Each month, most of us invest thousands of dollars in an asset that we are counting on to provide shelter, hold or even grow its value, and be there for years to come. Of course, we're talking about our home.
Although our home may be the biggest investment we make in our lives, we often don't think about regular maintenance until it comes time to sell. And by then we could be surprised with enormous repair bills that could have been avoided with simple maintenance each year.
One of the smartest things you can do as a homeowner is to act like you're selling your home even if you aren't. That means doing regular inspections of key areas on your property and make the necessary repairs and maintenance before small problems become big ones. Here are a few areas to pay attention to:
- Pest inspections: You should have pest inspections done on your home every two to three years. We all know how much damage termites and other pests can do to your foundation. By having regular inspections and preventative pest control work done now you can avoid serious damage later. Water damage: Moisture intrusion can be your home's worst enemy, causing damage to wood structures, masonry, flooring, wall coverings, stucco, and other areas.
- Water damage can be extremely costly so make sure to inspect for leaks wherever water piping is located. Regular calking and sealing can help prevent trouble.
- Outside drainage: While water can do serious damage inside your home, it can create trouble outside, too. Make sure that water is draining away from your home in order to avoid cracking of your foundation and sidewalks, as well as pest and mold problems under your home.
- Maintain decking: Care for your deck with regular sealing to prevent water damage, termite infestation and fungus decay. You may also consider installing wood deck alternatives made out of composite and plastic lumber, which are beautiful low maintenance options for homeowners.
- Roof and rain gutters: Another potential water hazard comes from your roof. New roofs are not inexpensive, but the damage that leaks can cause can be far more costly to your home. Clear your rain gutters and spouts of debris and consider having a roof inspection if you haven't done so in recent years.
- Yards and landscaping: Well-landscaped and maintained yards are a big part of a home's appeal, and beautiful yards help increase the value of a property. It's just as important to maintain the outside of your home as it is the inside.
- Creating a firebreak: Flammable wildland vegetation too close to your home could make it difficult for firefighters to save your home from a brush fire. Make sure you clear at least a 30-foot firebreak around your home.
- Inside fire safety: Install smoke detectors in each bedroom and every level of the house, and test them regularly. Put a fire extinguisher in the kitchen. Have an electrician check older wiring, and replace it if necessary. Finally, have heating units inspected and cleaned annually by a certified specialist.
Just like any other major asset you own, it is important to invest some time and money maintaining your home's value. A small investment in your home's wellbeing today could prevent tens of thousands of dollars in damage tomorrow.