Your home is the main stage of your life. It’s where you eat meals with friends, sleep in on the weekend, relax on the couch after a long day, and raise your kids. For both first-time homebuyers handed the keys for the very first time to long-time homeowners who have seen their house go through so many changes, keeping a home like-new is a major priority that can sometimes feel like a major challenge. Here are our top recommendations for staying on top of home maintenance:
Create a maintenance checklist
Whether you are a first-time homebuyer or a seasoned homeowner, it is never too late to establish good habits by creating a detailed maintenance checklist. Start by thinking about the seasons of the year and what you need to do in each season. As you make your list, denote the items that you can complete yourself, e.g. “change air filter monthly,” “clean out gutters in fall”—and those that you’ll need a professional to complete, such as getting an air conditioning tune-up in the spring.
Once you’ve filled out your checklist, translate the items over to either a physical or digital calendar and assign each task to a weekend of the year. By breaking up your checklist in this way, you’ll be able to keep a handle on the work that needs to be done around your home. By the way, don’t feel bad if you miss a few to-do items—that’s life. No homeowner is perfect!
Build connections with local experts
For long-time homeowners who have stayed put in a single home or neighborhood, you’ve probably already developed a list of trusted “speed-dial” professionals. In many cases, this is through trial-and-error: that one plumber proved to be unreliable, but the next one you called did a great job and was very friendly.
Our recommendation for first-time homebuyers and experienced homeowners moving into new neighborhoods is to start building connections with local professionals you trust, right away. Having an expert you can call when you need them, can help prevent major problems in your home.
You may have already had some neighbors stop by to welcome you to the neighborhood. The next time you see them mowing their grass or working on their car, stop by and chat with them about the local service companies they use. Chances are, they’ll have some strong opinions—both positive and negative—about who you should call. You can combine their word-of-mouth recommendation with online reviews to put together a list of electricians, plumbers, HVAC pros, and more to call when things go wrong.
Keep an eye on the big aspects of your home
These are the things in your home at the intersection of “expensive fix” and “cannot live without.” If you live in a part of the country with hot summers, your air conditioner certainly fits the bill. So does your water heater. Not only would cold showers be a major inconvenience, but a water heater tank burst could lead to a flooded home—and a costly and time-consuming cleanup. Think big: your roof is often out-of-sight, out-of-mind, but it’s literally what makes your house a home. Having a professional out to inspect it for leaks or damaged shingles and tiles is worth it.
If your time for home maintenance is limited, make sure you circle and underline these most-important aspects of your home. By taking care of them, you’ll keep your home like-new for the long haul and help prevent problems in the home.
But, don’t lose sight of the small things
At the same time, wear-and-tear on a home tends to be most visible in the small details such as chipped countertops, dirty baseboards or fading wall paint. None of these are going to prevent you from living in the home or lead to major, expensive problems. However, they are relatively easy fixes that you can often tackle yourself on a weekend.
Addressing small upkeep tasks can make a world of difference in how your home looks and feels. You’ll find that putting a little care into your home can go a long way toward making it feel like a special place—your place. Whether you’re stepping through the front door for the first time or returning to the place you’ve loved for years, that matters.
Lauren Anderson, the HVAC content specialist at Wagner Mechanical, a professional heating and air conditioning company serving Albuquerque and Santa Fe. Lauren has studied Construction Management and currently enjoys writing about topics that help homeowners in taking good care of their homes. At Wagner, you can trust that we are going to guarantee not only the work we do, but that our service meets your expectations.