Maintaining (and Loving) Your New Home
We’re not done yet! Here’s a bonus article for my recent 13-part series, Love Buying a Home. This step-by-step series took you through the entire home-buying process — from finding a buyer’s agent to settlement day. Now you’ll learn a few tips on how take care of your new home and make it yours!
Being a first-time homeowner can be fun, but also scary at times! It can be a lot of fun too… but what happens if something breaks? It’s no longer just a quick phone call to the landlord… These 20 tips below provide a good overview of what you can do to maintain your home AND help make you a happy homeowner:
1. Paint! If you aren’t repainting the home, consider touching-up scuff marks on interior walls
Scuffs and marks on the wall are typical, but touching up wall paint will ensure these marks don’t get out of hand. I=And one day, if and when you decide to sell your home, once of the first things you’ll have to take care of is touching up wall paint—so why delay?
2. Inspect window and door seals
Once or twice a year, take the time to seriously check the sealing around your doors and windows. Small cracks can lead to an inefficiently heated or cooled home, which in turn can overwork your systems.
3. Do a home energy audit
According to Energy.gov, homeowners waste on average $200-$400 annually on drafts and air leaks. Consider doing a home energy audit to see where you’re pouring dollars down the drain when it comes to efficiency.
4. Wash your washing machine
It’s supposed to clean your clothes, but what should you do when your washing machine starts to smell? If you notice any signs of mold, mildew, or odors when you load and unload your laundry, check out Apartment Therapy’s in-depth guide to de-gunking and unfunking the washing machine. You can do this as often as every month.
5. Clean out exhaust fans to prevent mold
Fans in your home help clean out smells and moisture, but if they can’t do their job efficiently, you run the risk of growing mold. Once a year, take the time to remove and clean your exhaust fans in your kitchen and bathroom. This’ll keep the hardware running smoothly, and the moisture out of your home.
6. Remove lint and build up from your dryer vent
Cleaning out your dryer vent (and I don’t mean just removing lint from the filter, but cleaning out the vent itself) not only keeps the appliance running efficiently, increasing longevity, but it also will keep your dryer from sparking a fire.
7. Get your HVAC serviced
Homeowners can’t fake a well-maintained HVAC unit. It’s recommended that homeowners get their HVAC and furnace systems checked by a technician in the fall and spring. Not only will this ensure you’re warm in the winter and cool in the summer, but it’ll also show future buyers that you’ve cared for your home.
8. Unclog your disposal
Disposals are a great kitchen tool, but they’re a distraction as soon as they clog up and smell. You should clean out your disposal monthly.
9. Clean out the refrigerator coils
To keep your favorite cooling appliances running smoothly, add vacuuming out your refrigerator’s coils to your move-in checklist. Typically located at the bottom of the fridge, you simply remove the cover and vacuum out dust and debris.
10. Trim the trees
Branches growing too closely to your home or power lines can wreak havoc down the road. If you have trees on your property, bring in a tree trimmer to assess potential issues and trim down trees.
11. Change your HVAC filters
Changing your air filter can prolong the life of your A/C unit, make the unit work more efficiently, and maintain higher air quality in your home. If you regularly forget to check off this task, try signing up for a subscription service that sends you a new filter when it’s time to change out the old one.
12. Check for signs of critters
It’s important to do regular checks around both the interior and exterior of your home to look for signs of pests. Take note of cracks near your home’s foundation where furry friends could break in, or roofing issues where you might welcome some unexpected visitors.
13. Fill in driveway cracks
Take a look at your driveway, patio, or sidewalk for cracks in the concrete. Small cracks start to look unappealing, and resurfacing the cracks the moment you find them means fewer large repairs on outdoor surfaces down the line. Deep cracks can also raise eyebrows during a home inspection. If your concrete is cracked beyond what a simple resurfacing can repair, consider mudjacking. This process, which injects a grout under your concrete slabs to raise them, typically costs around half as much as putting in a new slab.
14. Wash your siding
Cleaning your siding in the spring and fall will not only boost its curb appeal, but also prolong its life. Rent a power washer and take the afternoon to get the job done. But choose your nozzle wisely—too much pressure can lead to damage or even crumbling on the exterior of your home.
15. Re-grout or re-caulk your tub and showers
Whether you have grout or caulk as a filler between your tiles in the bathroom, it will exhibit signs of wear and tear over time. If you notice any crumbling, peeling, or mildew, it’s probably time for a touch-up.
16. Clean out the gutters
Gutter maintenance should take place at least twice a year, or as the seasons change. Gutters overflowing with debris won’t do their job, and can lead to much more costly water damage. Check and clean your gutters every spring and fall, clearing away any muck, sealing any leaks, and replacing damaged gutters as needed.
17. Check the downspouts
Take a look around the perimeter of your home to check for downspouts that have become detached from your home. If downspouts become detached, water will not get directed away from the home and can lead to water intrusion or even foundation issues. This is a minor fix that can save you major cash down the road.
18. Remove evidence of water damage
If you’ve experienced some kind of water damage in your home, you probably fixed it right away, but have you repaired the evidence? Anything that looks like it might raise questions during a potential inspection down the road, should be taken care of ASAP. Make sure you’ve not only addressed the source of the damage with a professional, but also addressed the evidence.
19. Clear your drains
Cleaning out of the drains in the home before moving in is a great idea. But, remember… It’s better to snake the drain with a wire hanger, or clog remover tool, rather than use drain cleaner, which can be hard on your pipes.
20. Flush out your water heater
Once a year, you’ll need to drain your water heater or have a professional plumber come in to do it. Draining your water heater will flush out any minerals or debris in the system, ensuring it runs more efficiently.
I’m not going anywhere just because you’ve moved into your new home. I want you to think of me as your go-to resource for all things real estate, even if you aren’t buying or selling anytime soon. I want you to reach out to me with questions you have, if you need a recommendation for a plumber, HVAC company or other contractor or if you just want a second set of eyes on a renovation you are considering. I’m here for you and want to support you in your new home too!
I'm McCall Carter and I love helping first time home buyers make their first home more affordable and I love helping sellers looking to move up to their forever home. Let me know how I can help you make your real estate dreams come true.
2901 Ashton Blvd. #102
Lehi, UT 84043
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