nesting in your insulation. No, it isn't pretty when you discover what a family of rats or raccoons can, and do, leave behind, and the crew that arrives in Hazmat suits ain't exactly cheap either.
Let's talk about overflowing gutters which can lead to all sorts of problems that include dripping ceilings, water behind the walls, standing puddles next to the foundations, flooded basements, wet crawl spaces, and leaking windows and doors. Water damage leads to MAJOR issues, not minor ones. (For the record, these example aren't fictional, I've come across them all and many more!)
How much can one expect to spend on the maintenance of their properties on an annual basis?
According to Shannon Bloemker (Glasshouse.com founder and house maintenance guru), "You should expect to budget 1-3% of your home's value for maintenance on an annual basis, but that's far less than you will spend to correct major issues down the road." Her point being, that too few of us actually set aside funds for home maintenance. Instead, we wait for things to break and then replace them. That's the inefficient and more expensive way to go about it.
As for that damn hat? For the sake of home and harmony, maybe I'll concede to Cliff's love for his ratty chapeau. OR put another way, "Would you rather be right, or be happy?" (I'll choose happy.) Sure, it's unsightly, but it's NOT going to develop into much bigger issues in the months ahead (unless I toss it without his permission). On balance, Cliff is a low-maintenance guy and that's tough to argue with - it's also easy to love - even if he can't see that he's essentially wearing a rag on his head.
So look at your home with fresh eyes and show it a little love. You'll be well rewarded in the end and your Buyers will have far less to object to! (Oh, they'll still find something to be sure, but that's another essay for another day.)
How can I help you?
(For a complete list of my vendors, helpers and "go-to" peeps, please check out my website at juliegardner.com and click on "my team." I've personally used everyone on the list. You'll be in excellent hands.
Julie Gardner, has been writing The Perspective for 17 years and has published more than 650 essays. She is also a frequent contributor to the Sound Off column in the Real Estate section of The San Francisco Chronicle.