A Stitch in Time

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By Arch Verna Mbabazi, Principal Architect – Evolution Edge

There is nothing as fascinating as moving into a new home or completing a house ready to rent out. Everything is new, bright and clean. The construction phase is over and the maintenance phase begins. Maintenance is the stitch in time that saves nine.

The truth is, home maintenance requires time and labor. This applies to homeowners as well as landlords and yes, mortgage bankers. This is the most expensive household asset we are talking about. We take our cars for routine service – set up a routine service schedule for the home you live in, the houses and apartments you let out or hold a mortgage over.

Interestingly, one of the architect’s roles is to prepare a maintenance manual. If you have fully engaged an architect up to contract administration stage, insist on a maintenance manual. But in case you do not have a manual, create your own to-do list of maintenance tasks that need to be carried out periodically – either every weekend, monthly, quarterly or annually. Here are a few ideas you can consider. The frequency of carrying out these tasks can be determined case by case.

Walk around the house and property. Check trees for interference with services, for dead branches that can pose a safety problem and trim them off. Take note of cracks and peeling paint on the façade. Inspect the roof for damage, clear out rainwater gutters and ensure that the surface run-off channels are clear and water does not pool in areas. Fix whatever needs fixing. Give the house a bath and after a time a repaint job may be necessary.

Carry out deep cleaning of the interior. This includes appliances, windows and walls, dusting every nook, cleaning and clearing out closets and cabinets, and so on. This can be carried out quarterly. A thorough deep cleaning checklist can be sourced from http://cornerstoneconfessions.com

Repair grout in the kitchen and bathroom tiling. Inspect plumbing for leaks and drainage for blockage. Toilet cisterns leaks can be traced by adding food color into the cistern and checking the bowl for color after fifteen minutes. Flush toilets in unused spaces like the guest rooms.

Test electricity circuits and appliances. This includes sockets and extensions.

Repair damaged window and door handles and locks.

Ensure smooth running of garbage disposal.

The outdoors need care as well. Rake leaves, weed and mulch flowerbeds, trim the hedges, mow the lawns, water the plants and ensure that the sprinkler system is efficient.

Take care of bugs and pests that have made your home their home.

The list can be long and seemingly endless, but not all is grit and grime. Line up some home improvement projects as well – paint a few rooms, refit your bathroom or kitchen, add scenic outdoor spaces – and have fun doing so.

In the end, the difference between a well-maintained house and a dilapidated identical house is in the millions of shillings. Restoration of a dilapidated house will be much more expensive – nine stitches and much more.

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