Scheduled Home Maintenance

My car tells me when it needs to be serviced and won’t leave me alone until it gets it. My house on the other hand just sits there. If I ignore it moss grows on the roof, the gutters clog and deferred maintenance starts to build up.

In the last two weeks I’ve received information from two general contractors offering scheduled maintenance twice a year starting at $250 per visit. As remodeling has slowed down they are looking for other avenues of business. I like the idea. It’s stuff I know needs to be done but don’t always get to (note to self: take Christmas lights down (they look tacky)).

The visit will include:

Clean your gutters and downspouts
Check your roof and apply moss treatment, if needed
Check your siding and trim for paint and caulking failure
Check your windows and doors for caulking failure
Check your attic for mildew and ventilation issues
Check you crawlspace for water intrusion, downed heat ducts, animal intrusions
Check you bathrooms, utility room, and kitchen for caulking failure, plumbing issues
Check your smoke alarms and furnace filter
Check foundation vent screens
Check windows for thermo-seal damage
Provide you with a free estimate on anything we find that may cause future problems

The last line pretty much guarantees that you are going to get a list of potential items but wouldn’t it be better to know? It might make a good landlord program too.

4 Comments on “Scheduled Home Maintenance

  1. The first thing that came to mind when I read this was the time I went to Jiffy Lube and a kid tried to sell me synthetic oil because he claimed my oil pan was “bone dry” and that Honda’s “tend to run hot”. Never mind that it was a brand new car with 1,000 miles on it. Just like Jiffy Lube makes money off the air filters and fuel injector cleaning, these companies need to sell something extra to make it worth their while. That being said, I’d love to have a TRUSTWORTHY contractor inspect my house top to bottom with the incentive to find problems.

    This service is even more worth while for landlords. Your tennant may not bother to tell you about a water leak if he doesn’t want you to know he has three dogs peeing on the floor too. Better to have a regularly scheduled inspection to find problems that only an interested party would care about. I’m not a lawyer, but the documented regular inspection could be a good defense to prevent punitive damages if you find yourself being sued after a chimney fire or a roof caving in.

  2. MarketTimer-

    Using the Synthetic oil as an example, there is always some sort of cost-benefit. The synthetic oil I use is one of the higher-priced, yet the cost might be worth the benefit. If Honda’s really do have an oil cooling issue, then synthetic is the only way to go, in my opinion, but if you don’t plan to own the car long, then the added cost might not be worth the benefit.

    I drove a guy’s car, and I pointed out the MIL was inoperative. He didn’t care until he failed the mandatory emissions inspection. How important is that light bulb? At one point in time it didn’t matter to him, but a couple of months later when he learned he could not register the vehicle, it was an emergency, at least to him. (Note how I provided exactly the same information as the state did, but he wanted something from them that they were not willing to give.)

    In part this gets to the value of a pre-purchase home inspection: What’s the added value?

  3. To clarify JP, the kid at Jiffy Lube was trying to rip me off. Any honest mechanic (technician?) that pulled a drain plug and found an oil pan that was “bone dry” would be more concerned about the problem than just selling synthetic oil. Is the car still operable? In my case, a car with 1,000 miles, if there was no oil (which there really was, he was lying) it would have been a manufacturing defect (did it ever even have oil in it from the factory?)

    The point I was making was to look for more than the coupon guy that wants to sell you duct cleaning when considering scheduled maintenance. You need someone who is honest and actually know enough to find REAL problems instead of making them up and selling standard add-ons.

  4. Oh, I actually was happy when my oil pan was “bone dry!!!” I guess it depends on whether you think it’s the inside or the outside that’s being talked about. In my case I took it to be the outside, and a good thing, but in your case you took it to be the inside, which does seem absurd.

    In any event, he was ultimately trying to sell a higher grade product for a higher price.

    Let me say this: I had a friend who NEVER changed his oil–not once. Well, he did add oil if needed, so a given motor might get some fresh oil from time-to-time. In addition he ran straight 30 weight in a cold climate. Why? He knew the body would not outlast the motor, and he was right. He would consider synthetic to be a total rip-off. This is the ultimate in financial analysis–when is it time to repair or replace. In his case, he simply replaced his junk vehicle with another junk vehicle, so oil changes were not valued. Brakes fully were maintained, on the other hand.

    I laugh at myself, a little, as the oil I use is about $10 per quart. My drain oil is better than what some people use on a daily basis. I am probably a sucker, but the vehicle sure does look good on the inside (and the outside too, as the oil pan is bone dry). (FYI I use Amsoil 2000 series (0W30)) I think I really am a sucker for quality synthetic oil.

    All of that being said, I fully recognize that those instant oil change places seem to be full of crooks, and I am sure the same could be said in home repair/home inspection.

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