Inflation is driving up costs, including for home improvement materials. Many homeowners are less comfortable making large purchases and may be delaying projects.
But delaying necessary maintenance can cause damage and lead to expensive repair bills later on. Property managers should be prepared for high inflation, renegotiating insurance coverage and prioritizing structural maintenance over cosmetic work.
As property owners struggle with a labor shortage, increasing material prices are making it harder for them to perform home maintenance activities. This includes replacing or repairing appliances.
According to a recent survey, two in five homeowners say price increases and inflation have kept them from completing their planned home improvement projects. That number was even higher among older homes.
Property owners can prepare for rising maintenance costs by purchasing quality materials with long lifespans. This may increase upfront costs, but it can reduce costs over time. For example, a repainting project that calls for high-quality paint that is expected to last 7 to 10 years might cost more than one using cheaper paint that will only last 5 to 7.
While it is unlikely prices will return to pre-pandemic levels, property managers should plan accordingly. This is especially important for structural maintenance tasks that protect buildings from long-term damage, such as roof repairs. Delaying these expenses could lead to further damage and significantly higher repair costs down the line.
Many homeowners rely on professionals to take care of their homes. This has led to a labor shortage as experienced tradespeople retire or move on to other jobs, and increased demand has driven prices higher.
While these increases are not as high as they were in early days of the pandemic, prices remain elevated. With the shutdown of ports, increased demand for materials and decreased supply due to the pandemic, it is unlikely that these prices will decline soon.
As a result, property managers must plan accordingly for rising maintenance costs. With limited budgets, they need to prioritize maintenance needs based on their long term impact on the building’s structural integrity and safety. For example, replacing a roof that is at risk of leaking should take priority over repainting common areas. This approach will help ensure that the property’s assets are adequately maintained even in a time of record inflation.
In addition to construction materials prices, property managers must also keep in mind that the costs of home maintenance are increasing. This means that HOAs can expect increased fees from vendors for services like landscaping, security, and even insurance.
As material prices return to Earth, supply chains stabilize, and COVID-19 wanes, many of these barriers to project completion will disappear. As a result, we may see a resurgence in the types of projects that homeowners want to complete.
Considering these trends, it’s important for homeowners to think about their budgets for home improvement and maintenance needs. It’s unlikely that property management fees will decrease significantly, so it is important to prioritize structural maintenance projects that protect the building from long-term damage versus cosmetic projects that do not. This will help minimize the impact of rising maintenance costs. In addition, homeowners should consider partnering with local contractors to find ways to cut costs on labor. They can also consider a contractor that offers multiple pricing options for their services to accommodate homeowners’ budgets.
Insurance and warranty
What does a home warranty cover? Homeowners can often mitigate the impact of inflation on their major maintenance expenses by utilizing services that have been around for a while to cover repairs and replacement costs for appliances that break down over time. The service provider can handle all of the necessary research and paperwork, and homeowners can rest easy knowing that they will not be stuck with a large repair bill when something goes wrong with their appliances.
Even with these efforts, three in five homeowners report that they had to pay for unexpected home repairs over the past year, with their out-of-pocket costs averaging nearly $4,000. And two-in-five say inflation and price increases have kept them from doing planned home maintenance or improvement projects. The problem with delaying such important work is that it can cause even more damage, and it may also impact a homeowner’s insurance claim.