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Homeowner starter tips and home maintenance checklist

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Most homes don’t come with an instruction manual. Whether this is your first or your fifth, a new construction or a fixer-upper, there are a few things worth taking note of. As a rule of thumb, all simple repairs should be handled as soon as you find them, and before they turn into very costly undertakings. Here are some tips every homeowner should be armed with.

Start with the shell – The outside of the house is important for more than just looks:

  • The roofing should be solid, with no missing, curling or damaged shingles. If replacement is the answer, opt for a complete tear-off. Though more costly, it adds more value to your home at resale.
  • Paint that has faded or is chipping should be scraped, sanded, primed and painted with a high quality exterior.
  • Windows and doors should be devoid of holes and gaps that could be letting water in, and valuable heat and AC out.
  • Take a look from across the street and assess your curb appeal.  Some potted plants, window boxes, a new mail box even some new address numbers can certainly spruce things up.

Inside, focus first on safety:

  • If your electrical panel still uses fuses, consider upgrading to a safer, more efficient breaker system.
  • Plumbing can be tricky, since often you don’t know there’s a problem until you see it. Leaks of all sizes should be fixed immediately.
  • Clear slow-moving drains but avoid chemical agents, opting instead for a plunger. Plungers come in a variety of sizes and styles for toilets, sinks and tubs.

Little things on the inside – A well-maintained home doesn’t just look good; it’s worth more money:

  • Paint regularly and don’t be afraid to experiment with color — it’s not permanent.
  • Handles and knobs on doors and cabinets should be tight and feel solid. These are also easy to change, and can improve the look of a kitchen or bath in mere moments.
  • Toilets should operate normally and without “handle jiggling.” A toilet repair kit costs about $15 and is very easy to install.

Home maintenance checklist – Don’t forget the items on this list:

Twice a year:

  • Change the batteries in your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.
  • Clean the vent from your dryer to avoid a potential fire.

Once a month:

  • Change your furnace filters to enhance air quality in the home and extend the life of the furnace.
  • Spot-check windows and doors to ensure they aren’t letting precious air in — or out.
  • Inspect exposed electrical cords for damage.

Once a year:

  • Have your furnace serviced and cleaned by a licensed professional.
  • Drain your tanked water heater to improve performance and extend its life.

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