How to Maintain Your Home: A Guide for First-Time Home Buyers


Buying your first home is an exciting milestone in your life. However, home ownership comes with obligations and responsibilities you may not have considered. For example, if you previously lived in an apartment complex, landscaping, maintenance, and repair services may have been provided by the property owner. If you want to take charge of maintaining your own home but do not know where to begin, start with inspecting the property, inside and out, to get an idea of what condition things are in.

Every aspect of your home should be inspected on a regular basis. However, what constitutes a regular basis depends on the thing being inspected. For example, some checks should be completed monthly, whereas others can be done annually or biannually. In the same way, some inspections can easily be performed by the homeowner, but others require specialty tools and expertise.

Inspections You Can Do Yourself

Many home-related assessments can be done quickly, without any special equipment. For example:

  •        Check bathroom caulk once a year. Caulk in good condition protects the area around the bathtub from water intrusion and possible rot. Remember to check around the faucets and knobs as well as along the floor and where the tub meets the walls.

  •        Inspect your roof gutters each fall to be sure they are free of clogs and are not separating from the roof.

  •        Examine your window caulk and weather stripping for signs of decay once a year.

  •        Check your heating and air conditioning filters once a year. To do this, turn the unit off, remove the filter and replace it if it dirty.

Inspections That Should Be Done by a Professional

Some items in your home must be inspected by a professional. For example:

  •        Wood burning stoves and fireplaces. Fire danger is a serious matter, so never trust an amateur to perform a chimney inspection. If you are worried about the prospect of being sold services you don’t need, go with a provider who takes a camera into the chimney and shares the video with you so you can see what the recommendations are based on. The best time to schedule this inspection is in late summer, in time for fireplace season but ahead of the rush.

  •        Furnaces and air conditioners. An HVAC professional can do preventative maintenance during an inspection visit, which you should schedule on a yearly basis. This usually entails cleaning coils and ducts as well as testing internal parts to locate trouble areas before the system breaks down.

Maintenance and Repairs

As was mentioned, some service providers can perform preventative maintenance during an inspection visit. For more extensive professional repairs, you may have to schedule another appointment. Other maintenance, such as cleaning your roof gutters on a regular basis, you can do yourself. Enlist the help of a professional to maintain your home HVAC, keep your chimney safe, and do the other tasks around your new home if you will not be able to keep up with them yourself. Remember, the best protection against emergency repairs of all kinds is regular inspections and maintenance.

Don’t let the joys of home ownership be overshadowed by deferred maintenance. To help you remember to do your annual checks of the house, set a calendar reminder for the same day each year. You could choose the first day of spring, the anniversary of your closing date, or another date that is easy for you to remember. Staying on top of preventative maintenance can save you time, money, and stress in the long run.

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