Your home is potentially the most important investment you’ll ever have. Keeping your investment in tip-top shape helps it to maintain or even increase its value over time.
If you’re like most homeowners, you might imagine that home maintenance equals thousands of dollars of expenses going into a new roof, water heater, or massive kitchen and bath renovations.
We’re here to let you know that maintaining your home is easier than you think. We’ve got several items for your maintenance checklist that you can mark off on your own. Read on for all the details.
From the best interest rates to professional and trustworthy customer service, TwinCity Lending is your go-to lender from pre-approval to closing. Call us today and speak with one of our lending specialists about your new home loan or refinance.
Start by Checking Your Home at the Top
We suggest you take a good look at your roof first. Every season, be sure to stay on top of curled shingles, missing shingles, old or worn-looking sections of your roof.
Clear away sticks or branches–they encourage pests to hop a ride onto your structure.
Some minor roof repairs are easy to manage on your own; others may involve calling in a professional. If you don’t know what’s up there, though, a small problem can become a catastrophe surprisingly fast.
Next, check the attic. Your insulation should be fluffy and functional, with a proper R-value (the rating that measures the efficiency of your insulation.)
As a rule of thumb, you should not be able to see the joists beneath the padding. This rating typically equates to about 10-14 inches of material.
If you’re running a little low, you can add new loose insulation (the kind you blow in) over the old material, as long as there is no plastic barrier of any kind between the two different elements.
If you determine you need more insulation, it may be best to call a professional to do the job safely.
Also, having a good look around the attic will give you a chance to check for pests like bats, squirrels, or bug damage to your wood beams.
If you notice the signs of critters, call a pest removal service to help you determine where the access points are, and to remove any unwanted guests.
Spotlight on the Exterior
Now, carefully inspect the outside of your home. Are there siding cracks or missing panels? Are your gutters in good shape? What about the seals around your door and window frames?
If you’re noticing a few trouble spots, you might consider getting an Energy Audit from your local power company. There are also many independent vendors that perform this service for their would-be customers.
You can schedule an energy audit in most regions for low to no cost, depending on the provider. Try a Google search for “energy audit near me,” and you’ll have a straightforward list of resources at your fingertips.
Basements are Always Interesting
Basements have the potential to be maintenance “hot spots,” depending on the age of your home, your region, and your weather patterns.
In the basement, keep an eye out for the following:
- Small patches of moisture, especially around the seams in the foundation
- Bugs of any kind, like spiders in large numbers, silverfish, roly-poly worms, or centipedes.
- Drainage problems
- Sump pump function–test and inspect often
- Water heater corrosion on the bottom panel
- Washing machine hose connections and drainage
- Water softener age and function
- Water pressure gauges (extensively high water pressure puts extra wear and tear on your appliances and pipes, not to mention wasting water and adding to your bill. Check your water pressure periodically with water faucet pressure gauge to be sure you’re staying in the “safe” zone.)
- Water heater temperature. A setting of 120 degrees is the most energy efficient.
- Age and efficiency of furnace and whole-home air conditioning systems
- Dirty air filters in the HVAC. Change them every couple of months.
- Adequate pipe insulation, especially in crawl-spaces, to prevent pipes freezing and cracking.
Some basement issues, like high water pressure, air filter replacement, and rock salt for your water softener, are easily monitored or repaired on your own.
When you notice small issues becoming bigger, get a repair estimate right away from two or three service providers. It’s vital to have someone you can trust for preventative solutions as well as emergency repairs on speed dial.
Strategize Larger Repairs and Updates
When you know you have a substantial repair project or a cosmetic update you want to add to your home, plan for it in advance.
Roofs, kitchens, and bathrooms are typically among the higher-cost projects in the general homeowner maintenance plan. However, appliances and exterior work can also tend to “break the bank,” especially when emergencies happen.
When your spot-fixes are no longer enough to solve the issue, begin planning and saving for replacement or renovation. Tackling one large project per year is a place to start your strategy.
Are your bathroom grout, household flooring choice, and seam caulking getting on your last nerve already? Begin now to craft your repair or renovation budget with estimates and materials planning.
You’ll want a clear picture of how your strategic plan can help you save on future maintenance. It pays to spend a little more upfront on higher quality appliances and materials if it saves you time, money, and trouble later on.
Save up the money you’ll need over several months, and then pull the trigger on your project without plunging into debt, or worse yet, getting caught in a nasty surprise when the shower breaks or the floor joists are rotten with moisture.
When you stay on top of your small home maintenance repairs, they are less likely to become huge, expensive, disasters.
At TwinCity Lending, we’re here to help you keep your investment in prime condition for as long as you own your home or rental property. Call us today for more information on our new home loans, home refinance, and home equity products. Let’s build your wealth and keep it valuable together.