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man cleaning out gutters

3 Home Maintenance Items I Refuse to Do Myself


May 26, 2020 by Maurie Backman

Any homeowner will tell you that maintenance and repairs can be just as expensive as paying a mortgage, if not more so. In fact, it's said that home maintenance can cost anywhere from 1% to 4% of a home's value, so with a $300,000 property, you're looking at $3,000 to $12,000 a year on upkeep alone.

It's for this reason that many homeowners opt to do much of their own maintenance rather than pay a premium to bring in professionals. And my husband and I are in a similar camp for the most part. There are plenty of home maintenance tasks we do ourselves, from staining our wooden deck before the summer to doing our own yard cleanouts toward the end of fall. We also do our share of repairs -- things like fixing leaky faucets or repairing loose shelving.

But there are certain maintenance tasks that I downright refuse to do -- and for good reason.

1. Gutter cleaning

One thing I love about my home is its height. Our two-story living room has fabulous high ceilings that make our interior look nice and spacious. But having a tall house means that accessing its gutters is a scary proposition, which is why I insist on using a gutter cleaning service. Is cleaning out gutters difficult? Not particularly. But not only am I too scared to get up on such a high ladder, I'm terrified to be the one to even hold the ladder while my husband does the work, and so in this case, throwing money at the problem makes a lot of sense.

2. Tree trimming

The one time my husband and I tried to remove our own tree, it was disastrous. Tree trimming isn't as difficult, but it's still something I'm not comfortable doing or assisting with. Branches can be heavier than anticipated and can fall unpredictably, and so I'd rather leave that work to the professionals -- even if it means spending some money.

3. Pressure-washing

Pressure-washing, in my book, is neither dangerous nor particularly difficult. The reason I won't do it myself? It's time-consuming, and hiring a professional isn't particularly costly. In the time it takes to drive over to a hardware store, rent a pressure washer, haul it back home, clean our deck and siding, and then return that tool to the store, I could instead pay someone under $150 to come do that work while I do my work. As a freelance writer, the more I work, the more I get paid, so tasks that are easy but time-consuming are often worth outsourcing.

If my husband and I were to call in a professional for every single maintenance or repair item that pops up during the year, we'd spend a small fortune. That's why we're judicious about bringing in help. But when it comes to work that's either unsafe or particularly time-consuming, we tend to bust out our wallets instead of putting ourselves through a potentially dangerous or painful experience. Of course, we make it a point to factor home maintenance into our budget so we can afford to go this route, but through the years, what we've paid for in outside help we've saved in stress.

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