Wants Vs. Needs and Your To-do List

As we welcome in a new year many will take stock of needs around their homes that will require attention in the coming months. Most homes have a ‘to-do’ list. That list is generally broken down into Wants and Needs. These are two very different lists, and psychologically we view them as very different things. Unfortunately, we often view them in their reverse order of importance.

‘Wants’ are often the more aspirational projects. If you are tired of the paint color in your kitchen you want a fresh coat of paint. You might also want a backsplash between the counter and cabinets, combined with undercabinet lighting. Taken together you have transformed your kitchen without doing a full remodel. This is something you can get excited about. Some may even view this as an investment – a positive - to maintain the value of their home.

‘Needs’ are often more practical. The lawn needs to be cut regularly and gutters need cleaning periodically. Paint fades and flakes and must be re-applied over time. Roofs do not last forever and will need to be replaced. Most of us acknowledge the need for these things, but few get excited about them. Many may view these as costs – a negative – that they would like to minimize or avoid.

While I understand that the Wants list is often the fun stuff, your Needs list must generally be the higher priority. If you want to minimize what you spend on your Needs, it is best to stay on top of them. Caulk is amazing stuff, and totally underappreciated. Inside and outside the home, caulk stops water intrusion in joints and seams. Done well, it can help avoid thousands of dollars in water damage. Yet, few get excited to inspect their homes joints and seams, or by the application of fresh caulk.

If you avoid your Needs list so you can spend more on your Wants list the bill will eventually come due. Damage takes time to accrue, but it will accrue. Delaying and deferring maintenance and repair efforts, and their costs, generally costs more in the long run. You will pay now, or pay later, but the later payment comes with compounded interest.

Staying on top of things and addressing needs as soon as they appear, is actually the best way to keep your home value high and your costs associated with maintenance and repair low. This path also leaves the greatest share of available funds for items on your Wants list. You will get greater value for your spend with this approach.

Now, who is ready for a kitchen refresh?

If all this makes perfect sense, but you would rather pay somebody to stay on top of both your Wants and Needs list, in whole or in part, know that Mr. Handyman is here to help. Every day we do general home maintenance tasks to keep minor needs from becoming major projects. And, for those that already have a major project, such as siding repairs, deck repairs, or a new shower surround, know that we also do this work.

With your Needs list taken care of, we can also assist with your Wants list. A new kitchen backsplash and fresh coat of paint really do make the kitchen seem brand new. We do many different home improvement projects, so please call to discuss your specific needs.