Across the country, many houses that once decorated neighbourhoods where they are located are now in ruins. While many conclude that the houses fell to ruins because their owners have either passed away or ventured upon a spell of misfortune, experts believe that a poor maintenance culture plays a huge part.
According to them, many homeowners and tenants fail to realise that just like they need to go for routine check-ups so also do their homes need regular inspection.
They stress that not only is a poorly maintained house a source of embarrassment to the owners, it is also hazardous. The experts, who admit that some people are put off by the belief that home maintenance is rather expensive, observe that with careful planning, the process can be fun and affordable.
A matter of size
The size of your home plays a huge part in determining the cost of maintaining that home. It is in this area that many homeowners make the first mistake.
A former National President of the Nigerian Institute of Town Planners, Olubunmi Ajayi, says many people live in huge houses they do not need, stressing that maintaining such homes is often a challenge.
Ajayi says it is important that people do not only go for homes they can afford, but also for homes that fit their needs.
Experts say the larger the house, the more the cost of maintenance and the more the chances that parts of the house will fall into ruins, especially huge houses were many rooms are left uninhibited.
Carry out regular inspection
By inspecting your house regularly, experts say you will be able to spot problems immediately they spring up. They however, stress that the inspections will be useless, if you do not fix the problems spotted right away as they will worsen and cost more to fix, making it difficult for you to maintain the house.
In this regard they say it is important for you to have a tool kit in the house as some of the problems do not require the attention of a specialist and can be fixed with little or no guidance from a how-to-do-it book. Tools like hammers, pliers, screw drivers and nails are handy in the home. It is, however, important for you not to overestimate your capabilities, and request professional help when necessary.
Maintaining the exterior
In maintaining the exterior of your house, experts say the kind of paint you use should guide you in scheduling a date for a repaint job. If you have opted for tiles, then it is important you watch out for loose tiles as failure to replace one loose tile can pave way for others to fall off.
If there are trees close to the house, it is advised that you should ensure that their branches do not rest on parts of the building or on the roof.
Also, ensure that there is a proper drainage around your home, where you home is fenced and there are no drains, you are putting your house at risk and making it susceptible to flooding.
If there is space around the house, experts say you could do some landscaping. This, they explain is not as expensive as it may appear. They add that with a little help from friends, not only can you do it yourself, if could be fun.
Save some energy
When it comes to lighting for your home, experts advise that you replace traditional bulbs with fluorescent light bulbs. According to them, high energy bulbs or traditional bulbs do not only consume more electricity, they also have the tendency to leave burn marks on the ceiling or walls (close to them), increasing the need for you to repaint your home.
In the era of prepaid metres, experts say using fluorescent light bulbs can save a lot of costs, especially on electricity bills. Also, if you use a generator, fluorescent light bulbs, you will be better off with low energy-consuming light bulbs.
Keep the interior organised
There should be a place for everything in the house and it is important that everything is kept in its place, particularly in the kitchen. This will create a more functional and more manageable home. While this may sound like it has nothing to do with maintaining the home, experts say it has a lot to do with it. They note that many houses have been razed just because a lighted candle was kept out of place. Imagine spilling a gallon of palm oil over your remodelled kitchen.
It is also advised that you avoid accumulating clutter in the house. Discard items that are no longer relevant. Accumulating clutter does not only make proper ventilation a challenge, it also attracts rats, cockroaches and the likes.
With the irregular power supple in the country, experts say there is need to protect your electronic appliance by using stabilisers or a UPS. When it comes to furniture, they advise that you avoid getting to attached to them. According to them, such an attachment may prevent you from discarding furniture at the appropriate time, forcing you to face undue cost in maintaining them. They say by setting a life span for certain items, you can sell them off, add a little cost and get better ones, instead of allowing them to breakdown completely, which will prevent you from getting a dime for them.
In terms of attachment to property, Ajayi says this is the reason, why many Nigerians struggle to maintain big houses even when they have no need for them.
“When a white man’s children leave the house, he sells the house and moves to an apartment building; not even buys a new house. But here, we are so attached to land and buildings that we don’t let go,” he said.
Do not do it all at once
One of the biggest mistake homeowners make when it comes to maintenance is that they want to do it all at once. Experts say while this approach may be appealing aesthetically, it has the tendency to put a lot of financial pressure on the owner, and when the expected income for the remodelling does not show up, the cost of putting the house in shape may double in no time at all.
To maintain the house without feeling a huge financial pressure, they say a homeowner is better off fixing one thing at a time; replacing appliances in the house at intervals. They also note that while appliances like washing machines, vacuum cleaners and the likes may cost a lot, they save a lot of money in the long run as they make the process of keeping the home organised and in shape easier.