If you love your home, will it love you back? Yes. By taking care of your home, you will ensure that it can shelter you and your family for years to come. As an important bonus, you will help preserve your property’s value for sale or refinance. When you follow a home maintenance schedule, you’ll break up the projects into manageable pieces that you can address over time. Finally, you’ll have the satisfaction of living in a well-maintained home and, with any luck, avoid major repairs you can prevent with routine maintenance.
Make a checklist. There are chores to take care of monthly, quarterly, and annually. Some are best tackled in the spring and some in the fall. A checklist will help you stay on top of these tasks. You don’t have to start from scratch. A quick internet search will give you more checklist options than you can imagine, with varying degrees of detail. To get started, look for resources from Better Homes & Gardens, Home Maintenance for Dummies (*we’re* not calling YOU a dummy), and Bob Vila. You can make your own custom list if you can’t find one that suits you and your home.
Start With The Obvious. If you haven’t been following a meticulous maintenance plan, there may be items to tackle ASAP. Those water spots on the ceiling could mean a roof leak, which will probably require a professional to diagnose and repair. If the grout in your shower wasn’t dark when it was new, but is an interesting shade of grey now, it’s time to remove the mildew. Is the wind whistling under the front door? Weather stripping is in your immediate future. Armed with your checklist of choice, make a thorough tour of your home, top to bottom and inside out, noting areas of concern.
Easy Projects. Don’t get overwhelmed. Start with a few basics and work up to a more comprehensive list. Projects you may be able to do yourself include fixing toilet leaks, replacing the supply and drain hoses on your washing machine and the exhaust vent pipe on your dryer, and changing the filters on your furnace and/or AC unit regularly. For short lists of basic projects (clean your dryer’s lint screen!), check our ideas from Money Crashers and Popular Mechanics.
DIY Or Hire Someone? Depending on the task and your skill level, you may be able to do a great deal of your own home maintenance. Before you start, know your limits. Climbing up a ladder to clean gutters on a single-story home is one thing. Going up to the third floor? Maybe not such a good idea. Unless you’re confident with your plumbing skills, you may save money by hiring a professional first. Those funny videos of water shooting up like a fountain from a broken tap aren’t so funny when it’s happening in your bathroom. If you want to improve your skills, YouTube is full of DIY videos, and your local big box home improvement store probably offers classes.
Don’t Forget To Budget. Owning a home can be fun, and it has many benefits, but it also brings financial responsibilities. You’ll pay property taxes, insurance, possibly HOA dues, and if you have a home loan you’ll make a monthly mortgage payment. You need to set aside funds for maintenance, repairs, and replacements, too. As you budget for a home, factor in the future costs of caring for your investment.
It may not seem romantic, but this Valentine’s Day, show your home some love. Although it can’t speak, your home will return your affection, and you don’t have to buy it chocolates!