Home Maintenance Services by the Season: What Every Homebuyer Needs to Know
For many of us, the fun part of moving into a new home is decorating. Arranging furniture, choosing paint colors, and buying new curtains are likely way more fun than thinking about home maintenance services.
Go ahead, order the new curtains, but don’t forget to set aside some time to find out more about these essential services. They’ll help keep your home in top condition by extending the life of your roof, HVAC, and other systems.
“Homebuyers are getting savvy and understand they need a four-point inspection for homeowners insurance,” says Leah Herzwurm, a top real estate agent in St. Petersburg, Florida.
“That inspection typically covers roof, AC, plumbing, and electrical. I recommend having a service come out at least twice a year for maintenance. It’s going to give you longevity with your systems and peace of mind.”
Home maintenance services range from simple filter changes that even a novice DIYer can handle to those best left to the professionals, such as roof repair. Herzwurm says, “If you’re not getting the roof inspected [regularly], you may not know that shingles are loose and you have a leak. With an inspection, you may be able to do a roof repair instead of a full replacement.”
For the best results, budget time and money for home maintenance services to protect your investment.
While this might seem like it would be common practice, 80% of homeowners aren’t prepared for a home maintenance emergency. Yet, HomeAdvisor says, a typical roof repair can range from $364 to $1558, depending on materials and size.
To assist you with planning, we’ve put together an overview of the home maintenance tasks that can help you keep your home in the best condition possible.
What are home maintenance services?
Home maintenance services touch on every aspect of your home. From plumbers to roofers, to lawn care, having a good home maintenance routine will give you peace of mind.
If you think of them as seasonal tasks, you’ll be able to spread them out and make them more manageable. Plus, if you get your air conditioning serviced in the spring and your furnace inspected in the fall, you’re less likely to face an air conditioning breakdown in the middle of a heatwave or a broken-down furnace in the middle of winter.
How much do services cost?
Home maintenance costs range from air filters starting at $19.99 to a full roof replacement. HomeAdvisor estimates new roof costs to range from $5,574 to $11,44, depending on size and materials. According to HomeServe, a new furnace can run $1,500 to $6,500. However, regular furnace maintenance will only run you around $100.
How much to budget for your home maintenance depends on your home. “Maintenance on a new construction property is going to be very different than on a 1950s home,” Herzwurm says. “So it depends on your property, the age of your system, the condition that it was when you purchased it.”
Finding the Best Home Maintenance Services
Start your search by asking friends and family for recommendations. You can look online to find licensed area professionals with excellent recommendations. There are also a lot of handy home maintenance apps to help you find home maintenance services in your area.
Top Services by Season
If you implement a rotating series of seasonal checks, you can keep your home maintenance services manageable. Here are some top tips for every season.
Spring is a time of renewal, which makes it the perfect time to clear away the old and make room for the new. You can start outside with your yard.
Lawn, garden, and trees
Start with a lawn cleanup, like clearing away any fallen branches or dead leaves. You can lay mulch in your flower beds to prevent weeds and decide on any new plantings you want for the season.
If you use a lawn service, early spring is the time to renew your annual contract.
Outdoor home inspection
Your home is your first line of defense from the elements. It also establishes your first impression to your neighbors. Keeping your home well-maintained on the outside not only enhances your curb appeal but can help prevent expensive fixes later. Once you’ve cleaned up your yard, you can check the exterior of your home from roof to HVAC.
Check your roof for loose or broken shingles. Ben Sutterfield, owner of 1st Capital Certified Roofing in Austin, Texas, advises staying on top of this to help avoid more substantial damage. “Replacing loose or missing shingles keeps water from seeping under the shower angles and causing water damage,” he says. “Many times we will be called to a leaky roof only to find the culprit was a few missing shingles.”
In addition, get a professional inspection to ensure the winter months didn’t cause any other roof damage. Spring showers may not be kind.
As the first piece of your home’s structure, the foundation literally supports your home. It’s a good practice to look for cracks both inside and out. Foundation cracks can come from drainage issues, problematic engineering, general house “settling” over time, and much more.
If your home siding is cracked, warped, or otherwise no longer adhering to your home, then your home is at risk of water damage. Like roof shingles, siding is meant to protect your home from leaks, mildew, and mold.
Clearing your gutters of fallen leaves and other debris gives rain and melting snow a targeted place to go. Clogged gutters can lead water inward and result in water damage to your walls and ceilings.
Paint problems are some of the easiest issues to spot. If it’s chipped or peeling it’s not only unsightly but can also lead to mold and mildew damage. If it’s painted wood, such as a deck railing or window trim, not maintaining it can lead to rotting and more expensive fixes later.
Areas with more extreme weather can add additional concerns. For example, Herzwurm notes the impact the harsh Florida sun can have on exterior paint. “Keeping your exterior property painted every seven to 10 years is something you should consider.” While the hot sun can bleach the paint, flaking or cracking paint can indicate potential water damage.
Patio, deck, and pool
Each of these has its own set of checklists depending on the construction material. In general, you’ll want to look for loose bricks or boards, note paint coverage, and clean the pool to get ready for a summer of swimming ⎼ or relaxing.
If your siding or patio is dirty or showing signs of green mold, a good power-washing session can make it sparkle like new again.
Keeping your HVAC system well-maintained can pay off in lower energy bills and year-round comfort. Darcy Lee, a senior product manager at Trane, says, “it’s very important to schedule yearly service visits to ensure the system doesn’t fail you when you need it most. Keeping a clean filter can help lower your energy bill and keep your unit operating at peak performance.”
Check your pipes for rusting and leaks. If you see anything that may be problematic, don’t wait on contacting a plumber. Allison Goodbee, co-owner of Goodbee Plumbing in New Orleans, Louisiana, offers an essential tip to homeowners: “Learn where your water main is located,” she says.
“Getting familiar with your home’s water main can save you some headaches in the future. If you find yourself in a plumbing emergency or need to start any major projects, shutting off the water main is generally your first step.”
Your sump pump is designed to pump excess water away from your basement and toward a storm drain. When your sump pump is functioning well, it hums along and keeps your basement dry. But if it’s rattling or making strange noises, that’s a sign that it may need repair or replacement. Don’t wait for your basement to flood to call in an expert.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, most homes require a professional inspection every three years at a minimum. Septic tanks are usually pumped out every three to five years to remove sludge. You can help your septic system stay healthy by using water efficiently and not flushing anything down the toilet except for waste and toilet paper.
To find a septic service professional in your area, you can consult The National Onsite Wastewater Recycling Association.
Spring DIY home maintenance tasks
- Turn on outside faucets and check for damage
- Drain the oil and gas, and then store your snowblower
- Plant perennials
- Check smoke alarm and carbon monoxide detectors, and replace batteries
- Clean window screens
When the warmer months come you want to enjoy the weather, kick back, and relax. Luckily, the task list for home maintenance services in summer isn’t a long one.
Summer means outdoor time and with it comes regular lawn care. Some homeowners prefer to outsource this to a lawn care company but if you take care of it yourself, you’ll want to service your lawnmower before you put it to work.
Sprinkler systems have valves to clean and check. While you’ll need to rely on the pros for some tasks, you can do others on your own. Keep up with your sprinkler maintenance to keep your system working smoothly.
Summer brings mosquitoes and other pests. Do you want a pest control technician contract so someone stops by on a regular schedule or do you prefer to handle it yourself?
Summer DIY maintenance tasks
- Pulling weeds
- Change your air conditioning filters
- Gardening upkeep
As summer lemonade gives way to pumpkin spice lattes, it’s time to start preparing for the cold months. Service your furnace, clean those gutters again, and inspect anything else you anticipate using during the cold months.
Furnace, boiler, or radiator
No one wants to be caught without heat on cold fall — or winter — nights. However you heat your home, make sure to get an inspection early in the season before the chill hits the air.
If you have a fireplace, you’ll want to get an inspection before you light your first fire of the season. You should get a fireplace inspection once a year. How often you clean it depends on how often you use it. The Chimney Safety Institute of America recommends cleaning your fireplace when you have ⅛-inch of buildup in the chimney and flue to help prevent chimney fires that could spread to the house. Having a professional inspection will help you determine when the time is right.
Yes, you had your roof inspected in the spring, but it’s time to do it again. Experts recommend inspecting your roof twice a year, ideally before the seasons with the most extreme weather.
Pool and sprinkler systems
Summer fun is over and it’s time to close down the pool and shut off the sprinkler systems. If you’re turning to the professionals, you’ll want to schedule your service early. Then you can head into fall feeling confident that your home is in good shape.
Gutters can help protect your siding and prevent damage to your home’s foundation. Since they play such an important role, you should inspect them twice a year. Making sure your gutters are clean and secure in the fall will help guard against water dams in winter.
Fall DIY home maintenance tasks
- Plant perennials
- Check for/seal drafts around windows and doors
- Time to check smoke and carbon monoxide detectors again
- Clean your dryer vent
Winter prep brings images of snow and ice and, depending on the storm, potential power outages.
If you contract with a snow removal service, don’t forget to renew your contract. If you do it on your own, make sure your snowblower is ready to go and your shovels are in working order. You’ll also want to ensure you have an ample supply of ice melt on hand.
In addition to normal plumbing issues, pipes can freeze and even burst in extreme winter temperatures. You’ll want to do an ongoing assessment through the winter to check for water leaks in the basement, especially during thaws.
Watch for ice accumulation on your roof eaves. This could lead to water damage so if you see it, address it right away.
Winter DIY home maintenance tasks
- Cover your AC unit
- Consider a portable generator
- Check the levels in your boiler
- Winter storm emergency prep ─ gather a supply of wood, gas, canned food, bottled water, batteries, etc.
Homeownership comes with joys and commitment. Whether you’re turning to professional home maintenance services or going the DIY route, breaking up tasks throughout the year will help make your list manageable. And when you plan ahead, you’ll keep your home in top shape and may prevent more costly repairs in the future.
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Original Blog Post: https://www.homelight.com/blog/buyer-home-maintenance-services/