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A Guide to Home Maintenance for New Homeowners
If you've just bought your first home, or are in the process of doing so, congratulations! Purchasing a house can be stressful and overwhelming, but the end result is worth the effort it takes to find the perfect place. For many, buying their first home is a dream come true — however, severe maintenance issues can arise to turn that dream into a nightmare. Before buying a home, having a home inspector come look at the property is the best way to catch significant issues that need repairs. Once you buy a home, keeping to a regular maintenance schedule can help turn what can feel like an overwhelming amount of responsibility into a practical and easy habit. With time, taking proper care of your home will become second nature.
Have a Qualified Home Inspection Done Before Purchase
What is a home inspection? A home inspection occurs during the negotiation process after a buyer presents an offer. Buyers can hire a licensed home inspector to check the house thoroughly before they sign the purchase papers, giving them insight into the house's structural integrity and the status of important systems like plumbing, electric and HVAC. Inspectors will also check for roof and water damage, and possible pest infestations.
Sellers can also have a home inspection done before listing the house, but they are legally obligated to disclose the findings of that report to potential buyers. If a home inspector finds issues with the house that need repairs, there are three possible scenarios:
- A buyer can rescind their offer after a home inspection.
- The parties can renegotiate the contract, allowing the seller to perform the necessary repairs or offer a credit to account for the costs.
- A seller can deny the buyer's request to repair or renegotiate the contract and put the house back on the market.
Even if you are set on purchasing the house regardless of any problems, it is always a good idea to hire a qualified home inspector so you know in advance about any repairs you'll need to tackle.
Have a Professional Inspect Each Aspect of Your Home
If you are in negotiations to purchase a new home and the inspector finds significant issues with the house, you can back out of the deal or try to get the sellers to complete the repairs before purchase. Often, sellers will want to credit or renegotiate the contract rather than hiring and paying for the repairs themselves. If you know you want to go through with the purchase, be sure a qualified professional addresses any issues promptly.
If you are responsible for the repairs, hire a professional who specializes in the problem area. It's always a good idea to research your options and verify anyone who works on your home is qualified to tackle the job.
Establish a Maintenance Schedule to Keep Your Home in Good Condition
New homebuyers often come from rental properties or family homes where they were not solely responsible for maintenance and upkeep. Making that transition can be overwhelming and difficult. Establishing a regular home maintenance schedule can help ensure your home stays in good condition.Periodically checking the plumbing, electric, roof and HVAC system will also help you catch potential issues and get a professional in before the problem becomes severe.
It can be helpful to schedule your maintenance items during the transitions between seasons, or you can plan your checks around major holidays or events. Keep in mind the upcoming season and what strain that may put on your household systems. For example, check that your heater works before winter begins and that the air conditioning system works before summer starts. Implementing a schedule helps you address any small problems before they become larger, more expensive issues down the line.
Exterior Maintenence Checklist
Here are some things you should check for regularly on the exterior of your home:
- Clean out the gutters and check the drainage systems.
- Inspect the roof for signs of damage.
- Ensure all exterior faucets and hose hookups are running well.
- Look for cracks in exterior walls and foundations.
- Check window screens for holes that may let bugs in.
- Inspect plants and any large trees for overgrown roots and branches.
- Look for signs of pest or insect infestations in the exterior walls or yard.
These are some things inside your home to watch out for:
- Check ceilings for leaks or water damage.
- Replace filters for HVAC systems as necessary.
- Check that all windows open and latch closed properly.
- Check tile and bathroom grout for cracks and mold.
- Look in corners and under furniture for signs of pests.
- Replace batteries in smoke and fire detectors as needed.
- Be sure any chimneys are functioning correctly before use.
- Check that toilets flush well and faucets are not leaking.
- Test wall and GFCI outlets.
While this is by no means a complete list, it can help you start thinking about and planning your own maintenance routine.
Hire a Professional for Large Home Projects
A sense of accomplishment and pride can come from fixing problems on your own. Before starting a home project, however, be sure it's something you can do yourself. You should leave things like foundation repairs, HVAC maintenance, roof repair and more serious plumbing and electric work to a qualified professional.
Professional electricians, plumbers, HVAC technicians and most construction managers participate in intensive training programs that are accredited or licensed by their state. These courses teach them how to fix numerous issues and how to work with the necessary tools and materials for the job. Hiring a professional means hiring someone with the training and experience to get the job done right, the first time.
If big issues are left unchecked or not repaired correctly, they can cost you thousands to tens of thousands of dollars. Eliminate the hassle and any potential injuries to yourself by finding a qualified and trustworthy professional to tackle your larger home projects.
For All Your Roofing Needs, Call Tiger Roofing
One of the most common issues home inspectors discover is damaged roofing, which is also one of the most expensive repairs to undertake. Having a home inspection can help prevent you from footing the bill for a whole new roof soon after you buy, but roofs also need continual maintenance and upkeep when they suffer damage from storms or leaks.
Tiger Roofing proudly services areas in Delaware, Maryland and Virginia. We know that roof issues can be stressful and costly, especially for new homeowners, which is why we've built a reputation for diagnosing and repairing roofing issues quickly and correctly. Our residential roofers engage in continuous education and training, complete the job quickly and leave your yard free of debris or nails.
If your roof suffers damage and needs repair or replacement, contact Tiger Roofing to request a free estimate!