The Importance of a Home Maintenance Plan
Owning a home is a life-changing experience. When you’re a homeowner, you can decorate however you want and enjoy having a private yard. You also never have to deal with noisy neighbors on the other side of the wall or an unfriendly landlord. You can take pride in your home and truly make it a comfortable, secure place to live and spend time with family and friends. Buying a home can potentially be a long-term investment.
Being a homeowner also means you can no longer call your landlord if there’s a plumbing issue or a roof leak. As a homeowner, you are responsible for all maintenance tasks inside and outside your home. Although this might seem intimidating, especially if you’re a first-time homeowner, you shouldn’t let fear stop you from living your dream. Get the best deals for the most professional work with williston roofers.
Maintaining a home isn’t so bad if you prioritize tasks, stay organized and keep on track with a maintenance schedule. If you regularly maintain your home, you can prevent costly repairs down the road and keep your property beautiful, comfortable and appealing to potential home buyers — if you decide to sell in the future.
So, where do you start? As with many things in life, it helps to have a plan. By creating a home maintenance plan, you can ensure you don’t forget anything important. In this guide, we’ll show you the basics of home maintenance and help you create checklists for the entire year. We’ll also provide home maintenance tips to get you over some hurdles. Keep reading to explore topics such as:
- The importance of preventive home maintenance
- How to budget for home maintenance
- Checklists for weekly, monthly and yearly maintenance
- Essential tips for maintaining the exterior and interior of your home
- How to save for major repairs or replacements
Whether you’re a first-time homeowner or have been enjoying your abode for decades, it’s worth taking excellent care of your property.
At David Pope Insurance Services, LLC, we know being a homeowner isn’t always easy but comes with many rewards. We are proud to help Missourians and other Midwestern homeowners enjoy peace of mind by finding the right insurance plan for their needs and budgets. To learn more about our insurance options and how we can help you feel at home, please contact us today.
Chapter 1: Preventive Maintenance for Your Home
According to a 2019 report by the National Association of REALTORS®, 33% of all home buyers were first-time home buyers. Home maintenance can feel daunting if you’re a first-time homeowner because you may not know where to begin. Also, you still may need to familiarize yourself with your home’s systems so you can maintain it properly and keep it in great condition. This includes the plumbing, electrical and heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems. All of this may be entirely new for you, but you don’t need to be an expert to take care of your property. All it takes is a little maintenance know-how — and knowing when to call a professional.
Even if you have experience owning a home, you don’t want to skip maintenance tasks or assume things are sufficient without checking them first. It never hurts to learn your home inside and out, whether you just moved in or have been living there for years.
Before you tackle big projects that may not be a priority, like converting the basement into a movie theater, be sure to complete preventive tasks first. In this chapter, we’ll cover some preventive maintenance tips to stop trouble before it starts.
What Is Preventive Home Maintenance?
Preventive maintenance is any task designed to protect your home from damage and major repairs or replacements. For example, by making certain the gutters and downspouts are clog-free, you ensure rainwater is directed away from your home and doesn’t pool at the foundation or sit on the roof. Water can lead to a range of problems from mold to cracks, and potentially thousands of dollars in repairs. Fortunately, you don’t have to let a clogged gutter lead to a drained savings account. Preventive home maintenance involves routinely inspecting the gutters and other parts of the home, keeping your house and yard clean and making small repairs right away to keep them from turning into costly issues.
Preventive home maintenance can become a part of your routine, and it helps to use checklists to guide you through each year. You’ll also want to keep a record of any maintenance performed along with related receipts. That way, you can easily track what’s already been done and what needs to be completed.
Why Is Home Maintenance Important?
It’s understandable — most people would rather spend their time and money taking a vacation than dealing with home maintenance. Even though it may not seem fun to spend a Saturday afternoon re-caulking the bathroom, it’s crucial to protect your home from damage. Here are reasons to keep all parts of your house well-maintained and address problems as soon as they appear:
- Protects the value and appeal of your home: Practicing good home maintenance allows you to avoid unsightly issues like stained siding and rusty gutters. You’ll keep your home operational and looking great, which will help protect its value over the years.
- Prevents unexpected repairs: If you tackle small repairs early and keep your house maintained, it’s much less likely you’ll have a major repair sneak up on you down the road. Although you will have to replace some items in your home eventually, especially if you plan to live there for many years, you’ll give yourself more time to save up for replacements in the future and won’t have to cope with unexpected expenses in the meantime.
- Prevents expensive damage: The bigger the repair, the more it’s going to cost. So, for example, it’ll cost more to deal with a major mold problem than fix a small roof leak. Take care of issues like leaks immediately, and you’ll avoid larger, more expensive problems later.
- Reduces energy consumption: Items that are not well-maintained have to work harder than clean systems and consume more energy. For example, according to the Department of Energy, you can reduce your air conditioner’s energy consumption by as much as 15% by replacing or cleaning the air filter routinely.
- Improves your home overall: Maintenance enhances the safety, efficiency and comfort of your home overall. There are many reasons to enjoy being a homeowner, so it’s worth maintaining your home and making the most of it for as long as you live there.
Why Plan for Home Disasters?
According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the United States experienced 69 billion-dollar disaster events from 2015 to 2019. No one wants to think about tornadoes or floods damaging their home, but severe weather events happen and are sometimes unpredictable. It’s critical to be prepared before disaster strikes.
Likewise, you’ll want to have a plan to respond to disasters that can occur within the home, such as a fire. It only takes 30 seconds for a small flame to turn into a fire and only five minutes for a house to be consumed by flames. Therefore, you won’t have much time to think if something catches on fire — you’ll need to know what to do immediately.
Planning for a home disaster should be part of your overall maintenance plan. This may mean ensuring every bedroom has a working smoke detector or choosing the right home insurance policy. You’ll also need to consider security and liability risks as you maintain your home and make sure the locks on doors and windows work and pathways are free of ice or other tripping hazards.
Overall, preparing for events like natural disasters or theft can bring you peace of mind and reduce the losses you might experience during a catastrophe. The first step is to know the risks in your area and then purchase insurance — including flood insurance. Other ways to prepare for a disaster include:
- Ensure you and your family know what to do in an emergency
- Have a disaster supplies kit ready to go
- Keep your pantry stocked
- Sign up for emergency notifications
Tips for Creating a Home Maintenance Plan
Your maintenance plan should be customized to suit your home and needs. Here are tips to help you get started:
If you’re not sure where to start when creating a home maintenance plan, pay attention to the essential parts of your home first. As a homeowner, you’ll want to keep a close eye on four main elements. These include:
- Water drainage systems
- Heating and cooling systems
- Roof condition
You’ll also want to understand your home’s electrical and plumbing systems, at least on a fundamental level. For example, make sure you know where your home’s main water shut-off valve is located in case there’s a leak or you need to complete a DIY plumbing project. Usually, the main valve is located in the basement and is shaped like a wheel or lever. Turning this valve off will completely stop water from entering your home, so you can make a repair or control a burst pipe before the plumber arrives.
When you keep essential parts of your home in mind, you can develop a maintenance plan to keep your house safe and in great shape.
2. Consider Unique Features
While many of your home’s maintenance needs will be universal, you’ll still want to take a walk around and look for unique parts of your home that need care. Consider things like the age of the house, the materials it’s constructed with and any special features like a pool or skylights. All aspects of your home need to be maintained and must be considered when you create your plan.
Also, take the local weather into account. If you’re a Missourian, for instance, you’ll need to consider how all four seasons and weather events like heavy rain and tornadoes can impact the inside and outside of your home, and how you can protect your property year-round.
Cover every area of your property and jot down maintenance tasks along the way.
3. Make Checklists
Use your general maintenance list to create checklists and organize each one by frequency, such as weekly, monthly and yearly. Set automatic reminders for yourself in your phone or mark a calendar, so you follow your plan. Keep a record of completed tasks and store any related receipts in the same place. We’ll share checklists in this guide to help you create your own lists.
How to Budget for Home Maintenance
According to Nerdwallet’s 2018 Home Improvement Report, about a third of homeowners did not have any money saved for home repairs, but 44% experienced an unexpected repair within the first year of owning their home. You can help reduce the burden of a surprise repair by setting aside funds each month for maintenance tasks and emergencies. Even if you cannot save a lot, anything is better than nothing, and it’ll add up over time.
Several factors will impact how much it costs to maintain your home, such as the age, size and current condition of your property. It’s ideal to budget for routine maintenance tasks and repairs and have a separate fund for emergencies. Emergency funds should be equal to three to six months of living expenses to compensate for an unexpected income loss. Your home maintenance budget should be at least 1% of your home’s value. Divide by 12 to get a monthly budget.