Must-Do Maintenance and Repairs for First-Time Homeowners

Must-Do Maintenance and Repairs for First-Time Homeowners

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Full ownership means full responsibility when you’re talking home ownership. It’s easy for first-time buyers to overlook certain aspects of routine maintenance, as most renters have a landlord to call when major systems break, pests appear or the roof leaks. So while owning a home requires more responsibility and effort than renting, preparing for and following through with routine maintenance doesn’t have to be complicated.

Read this easy how-to guide to proactively maintain the condition of your home:

Get a “Go-to” Guy

You’ll need a plumber, electrician, heating and cooling system specialist and a landscaper, too, if you don’t plan on doing that job yourself. Look to neighbors and friends for references or service rating sites like Service Magic and Angie’s List. Don’t forget someone for pest control, too.

After you move in, set up assessments with each specialist, who should be willing to suggest routine maintenance you can do yourself. They can show you the essential and non-essential systems, too; this would be a good time to label them for future reference. If you don’t already know where your main water line is and how to shut it off in case of emergency, find out. Ditto for the fuse (or breaker) box.

Be Prepared

Here are the home tool essentials:

For the toolbox: tape measure, an assortment of screwdrivers, needle-nose pliers, a wrench and ratchet set, a wire cutter and stripper, claw hammer, nails, screws, drywall anchors and a reliable flashlight.

For the tool chest: a couple heavy-duty extension cords, a corded drill, ax, saw, electronic stud finder, a short torpedo level, an electrical tester (so you don’t do anything stupid) and vise grips.

The big stuff: stepladder, shovel, lawnmower and wheelbarrow.

If you’re gardening: hoe, rake, a gardening trowel, pruning shears and a weeding tool.

Some of these items are expensive, but they’re worth using a layaway plan to acquire. Cheap tools don’t last, whereas quality tools can last a lifetime.

DIY Maintenance

Here are some easy, routine maintenance checks and clean-ups you should be making at the change of each season:

  • Check the seals along doors and windows for leaks and fix with weatherstripping or sealant.
  • Test all smoke alarms and replace dead batteries as needed.
  • Touch up small holes and cracks on your interior walls with caulk and then paint the area.
  • Change air filters monthly.
  • If you have a chimney, clean out leaves and debris to keep birds and squirrels from nesting in it.
  • Check your roof for cracks, missing shingles and leaks.
  • Clean gutters (another place critters like to make themselves at home in).
  • Repair cracks in sidewalks and walkways.
  • Regularly trim grass and shrubs (which also pleases your neighbors).
  • Touch up your home with a fresh coat of paint as the exterior gets weathered.

Taking care of these routine maintenance checks and fixes not only keeps your home in good condition, but it helps raise or maintain your home’s resale value. Your home’s value may be the last thing you’re thinking about as you’re moving into your first home, but with real estate, you should always be aware of your exit strategy should something come up. Proper maintenance will also keep the neighbors happy, which makes your home even more livable.

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