Buying a home is an exciting achievement, it’s probably one of your largest assets, yet. You get to enjoy the freedom of upgrading, modifying and tweaking home however you feel like to make it as comfortable and convenient for your stay as possible. Whether you just bought a brand new home or a previously owned one, there’re a number of repairs and maintenance tasks you need to do to protect your valuable investment.
As a first-time homeowner, you will start appreciating just how much work the homeowners and landlords put in to keep up their property. When you were previously renting, chances are your landlord handled all the building maintenance, indoor repairs, and yard work for you. Now as a new homeowner, this is squarely your responsibility, and you might want to keep these costs as low as possible.
Home Maintenance cost
When it comes to home maintenance cost, the general rule of thumb is to set aside at least 1% of the cost of your home purchase a year for house maintenance. If you bought an older house, this figure might go as high as 4%. Now, assuming you bought your home at $500,000, this could mean setting aside a whopping $20,000 a year for maintenance.
On the brighter side, carrying out early maintenance practices will save you lots of money in repairs down the line. It’s estimated that for every $1 that you spent on maintenance, you avoid up to $100 of repairs. Take a quick example of a leaky gutter, fixing this the DIY way could cost you less than $20, but if not addressed in good time, it could lead to thousands of dollars in repairing the rotted siding wood, damaged paint job and the mildew growth menace.
With that perspective in mind, here are 6 quick home maintenance tips new homeowners can use to keep their home in tiptop condition while saving money at the same time.
1. Audit the Energy Usage: The initial energy audit helps you discover where your home is losing energy. You could take advantage of the free energy audit service by your utility company or hire a certified energy auditor to assess your home. Alternatively, you could perform an energy audit on your own using the U.S. Department of Energy’s home energy audit guide (https://www.energy.gov/articles/energy-saver-101-infographic-home-energy-audits). This could potentially save you up to 30% of your yearly energy cost.
2. Weather Strip The Garage Door: Weather stripping around your garage door is meant to seal up air leaks and avoid energy loss. If it’s damaged or missing, you need to call in a garage door repair expert to have it fixed. If the garage door is extremely dated and not energy efficient, you might want to consider a new garage door installation. While at it, make sure your windows and doors are weather-stripped too.
3. Maintain the Gutters and Downspouts: if neglected, gutters and downspouts can cause massive damages without you noticing. This includes cracked foundations, water damage, insect infestation, rot, and organic growth. To avoid this, clean your gutters and keep them free of debris and make sure downspouts are positioned to direct water away from your house.
4. Exterior Maintenance: If your home’s exterior looks dated and dingy, it ruins your curb appeal and gives the impression that your interior is neglected too. Apart from the looks, your exterior paint job serves as your house’s first line of defense against the scorching sun, pounding rains, gnawing bugs, and the unsightly organic growth. So repaint your home at least once in every 3-5 years to keep it looking appealing and protected.
5. General Plumbing Maintenance: Damaged and leaky plumbing fixtures will not only waste water but also lead to water damage on your siding and fixtures. Use sink drainers in the kitchen to prevent food and other large particles from clogging your drain, and avoid using harsh caustic drain cleaners that might damage your system. In case of any leaky or damaged pipes, call a professional to have them repaired or replaced immediately.
6. Lawn Care and Landscaping: A great looking lawn and a well-manicured home, in general, boost your home’s curb appeal and adds value to your property. Neglecting your lawn and landscaping could also potentially lead to insect invasion and even stray snakes finding their way into your house. Purchase a lawnmower, shovel, rake, and a few pruning tools for occasional lawn and landscape maintenance.
This is by no means an exhaustive list of home maintenance tasks you will need to perform as a new homeowner, but the above six are the most essential when you first step into your new home. If you carried out an inspection before purchasing your new home, it might guide you on other maintenance and repair areas that urgently need your attention. But always remember that maintenance is much cheaper than repair and replacement.