It is easy to ignore minor problems with your home. You’re cozy, enjoying life, and most of the time that to-do list can stay out of sight and out of mind.  Unfortunately, if you don’t take a couple hours per year to review your home and complete repairs while they are small, those minor issues will grow up to be major pains that can cost thousands of dollars. Maximize your investment by having an annual home maintenance action plan!

As Paul Frost likes to say, “The day a home is finished being built, it starts deteriorating”. This is true, but, you can freeze that deterioration in place with a  great home maintenance action plan.

So what does a home maintenance action plan look like?  Start with your home inspection report. The home inspector went through the primary systems of your home, and probably created a great starter to-do list for you. Get that report out, list all of the items that were mentioned as needing attention and prioritize them. They will fall into the following categories and you can keep this format going forward. Keeping records of your completed home maintenance brings terrific peace of mind to the next buyer of that home which helps you maximize your sale price!

  • Exterior; siding, doors, windows, decks, sidewalks, drainage, and driveways.
  • Roofing and Attic.
  • Plumbing supply and drains.
  • Electrical
  • Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning
  • Interiors
  • Structural and Basement
  • Fireplaces and Fuel Burning Appliances
  • Detached Garages, Fences, Sheds and Landscaping

Often, when a seller moves out and the buyer moves in, things will change. There are weather related events, a hole in the wall from the moving company, mold growth in the home if the air conditioner was left off during high humidity days, a valve starts leaking when appliances are moved or cabinets are cleaned out, or you’ll find something that was concealed by the previous owners belongings… Add these new items to your home maintenance list, and start creating an action plan for repairs. If you have an Evergreen Property Inspectors report, start with the items categorized as “Safely items”, then “Action Items”, then move on to the “Monitor or Repair” items.

Your checklist upon moving in to your home:

  • Smoke and CO detectors: Start by replacing these if you are not sure they are new models, then test monthly.
  • Gas powered appliances: If the seller removed any gas appliances and your are replacing them with electric models, the seller may have left open lines. Ensure that these are properly terminated by a professional to minimize the risk of a gas leak.
  • Check the caulking in the bathrooms and kitchen to control water spills and humidity from seeping into the underlayment.
  • Know where your water lines are located and be sure to winterize exterior lines and faucets when cold weather arrives.
  • If you have a sump pump in the basement or crawlspace you will want to monitor this during the first few heavy rains to make sure that the pump works as intended and then test every six months. A water alarm is also recommended.
  • Check and replace water supply lines to sinks, toilets and the refrigerator. These should be braided stainless steel and remember that refrigerator lines are frequently damaged when moving. Slow leaks are the worst as the water may be leaking where you can’t see it.
  • Check your rain gutters and exterior drains during the first few heavy rains as these can become clogged by debris as seasons change.
  • Monitor your furnace air filter as it plays a huge role in energy efficiency.
  • Create a list of Service Providers for emergency repairs (i.e. plumbers, HVAC etc.)

Keeping exterior trim and gaps around windows and doors properly caulked and painted is a huge annual maintenance items. Siding material often keeps an exterior looking great while all sorts of rot is happening behind that wall cladding. Choose a time of year, and do your own inspection or hire a professional to provide an annual review of the home so you can address issues quickly.

Evergreen Property Inspectors provides property inspections for residential and commercial clients in the Greater St. Louis and the Metro East Illinois areas. Contact us to book our services.

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