Buying a home is an exciting experience. You save up your downpayment, wade through thousands of listings, find and hire a buyer’s agent, search for the perfect home, make and offer, get accepted and take the plunge. Now, you’ve moved in, repainted walls, arranged furniture, hung window coverings and settled in for the fall season.
Except, you’ve never checked a furnace filter, dealt with a leaky faucet, cleaned gutters or mulched your trees. If you’ve never owned a home before, you may be unprepared for the realities of home ownership.
What to do?
Remember the four elements:
Earth: While the temperatures remain warm enough, take care of any landscaping issues you may have. Rake and properly dispose of leaves, remove dead branches, give your lawn a final mowing and prepare it for winter, mulch flowerbeds and trees, cover any exposed dirt to protect it from erosion and check rock walls for loose stones.
Inspect your foundation for cracks that may need professional repair.
While you’re at it, put away outdoor furniture, toys and tools so that they’re protected from harsh winter weather and ready for Spring.
Air: One of the most important elements in your home, air, can be a friend or an enemy. Seal windows and add weather-stripping to doors for leakage. Check the attic insulation for the appropriate depth for your region. Inspect your attic fans, gable vents and other air-flow methods for proper ventilation.
Winterize your AC. Remove or winterize your window air conditioners. Wash off the condenser housing of your central AC and remove any buildup of leaves, dust, insect nests, weeds or grass clippings. Have a professional check your central air-conditioning system for leaks.
Fire: Your HVAC system (Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning) keeps your home comfortable in all temperatures, so take care of it well. Make sure filters are clean and free of damage. Have your furnace inspected by a certified HVAC technician. Check your ducts check for buildup and have the professionally cleaned if necessary.
Make sure the fireplace damper works correctly so that you can avoid losing warmth through the flue and check the chimney for debris from insects, birds or prior use.
Check smoke and gas detectors to make certain the batteries are new and the alarms work.
Water: This element causes hidden damage in homes and requires vigilance to keep from having massive problems and expensive repairs due to mildew, mold, rot and other water damages. Outdoors, inspect your gutters and downspouts for leaves and debris. Make sure the downspouts are directed away from your foundation. Have your roof inspected to make certain you don’t have potential leaks. This is particularly true after a major weather event such has hail or heavy wind. A professional roof inspector can also advise you on weather your home might be subject to ice damage from dams and buildup.
Check your faucets for drips and your drains for leaks. Make sure pipes hidden in cupboards do not leak or create condensation. If you have condensation inside cabinets from water pipes you may need to install ventilation into the cabinets. Check toilets for leaking, running or flow problems and have them fixed immediately.
When to do it?
Check out this list scheduled by seasons to see the best times to take care of your home maintenance issues.
Contact your real estate professional for information on home inspections before you buy so that you’re prepared for the upkeep to your new investment.