Home ownership rates tend to fluctuate, but in 2016, the percentage of Americans who owned their home declined to its lowest rate since the 1960s. Weirdly, though, the news was more good than bad in some ways, because the people who do own homes now have more equity in those homes than they did a few years after the new millennium, also known as the period right before the housing crash and the Great Recession. So home ownership is less common but more stable. Homeowners can’t just depend on their local housing markets to do all the work, though. There are concrete steps you can and should take to make sure your home at least maintains the same value it had on the day you bought it.
How much money should you set aside for home maintenance? There’s no hard and fast rule. One rule says that you should take one percent of your home’s value per year and set it aside, while another rule suggests homeowners budget one dollar per square foot annually. Those are just rough estimates, though. If there’s serious work that needs to be done on your home, then plan on spending more less year. Hopefully, though, a heavy repair year will be followed by one where only very light work is needed. Taking action and repairing the foundation of your house isn’t cheap, but at least it’s not something that should have to be done frequently. If it is, then you have way bigger issues. So many factors can affect the foundation of your house, including things like the age of the structure and the type of soil that surrounds it. Bad construction work when the house was built decades ago could lead to a wobbly foundation in the present day.
It’s frustrating to discovers issues with your dream home, especially if those issues weren’t apparent at the time you purchased the house. It may have been a deliberate act of subterfuge on the part of the seller, but there’s also a decent chance that they just didn’t know every single detail about the house. That’s especially likely if the previous owners didn’t live there very long.
No two houses are exactly alike, even if they were built using the same floor plan. Prospective homeowners in the Midwest are usually interested in a place with a finished basement, while homeowners in the South barely think about basements. Why? Because the closer you get to the coast, the less likely it is that the soil will even allow for a basement to be constructed.
Similarly, homeowners in the West have to worry about wildfire season, while homeowners in North Carolina are probably more concerned with hurricane season. In places like California, the 2017 wildfire season was one of the worst on record. The effects were felt even in the homes that were spared a direct hit. The impact of wildfire-related particulates on homes is a major concern in parts of the country where the sky is orange for weeks on end. All that soot and ash can build up and cause damage. For most Westerners, the thread of wildfires isn’t enough to make them move, but it’s something to consider. At the beginning of each wildfire season, homeowners learn how to prepare themselves for the worst even as they hope for the best.