According to Wikipedia, DEFERRED MAINTENANCE is the practice of postponing maintenance activities such as repairs on both real property (i.e. infrastructure) and personal property (i.e. machinery) in order to save costs, meet budget funding levels, or realign available budget monies. The failure to perform needed repairs could lead to asset deterioration and ultimately asset impairment. Generally, a policy of continued deferred maintenance may result in higher costs, asset failure, and in some cases, health and safety implications.
As a Realtor, I see this all the time with properties that I'm getting ready to list. It's those list of things that "you've been meaning to get to, but never did." There are several problems with deferred maintenance.
First of all, deferred maintenance can end up costing you more money. Example, You've been "meaning to" clean the leaves out of the gutter. But each time it rains, and we've had a lot of rain lately, you watch from you window as the water spills over the gutters because the gutters are clogged with leaves. What seems like an innocent thing that you'll eventually get around to ends up being more expensive than you had expected. Now the eaves of your house are suffering from dry rot because of the water over flowing on to the eaves. Over time, that causes the wood to rot and become unstable. Not only it is unsightly, it's not safe. So instead of simply cleaning out your gutters, now you have to replace sections of your eaves.
Secondly, by deferring maintenance of your property, you don't get to enjoy the benefits of the repair. I've listed so many "I've been meaning to do that" homes where, for example, your kitchen vinyl floor is ripped and outdated. "Let's put in a beautiful new tile floor", you say. It looks outstanding! "Why didn't we do this before?" I hear it all the time. You don't get much of a chance to enjoy it. You say it wasn't in the budget? Well in order to sell your house, it has to be in the budget now.
Thirdly, if you go into a contract on your house to sell, 9 times out of 10, the Buyer will hire a professional home inspector to inspect your property - from the attic to the basement - everything from electrical, plumbing, structural, roof, etc. (not cosmetic). Now the Buyer is requesting a long list of repairs to be made and they want you to hire a licensed plumber or a licensed electrician to make some of those repairs. Cha-ching! $$$$$ That gets very expensive. Why not take care of them before this happens. Maybe you will have to hire a plumber, etc. or maybe you could have fixed them yourself if you're a handy person. Also, by having a long list of repairs, the Buyers start to become uncomfortable with the idea of buying your home because it would appear you haven't taken care of it.
Don't put off for tomorrow what can be done today. Something as easy as cleaning out the bathroom fan can cause your fan to run more efficiently and keep the fan from burning out....not to mention it looks so much better and more sanitary! Start making your list today. Walk your property and write down the things that "you've been meaning to get to" and get started. Check them off one by one. Not only will YOU feel better, but when it's time to sell your house, you'll be ready!