We've been fortunate to own three homes since 1981, serially, and as our sole residence. But I've never spent 2-4% annually, on maintenance on any of them.
Our first home was 35 years old when we bought it, all I spent on it was three or four hundred dollars to paint it once, and replace a water heater. In many ways I wish we still lived in it, but my wife had other ideas...
$61,000 in 1981 (A gorgeous, mature, oak was cut down to make room for the palm tree...)
Our second home was new; maintenance was more along the line of upgrades; flooring upgrade, landscaping, interior paint.
$121,000 in 1990
The worst that has befallen us occurred two months ago in our third, current, and last home; built in 1992.
$335,000 in 1998
The water lines are run under the concrete slab (insanity that I do not comprehend at all), recently one broke with no other outward sign other than a section of the kitchen floor got warm to the touch. This occurred due to substandard copper pipe being placed in direct contact with the soil (no insulating wrap as required by code), and the local city building inspector allowing it to slide... This identical problem, I soon learned, had occurred in four other homes on our street. Class action suit? Against who? The city? The contractor is unknown, and in all likelihood, long out of business. We followed our neighbor's advice, and had the entire house re-plumbed (the problem had been known to reoccurr if fixed willy-nilly) ... $5,300. Now who would anticipate having to re-plumb a twenty year old house?
The water heater gave up the ghost one Sunday morning; $450. A few years later the furnace went away, due in part, to our close proximity to the ocean; $2,300. But even the $8,050 we've spent, over thirteen years of ownership ($619 per annum) still doesn't approach 2-4% per year
[$6,700 - 13,400).
Houses should be bought to be lived in, not as portfolio items. Traditionally, every time a home changes hands it's price increases... I call bullsh*t ... buying and selling homes to turn a scheckle should be criminal. Little wonder the average guy can't afford one.