Purchasing your first home is a unique experience. However, as a new homeowner, you may not be aware of the importance of home maintenance. You may also not be familiar with the different aspects of property maintenance, such as the upkeep of home exteriors, home appliances, security checks, and seasonal maintenance, to mention a few. Routine maintenance is important for the optimal functioning of your home. To get started, here is a list of globally important tips addressing property maintenance for new homeowners.
1. Contingency Planning
The best strategy for lowering costs associated with property maintenance for new homeowners is to maintain your home effectively, consistently, and with adequate planning. Considering it can cost up to $20,000 to replace an entire plumbing system, don’t wait for issues to develop to start addressing your maintenance needs. By performing routine maintenance, you can save your home from developing issues down the line, allowing you to enjoy significant time and cost savings. Putting a plan in place is one of the best ways of staying on top of your maintenance. When planning, take into account the following:
- Appliance shelf lives
- Annual pest control services
- Servicing and updating security systems
- Garden maintenance
- Changing the HVAC filters, smoke detector batteries, and light bulbs
- Plumbing maintenance
By having a plan in place, you can plan for maintenance, replacements, or repairs in advance. Setting up email or phone reminders is also a good idea. Contingency planning is an effective way of lowering maintenance costs.
2. Have an Emergency Fund for Maintenance
The old adage to save something for a rainy day can be applied to property maintenance for new homeowners. Any urgent repairs that jeopardize the safety of your home must be handled as soon as possible. These may include:
- Damaged locks, windows, or doors
- Security system repairs
- Urgent HVAC, electrical, or plumbing issues
While emergencies don’t happen every day, you will probably need urgent repairs at some point. Having an emergency fund set aside is your best bet. During a good month when your maintenance needs are minimal, set aside some funds for emergencies.
3. Clean Your Window Wells
Window wells provide ventilation and bring natural light into your basement. They also prevent soil from getting near your window fixtures, but if they’re neglected, they can endanger your basement. When it rains for a long time, the drainage pipe might become clogged with leaves and other debris, and your basement window will be subjected to tremendous water pressure. If you fail to clean the drainage, the pressure can break the glass and dump liters of water into your basement. Remember to remove obstructions from the pipe using a snake, shorthanded shovel, or your hands.
4. Find Pest Management Services
A long-term contract for pest control services is a wise choice for property maintenance for new homeowners. For instance, termites pose a significant threat to your property. They can make their way into your kitchen cabinets, bathrooms, crawl spaces, basements, and even closets. Depending on the extent of the infestation, treatment might cost you up to $1,400, and this is just the tip of the iceberg. There may be additional repair fees if the termites damage the wood. Lastly, the house may be uninhabitable due to chemical treatments. For pests such as squirrels, rodents, cockroaches, and more, professional pest control companies offer inspection and extermination services.
5. Clean Dryer Vents
With each use of your dryer, you add a small amount of lint to the vent. As a result, the dryer will take longer to dry garments and be less efficient at cooling down. Additionally, lint buildup also makes your dryer a fire hazard. Remove the dryer’s back vent and vacuum the area. Cleaning dryer vents can prevent potential home fires, making it one of the best tips for property maintenance for new homeowners.
6. Change the Batteries in Your Carbon Monoxide and Smoke Detectors
Replace the batteries in each detector twice a year. To be safe, have both carbon monoxide and smoke detectors on each floor. Don’t wait to hear the automatic beeping to change the batteries. To determine if the battery is working after replacement, press the test button for 15 to 20 seconds.
7. Schedule an Annual Chimney Cleaning
If you’re lucky to own a home fitted with a wood-burning fireplace, be diligent with maintenance to prevent it from becoming a hazard. If there is a buildup of debris, bird nests, or other things that get up in your chimney, your home is at a higher risk of catching fire and burning down. Not to mention, a compromised chimney can lead to a buildup of dangerous carbon monoxide or smoke. To be safe, hire reputable chimney sweep services for professional chimney cleaning. They’ll examine your chimney and let you know whether cleaning is even necessary. Annual chimney maintenance is important for property maintenance for new homeowners.
8. Fix Leaky Windows and Doors
Outwards-facing doors and windows are exposed to the elements, making them more prone to damage. For example, the seals surrounding the window and door frames of outwards-facing doors may rot. If this happens, it’s much harder for you to heat your home as the heat will gradually seep away. If you wake up to a freezing house every morning, fixing leaky doors and windows should be your top priority. Even if this isn’t the case, it’s still worth checking. If you notice the plastic window and door seals have deteriorated, replacement is your best bet. The good news is that it’s quick and affordable.
9. Check the Garbage Disposal
Given the kind of junk that goes into your garbage disposal, it only makes sense that it would require regular maintenance. After use, always run the appliance for a minute-long cycle with cold water and dish soap inside. Any present oil will harden when in contact with cold water, making it easier to slice it up before it enters the trap. Regular maintenance ensures the unit is operating optimally.
You can start by throwing an orange or a lemon down the garbage disposal once or twice a month. The fruit’s citric acid breaks up grease buildup, and as an added benefit, it gives off a pleasant smell. If you notice a foul odor coming from your garbage disposal, pour four tablespoons of Borax down the drain and let it sit for about an hour before rinsing it with hot water. These techniques are useful for property maintenance for new homeowners.
10. Maintain Your Roof
As a new homeowner, you want to make the most of your roof before it needs replacement by a reputable roofing supplier. With regular maintenance, you can significantly extend the useful life of your roof. Taking care of your roof also improves the effectiveness of your heating and cooling systems and prevents leaks that can cause significant water damage. Having a roofer evaluate your roofing system twice a year is a great place to start. Maintaining your roof is one of the best tips for property maintenance for new homeowners.
11. Look Out for Early Indications of a Foundation Issue
As the weather starts to warm up, thoroughly inspect your home’s exterior foundation. This task is one of the most important aspects of property maintenance for new homeowners. Your home’s value can drop by up to 15% due to foundation cracks. Fixing them as soon as you see them can result in less expensive repairs down the road. For significant foundation cracks, contact a structural engineer to examine and fix them. These professionals are equipped to execute processes such as soil stabilization.
12. Repaint the Exterior
Let’s face it, most of us make snap judgments on properties based solely on their exterior. Touching up your home’s exterior paintwork through professional house painters will enhance its curb appeal while keeping moisture and wood decay at bay. According to HomeLight’s 2019 Top Agent Insights Survey, repainting your home’s exterior can cost up to $2,000, but it will yield a 51% ROI if you decide to sell. But if you’re not prepared for such a significant task, you can have minor touch-ups for less than $100.
13. Patch Up Any Driveway Cracks
Check your driveway, patio, or walkway for cracks in the concrete as soon as the temperature rises. Small cracks develop into bigger cracks. Resurfacing cracks as soon as you detect them ensures less significant repairs to outdoor surfaces down the road. Consider mud jacking or slab jacking if the cracks in your concrete are too deep to be fixed by simple resurfacing. This procedure, which raises your concrete slabs by injecting grout beneath them, often costs about half as much as installing a new slab. You can also consider making use of compactor services.
14. Trim Nearby Trees
Trees are often overlooked in property maintenance for new homeowners. Branches growing too close to your property or power lines can cause major problems in the future. According to HomeLight, fallen tree branches amount to $1 billion in annual property damage. If your property has trees, hire a qualified tree trimmer once a year to prune trees as they check for potential problems.
15. Replace the HVAC Filters
By changing your HVAC filters, your air conditioner’s lifespan can be increased, its performance improved, and your home’s air quality preserved. If you often forget to cross this job off your list, consider joining a subscription service that will send a new filter to your home when it’s time to replace the old one. This is one of the most important tips on property maintenance for new homeowners.
16. Wash Your Washing Machine
Considering your washing machine is designed to clean clothes, you may be a bit confused when it starts to exude a foul smell. If you detect any signs of foul odors, mildew, or mold when you load and unload your clothes, refer to Apartment Therapy’s comprehensive guide on unfunking and degunking your washing machine. Consider washing your washing machine once every month.
17. Maintain Your Fire Extinguisher
Your fire extinguisher isn’t really worth having if it can’t be used in an emergency. Remember to inspect it every year. During an inspection, have it cleaned and checked for physical damage and pressure. This is one of the best tips on property maintenance for new homeowners.
18. Conduct a Home Energy Audit
According to Energy.gov, households lose $200–400 on average per year due to air leaks and drafts. To put it into perspective, this amount can get you a limousine ride. Consider performing a yearly energy audit on your home to identify where you’re losing money due to inefficient practices. Conducting a home energy audit isn’t a common maintenance task, but it can be beneficial for property maintenance for new homeowners.
19. Clean Refrigerator Coils
Include vacuuming the coils of your refrigerator in your bi-annual deep clean to maintain the efficiency of your favorite cooling appliances. All you need is to remove the cover situated at the bottom of the fridge and vacuum out the dust and dirt.
20. Check the Sump Pump
You should test your home’s sump pump twice a year if it is located in the basement. Sump pumps typically last ten years, but they can last much longer with regular maintenance. If the water level of the pump is overflowing, it’s probably not functioning correctly. Spend some time clearing the pump of any debris to promote optimal functioning. Check your sump pump’s energy supply by unplugging and plugging it. When it comes to water damage and flooding, catching problems with your sump pump early on can save you thousands.
21. Check Your Water Bill to Keep Track of Your Water Usage
For most homeowners, it takes a telltale water stain on the ceiling to notice a leak in the home. Monitoring your bill is one of the simplest and most effective methods for identifying leaks and excessive water use. Scrutinize your water bill each month and make comparisons month over month. If the figure is greater than usual, you should hire a professional plumber to investigate further.
22. Gutter Cleaning
Have gutter cleaning done twice a year or when the seasons change. Debris-filled gutters won’t function properly and may cause considerably more expensive water damage. Every spring and fall, inspect and clean your gutters, fix any leaks, and replace broken ones as necessary.
With these globally important tips addressing property maintenance for new homeowners, you’re ready to get to work. At first, home maintenance may seem like a mountain of tasks, but you don’t have to do everything in one go. You can ensure your property is secure, unanticipated maintenance bills are avoided, and its value is protected for years to come by observing a consistent and regular maintenance schedule. As a new homeowner, you need qualified staff to maintain your home, which is why you should consider using the services of a staffing agency.