Your home is likely the largest single monetary investment you will ever make. Taking care of it will keep you and your loved ones healthy and happy, and regular maintenance will preserve the value of your investment. Here are just a few suggestions to get you started.
Keep your home clean! Regular and frequent cleaning of a home will maintain its condition better than hiring a cleaning crew once a year—and if you wait that long, you’ll need the HAZMAT team.
There is simply no substitute for once-a-week (or more often) cleaning such as vacuuming, wiping down the bathrooms, mopping the kitchen floor, dusting, disposing of unusable food in the refrigerator and carrying out the trash. Daily maintenance of a home means wiping up messes as soon as they occur, picking up clutter, and cleaning up dishes. All family members, including children, should learn to clean up after themselves. Many homeowners have everyone remove their shoes when coming in from outdoors. Speaking from experience, I know that this practice will literally save the homeowner from having to replace the floorings every few years. A pile of shoes near the door is much easier to live with than constantly worn and soiled carpets, and scratched or broken tiles.
Less-frequent cleaning includes wiping out cupboards and drawers, polishing windows, scouring the oven, moving the fridge and cleaning behind/under it, and shampooing the carpet. While cleaning, you can spot signs of wear and tear, enabling you to fix any problems promptly, before they become bigger issues. Moreover, keeping your home clean and in good repair will make the house less susceptible to bugs, rodents, water damage, mold and mildew. Resolve problems in your home as soon as you are aware of them, whether it be a leaky pipe or a broken window.
Keeping your lawn mowed, the trees trimmed and the flower beds weeded will not only beautify your home, but will also make you a good neighbor. Use a garden hose to flush out leaves that have accumulated in rain gutters, and provide proper drainage for rainwater to seep into the ground.
Sweep the porch, sidewalks and driveway, and remove the trash along the curb and gutter. For obvious reasons, put away toys, bicycles and other stuff every night. Get rid of old vehicles sitting in the driveway! Either fix them and use or sell them, or else take them to the recycling place and get some money out of them. Tidying up the yard—both front and back—will make your home more attractive and safe, and it will make the neighborhood look better, as well. If you ever want to sell your home, a buyer’s first impression—curb appeal—will be a powerful drawing card and may get you top dollar for your home.
Maintenance will cost something; however, doing no maintenance will be much more expensive. Performing maintenance yourself will cut costs and help you develop the skills for long-term services on your own home. Painting the interior of your home, for example, requires the purchase of paint rollers trays, tarps and other equipment; however, you will save thousands of dollars on hiring the job out. Major hardware stores can answer any questions about home maintenance projects, and they offer classes for customers who want to install tile and other such jobs. Once you have the skill, you can apply it to other areas in the home.
When you are serious about buying a home, have a reliable building inspector come and examine the house. He should check the foundation and other structural issues, the plumbing, heating/cooling and electrical systems, roof, etc. He will probably charge you around $300, but he can warn you about potential problems, or else assure you that the home is sound. His fee is a small price to pay for your awareness of the home’s condition.
Do not hesitate to hire a professional once a year to check the furnace to make sure it is working properly and doesn’t pose any dangers to the home’s occupants. An old or malfunctioning furnace can be life threatening, and it’s worth the investment to have an expert find and take care of potential problems. Make sure you invest in contents insurance to make sure your valuables are protected from any unforeseen disaster.
The best thing about having a clean and well-maintained home, inside and outside, is that it also makes you feel good about yourself; you’re proud to live there. You are comfortable in having visitors come, and people are glad to have you as a neighbor. Moreover, you will save a lot of money by learning home maintenance skills and doing the maintenance yourself.
About the Author: David Glenn is an expert in DIY home improvement techniques and interior design consulting. With his vast experience in the field, he hopes his writing can help people learn and save money through DIY projects.