Homeownership is one of the single biggest investments one makes in their lifetime. That is why proper home maintenance is so important.
Regular home maintenance enhances the properties economic age (the number of years a house is expected to survive), ensures safety, prevents simple upkeep from turning into costly repairs and may even reduce energy consumption. Having a well maintained home provides piece of mind and increases resale value.
To support homeowners in achieving this objective, Greenwood Real Properties has put together a monthly checklist, home improvement and inspection routine:
- Replace filters or wash permanent ones in the HVAC system and humidifier. Filters should be cleaned or changed monthly during peak season (based on filter type no longer than the months). Not sure how to change the filter? Click here.
- Vacuum all heat vents.
- Inspect, clean and test smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. January is a good time to replace the batteries in all detectors. Check with the local fire department on where to install smoke and carbon detectors in the home.
- Make sure there are properly charged and working fire extinguishers in the home. Consider placing within easy access to the kitchen, garage, furnace/boiler room, fireplace(s), wood or pellet stoves.
- Have a plan of action in place for the whole family to exit safely during a fire. Set a place to meet outside to count heads. Have practice fire drills especially if there are kids.
- Check for leaks in forced air heat duct joints and seal with duct tape.
- Look for indoor condensation on windows and take corrective action.
- Check electrical outlets for drafts and install foam gaskets to seal them.
- Check and test GFCI (Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter) outlets to make sure they are working properly.
- Check snow removal equipment, shovels, ice melt. Make sure there is enough gas and or propane on hand to operate removal equipment or emergency generator(s) if needed.
- Pick one room in your home and make a small change to it: un-clutter, install a shelving system, paint it, redecorate, hang a picture etc. It is amazing how new a home can feel from a small change.
- Review warranties and product material to check on recommended maintenance for furnace, equipment, appliances and tools. Mark a calendar to track scheduled upkeep and service.
How important is preventative maintenance? Without it, a home could easily lose 10 percent to 12 percent of its appraised value. Researchers suggest that regular maintenance increases the value of a house by about 1 percent a year. However, professional appraisers are quick to point out any gain is typically offset by the ongoing cost of maintenance. According to the U.S. Census, over time annual maintenance can cost upwards to $3,300, or 1 percent to 3 percent, of a home's initial cost dependant on its geographic location. To put this in perspective: owners of a $200,000 house should plan to budget $2,000 to $6,000 per year for ongoing maintenance and upkeep depending on the age of the home.
Brian Greenwood is an owner/partner at Greenwood Real Properties/Keller Williams Realty with offices in Canton, Easton and Westwood.