Home maintenance planning tips


When we help first-time buyers start the journey to homeownership, and talk about the types of homes they’re interested in, we recommend that home maintenance planning be part of their process.

Homeownership is a source of pride and joy—and usually a positive investment in your financial future—but it doesn’t come without maintenance costs. If you’re a first-time buyer or homeowner, we’ve got some points for you to consider; if you’re already a homeowner, jump ahead to the list of January-to-March maintenance tasks recommended by home service pros.

How age and condition impact your home maintenance planning

RESALE HOMES, particularly those 10+ years old, come with more significant maintenance activities and costs than newly built homes.

  • How well did the previous owners handle upkeep? Poor maintenance creates more headaches, costs—and impacts a home’s appraised value, too.
  • Many people focus on the nice renovations and upgrades they want, but first you’ve got to evaluate the age of major systems and structural elements that impact and/or protect your property value. For starters:
    • Roofs and HVAC systems typically need to be replaced every 15 years or so
    • Driveways may need repaving
    • Exterior trim, porch and decks need annual sealing, painting or staining.

We encourage buyers to consider these factors, and to consult with a home inspector too,  since they have the expertise needed to give you the pros and cons of a home you’re considering.

NEW HOMES require little-to-no major work right away (a big advantage for many, especially first-time buyers), but there are still plenty of ongoing maintenance projects that will be required to ensure your home holds up under the wear and tear of everyday life. A good rule of thumb is to budget 1% of your home’s value each year; what you don’t use you can set aside for emergencies and upkeep.

Now, since it’s the start of a new year, we’ve looked to home services experts to assemble a list of the types of projects homeowners should plan for during January-March in North Carolina.

Checklist for home maintenance responsibilities: January-March

  • In these cold and damp months, feel around the doors and windows for drafts. Weather stripping and seals may need replacement.
  • Lubricate hinges on your doors, as well as clean and lubricate rollers and tracks on garage doors.
  • Check for, and remove, any icicles or ice dams on the roof and gutters—as ice melts water can flood under your shingles and gutter areas, causing damage to the wood in and around your roof. Check for any damages to shingles as well as flashing around the chimney, vents and skylight areas, too.
  • Inspect, clean and repair any caulking in your bathrooms and kitchen. Look for mold, cracks, and any areas where there’s a gap between the caulk and the surface it’s meant to seal.
  • Clean and replace filters in equipment that has them (following manufacturers’ guidelines): HVAC, ovens, dryer, dishwasher, back of condenser coils and exhaust fan blades, for instance.
  • Since you’re most likely keeping your windows tightly shut, this is a good time to clean and repair or replace any of your window screens that may be damaged or loose.
  • You’ll also want to rake any remaining leaves and plants that have died from your yard and near foundations, to prevent pests taking up residence.

Just like eating right and getting exercise, home maintenance isn’t always what we want to do, but it’s time and effort well spent. If you need help finding a home services company or technician, ask us for a referral to someone we trust. And if you’re ready to start your buying or selling journey, just contact us!

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