Purchasing a home is most likely the largest investment that anyone will make in their lifetime and it's important to improve and take care of the property. Besides a sense of pride and a feeling of accomplishment, there are additional reasons that homeowners should consider maintenance a necessary task and not as an option.
A well-maintained home ensures a higher resale value by making the home shine and gives the impression to homebuyers that the home has been well cared for. Another significant reason to keep up on maintenance is to prevent potentially serious damage and high repair costs. According to J.D. Roth's book, "Your Money: The Missing Manual," for every dollar you spend on preventative maintenance around the home, you save approximately $100 in future repairs. Also, remember that a home warranty company will usually only warrant claims that are due to normal wear and tear, and not from a lack of maintenance.
Prepare a checklist of maintenance items after a thorough inspection of the home which will be needed yearly or seasonally. A professional home inspection report likely completed during the home purchase process can be a great tool, offering maintenance suggestions and identifying possible problem areas. Determining problems early, prior to them becoming urgent situations will allow plenty of time for the homeowner to plan and save for maintenance or repair costs.
When compiling the maintenance list, inspect the house from the top and work down from there. Beginning with the roof and gutters, remove any debris build up and look for missing or damaged materials on the roof. Clean the gutters and run a hose inside to make sure water flows properly into the downspouts and water is directed away from the structure.
Check for damage, holes or cracks in the siding and also confirm the siding allows water to flow down and away from your home. The exterior house paint protects the siding and helps to keep water outside of your home. If the paint and caulking appear faded, cracked or missing, consult with a licensed qualified professional to get a proper evaluation. A paint or caulk touch-up could be a suitable solution, or it may be time for a quality paint job. Remove vegetation or soil that is against the home, as this can be a direct path for insects and moisture, and the rubbing will damage siding over time.
Some miscellaneous items for the exterior maintenance checklist include, wash and scrub your home and surrounding decks and walkways. Be cautious if using pressure washers as they can easily cause damage. Refinish wood decking and seal cracks in concrete foundations, sidewalks and driveways to keep everything looking great and to extend their lifespan. Make sure window screens are functioning properly, which will allow you to enjoy fresh air while keeping insects out. Yard sprinklers should never spray on the home; this will shorten the exterior paint's lifespan and will eventually cause damage.
Taking care of your home is not only an essential part of homeownership—it's also very rewarding and is incredibly Do-It-Yourself friendly.