If you’re a homeowner, it’s almost certain that your home is the most valuable asset you will ever own. That’s why homeownership is often referred to as an investment. As any savvy investor will tell you, the key to success is protecting your investment.
Although there are hundreds of ways to preserve your home’s value, there are a few essentials you must do regularly. The first, and perhaps most crucial, is the foundation. A bad foundation spells big trouble. This is especially important in Minnesota, where water intrusion can be a perennial problem for homeowners.
Good maintenance begins with a simple foundation check you can do yourself. Walk both the exterior and interior of your home and look for signs of cracking, bulging, or uneven surfaces. If you suspect there may be an issue, it’s advisable to have a professional assessment.
You should inspect and maintain your home’s roof annually (at least). You can check for damage by looking for “impressions”—small-to-medium sized dark spots—which are usually a tell-tale sign of hail damage. If you suspect hail or any other type of damage, it’s worth having a specialist come out to inspect your roof.
Additionally, having a home insurance policy with roof-replacement coverage is advisable. In the event of a storm that causes roof damage, which is not uncommon in Minnesota, a good insurance policy can cover most of the cost to replace your home’s roof—potentially saving you tens of thousands of dollars.
Furnace & AC
Your HVAC system should be regularly checked and serviced. If and when it comes time to sell your home, the furnace and the air conditioning are two things prospective buyers are sure to ask about. Having each system checked annually is relatively inexpensive—you can usually have your AC and furnace checked for less than $100 total (plus you can usually find some deals if you shop around).
Maintenance throughout Your Home
With those bigger ticket items covered, the list of things to maintain in your home is seemingly endless. What you focus on depends in part on the location, type, age, and size of your home. With that in mind, refer to this list, organized by area, of things that should be regularly checked and maintained. Unless otherwise noted, these tasks should be performed annually.
- Inspect siding for signs of wear or damage
- Clean gutters twice a year—typically best to do in the spring and late fall once leaves have dropped
- Inspect chimney and dryer vent to ensure proper ventilation
- Check flashing between windows and doors—replace if not intact
- Drain outdoor hoses and faucets in the fall
- Clean kitchen range hood
- Clean oven at least twice a year
- Inspect dishwasher hose and drainage
- Check sink drainage
- Clean refrigerator and ensure temp settings are functioning properly (check items toward back of fridge for signs of freezing)
- Check sink and bath/shower drainage
- Check the shut off valve/supply on all toilets
- Inspect shower/tub for signs of cracking
- Check grout between tiles and re-grout if there are signs of deterioration
Living Rooms and Bedrooms
- Test electrical outlets
- Test carbon monoxide/smoke alarms, replace batteries if necessary
- Inspect interior window and doors for signs of draft
- Clean screens on windows/storm doors
- Replace furnace filters at least quarterly
- Check sump pump to ensure proper function
- Clean dehumidifiers
- Inspect hot water heater
- Check for any signs of water intrusion (regularly during non-winter months)
While this list is by no means exhaustive, performing these checks and following up with required maintenance will protect the value of your home, and shield you from the time and expense of major repair projects further down the road.