What is deferred maintenance? Deferred maintenance is the failure to perform routine maintenance on a property. This can be due to a lack of funds or the belief that the problem will go away on its own. Unfortunately, this often leads to bigger and more expensive problems down the road.

In this article, we will discuss deferred maintenance in detail and look at some examples of what can happen when it’s not addressed. We’ll also talk about how homeowners can prevent it from happening.

What Is Deferred Maintenance?

What Is Deferred Maintenance?

Deferred maintenance is when a property owner neglects to perform routine maintenance, such as regular inspections and repairs. When this happens, small problems can compound over time and become major issues that are more expensive to fix. This may shorten assets’ life cycle, leading to home asset failure, or cause unscheduled downtime of appliances, which can result in extreme costs. The main reason for this is usually due to maintenance costs, but it could also be because the homeowner doesn’t think the problem will worsen over time.

Examples Of Deferred Maintenance

  • One of the most common examples of deferred maintenance is roof damage. If a roof leak is not addressed promptly, it can cause interior water damage, mold growth, and wood rot.
  • Another example is failing to maintain landscaping, which can cause a property to look overgrown and unkept.
  • Another common example is when a homeowner neglects to perform routine inspections on their HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) system. This may lead to increased safety hazards.
  • If air filters are not changed regularly, this can lead to decreased air quality in the home and even cause serious health problems for those living there.
  • Failing to inspect and repair plumbing systems can lead to leaks and water damage in walls, floors, and ceilings.
  • Other examples are broken windows, peeling paint, or unexpected breakdowns of appliances.

Causes Of Deferred Maintenance

Financial Constraint

The primary cause of deferred maintenance is usually financial. Homeowners may not have the necessary funds to perform regular maintenance tasks on their property, so they put it off until the problem worsens.

Inadequate Knowledge

Another common cause of deferred maintenance is inadequate knowledge. Some homeowners may not know how often certain tasks need to be done or what to look for when it comes to maintenance. Ignorance regarding the risks of postponing maintenance can often result in an accumulation of deferred maintenance tasks.

Time Constraints

Many homeowners are busy with work and don’t have the time to perform regular maintenance tasks. This can lead to deferred maintenance backlogs that eventually need to be addressed. Finding the time in a busy schedule to perform regular inspections and repairs can be difficult, but it is essential to prevent deferred maintenance.

Lack Of Urgency

In some cases, homeowners may simply be unconcerned about the need for regular maintenance. This attitude can lead to a buildup of deferred maintenance and repairs and could eventually result in serious issues with the property.

Poor Planning

Homeowners may also defer maintenance if they haven’t made proper plans. This includes budgeting and scheduling time to ensure that all necessary tasks are completed on time. Regular inspections and repairs should be scheduled periodically to address issues before they become major problems.

Risks Of Deferred Maintenance

Risks Of Deferred Maintenance

Safety Risk

Safety hazards are one of the most serious risks associated with deferring maintenance. When property owners neglect to perform regular maintenance, such as checking their home’s electrical system or inspecting their HVAC systems, they risk causing an accident in the home and putting their family in danger. Without regular inspections and repairs, a property may become hazardous due to structural issues, faulty wiring, or other problems.

Financial Losses

Another risk of deferred maintenance is financial losses. When a homeowner puts off necessary repairs and inspections for too long, the cost to fix the problems can increase significantly. In some cases, the cost of fixing a problem may be higher than what it would have been if it had been addressed sooner.

Health Risk

Delaying maintenance can also lead to health risks such as poor air quality or the growth of mold and mildew. This can cause various respiratory issues for those living in the home. For example, when air filters are not changed regularly, the air quality in the home may deteriorate and cause a variety of respiratory problems for those living there.

Structural Damages

Delaying maintenance and repair can also lead to structural damages over time. Suppose a property owner fails to inspect and maintain the roof, walls, foundation, or other needed repairs. In that case, they risk serious damage occurring that could be more expensive to repair than preventive maintenance.

Curb Appeal

Maintenance activities being delayed can also impact the curb appeal of a property. Neglected landscaping, visible signs of damage, and an unkempt exterior can make it difficult to sell a home or get top dollar for it.

Is Buying A Home With Deferred Maintenance Advisable?

Is Buying A Home With Deferred Maintenance Advisable?

Deferred maintenance can be a major concern for potential buyers, as it can lead to costly repairs and even safety risks. However, buying a home with maintenance issues doesn’t necessarily have to be bad—it all depends on the extent of the deferred maintenance and how prepared you are to take on the necessary repairs.

When buying a property with deferred maintenance, the buyer needs to know what they are getting into and understand the risks associated with purchasing this type of property.

Do your research: Before making an offer on a home with deferred maintenance, it’s important to do thorough research. Check the property records and speak with the current homeowner or landlord to better understand what needs to be done. You may want to consider other homes if major repairs are needed.

Get an inspection: It’s also important to conduct a thorough inspection of the home before making an offer. This will help you identify any potential problems that may be present and give you a better idea of what needs to be done to make the necessary repairs. This should include both interior and exterior inspections, as well as checking all systems in the home, such as the plumbing and electrical.

Check for permits: It’s important to check whether any permits are required for the repairs that need to be done. Depending on the extent of the deferred maintenance, you may need to obtain a permit to make any changes to the home.

Negotiate: Once any issues have been identified, the buyer needs to negotiate with the seller on how these issues will be addressed. This may include asking the seller to make repairs or providing a credit for the buyer to make any necessary repairs after purchase.

Get estimates: The buyer should also get estimates on any potential repairs identified during the inspection process. This will help them understand what costs they’ll be up against when repairing the property.

Selling A Home With Deferred Maintenance

Selling A Home With Deferred Maintenance

Before selling a home, it’s important to address any deferred maintenance that may exist. This can help ensure that the home is in good condition and will be appealing to potential buyers. While you may think that neglecting certain issues can save money in the short term, it will likely negatively impact the home’s sale price in the long term.

Conduct an inspection: The first step to selling a home with deferred maintenance is to inspect the property. This should include exterior and interior inspections and checking the home’s systems, such as the plumbing and electrical.

Make repairs: After determining what needs to be repaired, the homeowner should make these repairs before listing the home for sale. This will help ensure that potential issues are addressed before buyers see them. It may also add value to the property by showing buyers that it’s been well-maintained.

Stage the home: Staging the home can also help make it more appealing to potential buyers. This includes decluttering, deep cleaning, painting, and adding and moving furniture. It’s important to pay attention to small details such as lighting fixtures, wall colors, and window treatments to create a warm and inviting space that buyers will be drawn to. If you need help with staging, we can help! We are a group of professional home stagers who can help you prepare your home for sale. Contact us here to learn more about our services.

Clean and update: The homeowner should clean the home thoroughly and make any necessary updates to help improve its aesthetic appeal. This may include replacing outdated appliances or fixtures, painting the walls, or updating the flooring. By taking these steps, they can ensure that their home is as attractive to potential buyers as possible.

If you choose to sell the house deferred

-If the homeowner chooses to sell their home with deferred maintenance backlog, they should disclose any potential issues in the listing. This will give buyers a better understanding of what they are getting into and help them decide whether it’s the right property for them. It also would save the seller from a lawsuit or other legal action if the buyer discovers them after the sale.

-It’s also important for sellers to price their homes accordingly. Since the property will require repairs, it’s important to adjust the price so buyers know this and can make an offer based on the home’s actual condition.

-It’s a good idea to provide potential buyers with receipts and documentation of any repairs or inspections done before listing the home.

-It’s also a good idea to hire a contractor or service professional to inspect the home and estimate any repairs that need to be done. This can help buyers understand exactly what they are getting into when they purchase the home and ensure that they can budget accordingly for any necessary repairs.

How To Prevent A Maintenance Backlog

How To Prevent A Maintenance Backlog

Schedule Regular Inspections

The best way to prevent maintenance backlog is by being proactive and conducting scheduled maintenance of your property. Regular inspections can help identify potential problems or issues before they become major headaches. This will allow homeowners to address any issues as soon as possible, preventing maintenance backlog from occurring in the first place.

Make Repairs Promptly

When an issue is identified, it should be addressed and repaired promptly. This helps ensure that further damage is prevented and saves money in the long run by avoiding more costly repairs.

Keep A Maintenance Budget

It’s also important to set aside a budget for home deferred repairs and maintenance so that any necessary repairs can be done without delay. This will help to prevent deferred maintenance and keep the property in good condition.

Educate Yourself

Another way to prevent maintenance backlog is to educate yourself on what needs to be done to maintain a home and keep it in good condition. This may include reading up on how often certain home components need to be inspected, how to patch and repair drywall, or which materials are best suited for specific tasks. By educating yourself on home maintenance, you can ensure that your property is always in good condition.



Deferred maintenance is an issue that affects many homeowners and can be both costly and time-consuming to fix. However, it’s important to remember that by being proactive and following the tips outlined above, homeowners can help prevent deferred maintenance and keep their properties in good condition. This will save them money in the long run and ensure they can enjoy their homes for years to come.

It’s also important to keep in mind that if you choose to buy or sell a home with deferred maintenance, it’s essential to disclose any potential issues and price the property accordingly. By taking these steps, buyers and sellers can ensure they are making an informed decision when purchasing or selling a home.

Need help prepping your home or staging it for sale? Realestaged is readily at your service. Contact us today to book an appointment.