UT Reader Asks: How Much Time Do Home Repairs Eat Up?

by Shilpi Paul

UT Reader Asks: How Much Time Do Home Repairs Eat Up?: Figure 1

In this installment of UrbanTurf Reader Asks, a reader is trying to figure out just how much time home owners spend on maintenance and upkeep.

"My husband and I are in the market for a two-bedroom condo and are weighing the pros and cons of new construction versus old. We like the look and charm of older units, but the ready-to-go condition of a new unit is appealing. We don't want to spend our limited free time replacing HVAC systems, changing out appliances and communicating with contractors. We are also thinking of renting out the condo in a couple years, making it that much more important to get a place that doesn't need constant upkeep. But, we are willing to spend some time on it -- we really just have no idea how many hours people spend on upkeep of older homes. Five hours a month is very different than 30.

So our question to UrbanTurf readers is: How much time, on average, do you spend fixing and maintaining your home every month?

Post your thoughts in the comments section. If you would like to submit a question for UrbanTurf Reader Asks, send an email to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

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This article originally published at http://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/urbanturf_reader_asks_how_much_time_do_home_repairs_eat_up/5616


  1. Sarah said at 12:55 pm on Tuesday June 5, 2012:
    I own a condo in an old row house and (knock on wood) have had to do little in the way of weekly/monthly maintenance. That said, I have had to plug up holes here and there where some pests get in and the building has needed roof and gutter work over the past six months. But thats why your building has reserves.
  1. Lis said at 1:18 pm on Tuesday June 5, 2012:
    Remember the adage that old construction has old problems, new construction has new problems. Thoroughly vet the new construction, have your realtor talk to other realtors who bought properties done by the builders, etc. You may discover that some older places are more solidly built than newer ones.
  1. C2it said at 4:14 pm on Tuesday June 5, 2012:
    I owned a condo in a building of about 50 units, and all of the repairs I made to our unit were very manageable. The building had been renovated about five years before our move-in. If you're looking to reduce time spent on maintenance, you may want to consider a larger building that has a strong board, management company and reserves. I suspect two or three unit dwelling are a different story, because the individual owners need to participate more in maintaining the common areas. A condo does require fewer repairs than a rowhouse as you usually are just responsible for things internal to the unit, but even then, you'll find that one month you'll have repairs that require considerable investment of time and money followed by months or more of nothing. In making your decision, I would consider the overall quality of the building and the strength of its reserves, as well as the costs you would incur immediately to make the unit feel like home.
  1. Homeowner said at 5:11 pm on Tuesday June 5, 2012:
    That is an interesting question. It's immediately apparent to me that you're a first time buyer. After my husband and I bought our (120 year old row) home, we didn't worry about counting every hour or penny spent on repairs or improvements to it. It's the biggest investment we've ever made, and we're proud of it! We want it to be as clean and comfortable as possible, so sure, some weekends we do lots and lots of house stuff. Other weekends, we don't. Every once in awhile, we have to take time off of work to have a contractor come over for a project. Everyone will give you a different answer about how much time should be spent maintaining a home. In fact, lots of repairs don't need to be addressed immediately-- so really this is a very personal question. Think about your level of interest in owning v. renting a home and how particular you are about the quality and appearance of what you own now. That may give you a better answer, because the truth is you could spend one weekend day every three months or almost all of your free time working on your house.
  1. Connie Carter/Washington Fine Properties said at 10:39 pm on Tuesday June 5, 2012:
    This is an important issue and it comes down to doing good due diligence before closing on the purchase. Whether it is a house or a condo, the inspection is an important process so you can understand every aspect of the home your are buying. In addition, the condo or coop documents that you are entitled to read is a great source of information on how well (or poorly) the condo is managed, as well as what sort of repairs they have had over the years. As a realtor, I believe the ability to walk away from a deal if we discover the building is not what my client thought is an important feature in the condo and coop negotiation. As a homeowner, I bought a mid century modern house in 2004 that needed to be totally gutted and was completed in a year. In 2009, I put an addition on my house so I could enclose a courtyard, as well as add a floor with a home office and a deck with a green roof. It looks amazing, and I love living here all the more. While much of my house is brand new, other aspects still require annual maintenance like having the chimney cleaned, cleaning the air ducts, making sure the gutters and downspouts are clear, washing the windows, etc. Ultimately this issue of how willing you are to pay attention to your home is a big factor in renting versus buying.

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