Taking care of your new home
You finally found your dream home. The keys are in your hand and the moving boxes are packed. All the stress is over now, right? I have spoken to many homeowners that describe getting their new home as being like bringing home a new baby. Everything felt manageable until you put the baby in the car seat and drove away from the hospital. With the keys to your new home in hand, you are on your own. Here are some tips for maintaining your home:
Set aside 1% of the cost of your home for the cost of annual home maintenance. That means, for instance, if you spent $300,000 on your home you should have $3,000 set aside for home maintenance. Of course, there are a number of factors that influence this such as the age and location of the home, but it is a good place to start.
Use your home inspection report as a guide. If you had a home inspection done when you purchased your home, use it as a tool. I suggest creating a spreadsheet that lists the age of your major systems such as your HVAC unit and your roof. Then add a column for maintenance of those systems. Add another column with any savings you can put aside for when those systems reach the end of their useful life. This helps to remove some of the worry when that happens. They will, eventually, stop working. Being prepared is half the battle.
Use a home maintenance checklist. Your new home needs a few things every season. Find a checklist you like and use it. A little bit of maintenance goes a long way.
If you see water, address it immediately. When I am doing a home inspection, this is something I stress to buyers all the time. Water is a significant enemy to building structures. Leaving water unaddressed can lead to major problems down the road. If you notice water in your basement, get it fixed. If you have a leaking sink, get it fixed. If your siding is cracked, get it fixed. If your roof is leaking, get it fixed. Water can cause a number of other issues such as mold and structural damage. Do not wait to address water.
Pay attention to your landscape. Making sure there is not vegetation rubbing against your house or roof will prolong the useful life of your siding material and roof. It also helps protect your foundation. I have seen too many times when a small weed tree, left unaddressed, turns into a big weed tree whose roots are threatening the foundation.
Get a home energy audit done on your home. A home energy audit can help you assess where you are losing energy efficiency in your home. It is a useful piece of information for planning forward what kinds of improvements will save you money, increase the resale value of your home, and help the environment.
Create a list of tradespeople you can call when needed. I recommend doing this before you are between a rock and a hard place. Reach out to people you know and trust to see who they use. Keep a list of people such as a plumber, an electrician, a heating and cooling company, and a roofing company. This way you are less likely to be scrambling when something goes wrong. Tradespeople are the doctors of your home. Have their numbers accessible.
Home maintenance may not be the best part of home ownership, but it is an important part. With some attention and planning you can save yourself money and increase the value of your home.
Charlie Kay Home Inspections