An Ounce of Prevention is Worth a Pound of Cure
“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”
~ Benjamin Franklin
Among his many accomplishments Benjamin Franklin was instrumental in the creation of the first firefighting organization in Philadelphia. It is difficult to imagine that he would have to convince fire threatened colonial Philadelphians that having a group of committed volunteer firefighters was a good idea, but he wrote several articles to help sell the idea.
One of the articles he wrote advocating for the “new” concept in fire prevention was titled “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” He was warning of the care that should be taken when moving live coals from one fireplace to another fireplace, which was common practice back then. The premise was that by taking just a little more care with the live coals, it was less likely any embers would drop and potentially burn the entire home down.
Since that time the phrase has been used by many industries to explain the same concept.
It applies to almost every aspect of owning a home.
For instance, when discovering a small leak in the roof, it is best to handle it quickly. As opposed to waiting, when it is likely to get bigger and become more expensive to fix. And if it rains in the meantime there is the potential damage from the rainwater.
Another example is the small leak under a sink. Is it better to have it fixed now, or wait until it gets bigger and possibly breaks causing much more damage and expense?
One of the many things that I try to convey to first-time homebuyers is that most houses are built with natural materials. In nature, these materials such as wood naturally break down. By maintaining a good coat of paint on the wood it not only makes the home look nice it also prevents termites from getting into that wood, which over time will destroy it. Paint is much less expensive than replacing the wood.
This is also why the first step in our documented approach is the Real Estate Diagnostic. We will go thru the home, room by room and do a complete diagnostic report to determine what, if anything, can or should be done to achieve maximum value at sale.
Sometimes it’s cosmetic items which will make the home more attractive or appealing to buyers. Like paint, or even just making sure all of the light bulbs work.
Other times it is major things like the big crack in the garage floor that you just know every buyer who sees it will wonder/worry about it.
I had a broker once who used to say, “what costs $2000 to repair now will cost you $5000 in escrow.” What he meant is the buyer always has a tendency to overestimate any repairs.
We have all taken on a project and ended up opening the proverbial Pandora’s’ box? What we thought would be an easy project turns into a nightmare that took much longer to complete, and cost a lot more than you had originally estimated. That is exactly what the buyer thinks when they encounter an issue with the house.
Our complete diagnostic report is designed to prevent that from happening.
Let’s go back to the crack in the garage floor as an example.
The seller, who has owned the house for 15 years says it’s always been there since they purchased the home. It has never moved. It has not gotten bigger. Therefore, they think it is a non-issue.
But, the buyer sees it and instantly thinks foundation problems! All they see are DOLLAR SIGNS! When this happens they will either cross the house off of their list of possibilities, or submit a much lower offer.
Could this have been prevented? Yes.
Think how differently the crack would look to a buyer if the seller had taken an ounce of prevention. What if the seller had a report from a Foundation Expert that stated it was due to poor workmanship when the house was built and it posed no problem for the foundation of the house? Then when a buyer asks about the crack they are given the report to view.
It becomes a non-issue.
The first part of our documented approach is to do a diagnostic report on the house to point out possible issues which could come up in the eyes of the buyer. Real or perceived. All issues are real in the mind of the buyer unless we show them they are not.
Indeed, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Thank you Ben!