You’ve already taken the great financial leap and purchased a home, but are you being the best homeowner you can be? Being a savvy homeowner is important because you’ll prevent expensive problems and increase the value of your home. So instead of thinking of your to-do list as a bunch of “chores,” think of it as “strategic asset protection.” Cleaning the gutters doesn’t sound so bad anymore, does it?
Need a place to start? Keep these seven nuggets of homeowner advice top of mind!
1. Safety first. Always keep an eye out for issues that will affect the safety of current and future residents (e.g. cracked stairs, tripping circuit breakers, faulty overhead lights) and deal with them immediately. A house that’s unsafe is a house that’s depreciating in value. In fact, faulty wiring is listed by Wells Fargo bank as the number one thing to avoid when buying a home, so make sure yours is good to go!
2. Go green. Research shows that eco-friendly homes sell faster and for more money – in 2010, certified green homes spent an average of 97 days on the market, compared with 123 days for traditional homes! Plus, people living in energy-efficient homes are 32 percent less likely to default on their mortgage. You don’t have to do a major overhaul to reap the benefits of an eco-friendly house. Instead, make one green change, like adding solar panels or reducing your home’s water usage.
3. Check the exterior. Sure, curb appeal is important, but there’s a more important reason to maintain your siding, brick or stucco at least once a year. Peeling paint or rotting siding can lead to water damage and mold growth, which are both expensive to repair (between $250 and $300 per one hundred square feet for mid-grade siding) and can become a health issue. Tip: While you’re out there, don’t forget to inspect your roof!
4. Get to know your pipes. When it comes to pipes and plumbing, it is not an “out of sight, out of mind” situation! Leaky pipes can cause serious (and expensive) water damage throughout your house. So, get to know your pipes!
The home inspection report you got when you moved in should tell you what kind of pipes you have, and how old they are. Brass, copper and steel pipes all have a lifespan of 70-100 years, and PVC pipes last for 25-40 years. If your pipes are past their prime (or approaching retirement age) it’s a good idea to hire a professional for a pipe check-up. Tip: If you live in an area that sees cold winters, take precautions against burst pipes.
5. Pamper your furnace. Need a reason to spoil your furnace? Get this: the average cost of a new one is between $2,000 and $5,000! Luckily, most furnace failures can be prevented if problems are diagnosed in the early stages. Make sure you schedule a furnace checkup twice a year to nip expensive problems in the bud!
6. Protect your wood floors. Wood floors are beautiful and increase your home’s value, but they’re kind of the divas of home surfaces: they’re sensitive to water, easily scratched and can hold dirt like nobody’s business. Plus, if you skip enough floor cleanings, you’ll have to sand the wood down, which can only be done so many times before it needs to be replaced. That’ll cost about $12 a square foot! Keep your wood floors safe by cleaning them regularly and putting felt pads on all of your furniture.
7. Sign up for BrightNest. It can be hard to stay on top of home maintenance – that’s where BrightNest comes in! Sign up for BrightNest (it’s free!) and we’ll send you customized tips, tools and reminders so you can grow your investment and love your home.