Five Things Every New Homeowner Needs to Know to Maintain Their Home

With regular maintenance, homeowners can extend the life of their homes.

Buying a home may be one of the biggest purchases you will make during your lifetime. With such a large investment, you’ll want to do everything you can to keep your home shiny and new. That’s why regular maintenance is something every homeowner should have in mind as each year goes by. Once you are ready to sell, you’ll be better prepared to put your home on the market.

Here are five tips homeowners should keep in mind to maintain their homes:

Keep up with maintenance. When homeowners wait until something breaks or goes wrong, it ends up being a much bigger project to fix and is usually more expensive. According to Matt Laricy, managing partner of Americorp Ltd, “If you don’t maintain things in your home, then you will end up having to fully replace things quicker than you should.”

Can’t keep up with all of the items in your home? One way to stay organized is with the app Centriq. It enables you to keep track of all of your home’s maintenance needs, manuals and service providers all in one place.

Spending on maintenance vs. renovation. Matt Liss from Mark Allen Realty explains, “The general rule is that you should plan on spending around 75 percent of the annual cost of your home on maintenance.”

When it comes to keeping your home updated, it can be a tough to decide when to spend more money and renovate. But Laricy and Liss say you’ll know when it’s worth the splurge. “Home renovation is important in the sense that we are very visual people. If the home looks nice, we will sell it fast for a good price. If you have the money to renovate and then sell, I would recommend doing that every time,” says Laricy.

Liss, on the other hand, says, “Renovation is necessary after 18-20 years when everything is out of style by then. The general wear and tear combined with the need for an update on style is why you would consider renovation.”

Seeing is believing. It’s not a new concept—humans are very visual. If a home looks nice and updated, buyers will be more interested. If you only have time to focus on certain items in your home, it may be a good idea to focus on those that people will see right away and take notice. Grouting and mold in kitchens and bathrooms, for example, are things that can be seen right away. Make sure to also use the right cleaning products on all surfaces in order to keep them looking their best. Stainless steel and granite will not hide your lack of maintenance.

The exterior of a home can also have a big impact on your ability to sell. “Lawn care can often go by the way side. Make sure you or someone you hire maintains the vegetation since this can increase your curb appeal. First impressions matter a lot when it comes to selling your home,” says Laricy.

Start with your big-ticket items. The AC, furnace, appliances and water heater tank can end up costing you a lot of money if you wait to fix them until something breaks.

“Most people end up waiting for their hot water tank to die before replacing it. I recommend changing it every 10-12 years because if it bursts, it is a way bigger deal,” says Liss.

Getting those items looked at or serviced when necessary will cost you less at the end of the day. Think about the items that will cost you the most to replace when deciding what to address first.

“Windows are the most expensive thing in your house, especially if you don’t take care of them. If you have any window leaking and wood nearby, this will ruin the wood,” says Laricy.

Don’t forget things you may not see. Last but not least are the things that you might not see right away. Under the kitchen or bathroom sinks you can get leakage, which will ruin your cabinets and leave you with a whole new project on your hands.

Have you ever noticed a loose toilet? Laricy explains, “If you have a heavy flush it will get looser over time and can cause a lot of problems for your home.”

While it may seem like a good idea now to save here and there by not fixing small problems with your home’s interior, exterior and appliances, these issues will eventually turn into larger and more expensive problems for your home. And although you may not be ready to sell your home right away, once that day comes, your home will be much closer to selling if you have taken the necessary steps to maintain it.