A Practical Guide for Housing Maintenance and Repair

Homeownership is a rewarding but challenging experience. Owning a home means you are responsible for keeping it in good condition, both for your comfort and safety and for preserving its value. However, home maintenance and repair can be daunting, especially if you are not familiar with the various tasks and costs involved. This article will provide you with a practical guide for housing maintenance and repair, covering the following topics:

  • Why is home maintenance important?
  • How much should you budget for home maintenance and repair?
  • What are the common home maintenance and repair tasks?
  • How can you prevent or minimize home maintenance and repair problems?

Why is home maintenance important?

Home maintenance is the regular care and upkeep of your home’s structure, systems, appliances, and fixtures. Home maintenance is important for several reasons:

It enhances your home’s appearance and functionality.

A well-maintained home looks more attractive and comfortable, and it also operates more efficiently and effectively. For example, keeping your windows clean improves your home’s curb appeal and lets in more natural light, while changing your air filters improves your indoor air quality and reduces your energy bills.

It protects your home’s value and equity.

A well-maintained home retains or increases its market value over time, which means you can sell it for a higher price or borrow against its equity if needed. On the other hand, a poorly maintained home loses its value and may even become unsellable or uninhabitable. According to a study by HomeAdvisor, homeowners who neglect their homes can lose up to 10% of their home’s value.

It prevents or reduces costly and major repairs.

A well-maintained home avoids or minimizes the occurrence of serious problems that require expensive and extensive repairs. For example, cleaning your gutters prevents water damage to your roof and foundation, while caulking your bathtub prevents mold growth and leaks. According to the same study by HomeAdvisor, homeowners who perform regular maintenance save an average of $1,200 per year on repair costs.

How much should you budget for home maintenance and repair?

Home maintenance and repair costs vary depending on several factors, such as the age, size, condition, location, and type of your home. However, there are some general rules of thumb that can help you estimate how much you should budget for home maintenance and repair.

One rule of thumb is to set aside 1% to 3% of your home’s purchase price per year for home maintenance and repair costs. For example, if you bought your home for $300,000, you should budget $3,000 to $9,000 per year for home maintenance and repair costs.

Another rule of thumb is to set aside $1 per square foot of your home per year for home maintenance and repair costs. For example, if your home is 2,000 square feet, you should budget $2,000 per year for home maintenance and repair costs.

These rules of thumb are only guidelines, not exact calculations. You may need to adjust them based on your specific situation and preferences. For example, if your home is older or in poor condition, you may need to budget more than the average. If your home is newer or in excellent condition, you may need to budget less than the average. You may also want to budget more or less depending on how often you use certain features or appliances in your home.

To fine-tune your budget, you can use online tools such as HomeAdvisor’s True Cost Guide or Porch’s Project Cost Guides to get an idea of how much different types of home maintenance and repair projects cost in your area. You can also keep track of your actual expenses over time and adjust your budget accordingly.

What are the common home maintenance and repair tasks?

Home maintenance and repair tasks can be divided into two categories: routine tasks and seasonal tasks.

Routine Tasks

Routine tasks are those that you should do regularly throughout the year to keep your home in good shape. Some examples of routine tasks are:

  • Change or clean air filters every one to three months
  • Test smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors every month
  • Replace batteries in smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors every six months
  • Clean dryer vent every six months
  • Check water heater for leaks every six months
  • Flush water heater every year
  • Clean garbage disposal every month
  • Clean range hood filter every month
  • Vacuum refrigerator coils every six months
  • Clean dishwasher filter every month
  • Replace light bulbs as needed
  • Lubricate door hinges as needed
  • Tighten loose screws or knobs as needed

Seasonal tasks

Seasonal tasks are those that you should do at specific times of the year to prepare your home for different weather conditions or events. Some examples of seasonal tasks are:

Spring

  • Clean windows and screens
  • Inspect roof for damage or leaks
  • Clean gutters and downspouts
  • Check foundation for cracks or moisture
  • Trim trees and shrubs
  • Fertilize lawn and garden
  • Repair or replace damaged siding, paint, or caulking
  • Service air conditioning system

Summer

  • Inspect and repair deck, patio, or porch
  • Clean and seal driveway and walkways
  • Check sprinkler system and hoses for leaks
  • Mow lawn and weed garden
  • Clean grill and outdoor furniture
  • Check for pests and rodents
  • Replace air conditioner filter every month

Fall

  • Rake leaves and compost or dispose of them
  • Aerate and overseed lawn
  • Prune trees and shrubs
  • Cover or store outdoor furniture and equipment
  • Drain and store hoses and sprinklers
  • Winterize faucets and pipes
  • Service heating system
  • Replace furnace filter every month

Winter

  • Shovel snow and ice from
  • Shovel snow and ice from sidewalks and driveways
  • Check roof and gutters for ice dams or icicles
  • Inspect and clean fireplace and chimney
  • Check attic for insulation and ventilation
  • Reverse ceiling fans to circulate warm air
  • Replace weather stripping and caulking around doors and windows
  • Test sump pump and backup battery

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