The 1% Rule in Home Maintenance

Real Estate Agent with Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices

It's important for homebuyers to be reminded that all homes-old or new-need ongoing maintenance.

Consider the 1% rule. This rule postulates that normal maintenance on a Salt Lake City home is about 1% of the value of the home per year. For example, a $350,000 Draper home would require $3,500 per year to maintain. This would be enough to replace the roof covering. A few years later, replace the furnace...and then a few years more until a new central air system is required.

Then there is the 3% rule. Some experts say that home buyers should plan on spending 3% of the value of the home in the first year of ownership. A few items that new Utah homeowners will most likely have to buy are; drapes, blinds, a washer and dryer, a refrigerator, maybe even a new roof covering. Also, new homeowners often customize the environment to their taste, so they need to budget for repairs, replacements and maintenance.
In addition, most home components have fairly predictable life cycles. For example, the typical life cycle of a high-efficiency furnace is 15 to 20 years.

One way to know the extent of the maintenance needed and the costs to repair and/or replace items is to have a home inspection prior to purchase your new Sandy home. Home inspectors are required to let the buyer know if a component is significantly deficient or if it is near the end of its life cycle (service life), and a reputable home inspection company may offer up-to-date repair-cost guides to help clients with their planning.

Home inspectors work with Salt Lake City Realtors and buyers to help them understand the issues that are found in the home, regardless of age, offering the right perspective and objective information. Home buyers need to understand that it's normal for items in a home to wear out. This should be regarded as normal "wear and tear" and not necessarily a defect.

For example, consider a home inspection that uncovers that the heating system is old and requires replacement. A home buyer may see this as a huge problem. However, this problem may be the only item in the home that requires attention. If a buyer were to look at this situation in perspective, with this South Jordan home only needing a new furnace, it could be a well above average home.  There's a possibility that your Utah Realtor might be able to negotiate a contribution from the seller.

A good home inspection provides objective information to help the buyer make an informed decision. Knowing what items need to be budgeted for repair or replacement will help home buyers plan or negotiate better and not be stuck with unexpected costs of hundreds, or even thousands of dollars in the long run. Also, fixing these items will make a marked improvement on the performance of a home and minimize issues that could affect its future integrity...and value.


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Comments (4)

Beth Pover

It is amazing how much it costs to maintain a house but well worth it.  I loved owning

my home and knowing it was mine.

Apr 05, 2011 07:50 PM
Brett Butler
Linda Secrist and Associates (Prudential) - Draper, UT

Great Post. Reminds me of all the work I should get done around my home.

Apr 05, 2011 07:57 PM
Pam Jank
Coldwell Banker Schneidmiller Realty - Coeur d'Alene, ID
Your Coeur d'Alene & North Idaho Real Estate Pro

Linda, great post.  Many first time home buyers don't realize they need to put funds away to cover regular home maintenance.

Apr 05, 2011 08:14 PM
Linda Secrist
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices - Holladay, UT

It is difficult for most first time buyers to understand what it takes to maintain their home, especially in the first year.  Thanks for the comments everyone. 

Apr 06, 2011 03:40 AM