Owning your first home is an exciting experience. After the challenging and stressful process of home buying, you can now sigh in relief that you have a new place to call “home.”
With all the excitement that comes in home buying and moving, it’s easy for new homeowners to overlook home maintenance, especially when you never had to worry about these things before. When you were renting, your landlord took care of all the building maintenance and you never had to tackle any issues on your own. As a new owner of a Charlotte NC home, the responsibility now falls on you and you need to do the best you can.
To keep things from getting overwhelming, here’s a list of things you should check now as they may later on become complicated and even hurt your resale value.
1. Do a home energy audit
According to the official energy website of the U.S. government, one of the biggest costs of home ownership, aside from the mortgage, is heating and cooling. Your heating system makes up about 42% of the utility bill.
Many utility companies offer this as a free service, so start by giving your local one a call.
A home energy audit will help you discover where you’re losing energy and show you what projects to prioritize to minimize energy loss.
This can be performed freely by a utility company, so check the local companies in your area and ask for one. You can also do it yourself through the U.S. Department of Energy’s home energy audit guide.
Performing a home energy audit can save you up to 30% in your home’s yearly energy cost.
2. Check the HVAC
The HVAC system controls the temperature throughout your house, so routine maintenance is a must. The last thing you want is for the HVAC to break down in the middle of winter.
When filters get dirty, the heating and cooling systems run less efficiently, which wastes energy and costs you money. Worst still, dirty filters can lead to costly repairs.
To avoid paying thousands of dollars for a new HVAC system, you need to change the filters at least every two months. Just turn off the system, pull out the filters, and check them for dirt and grime. If they are dark and dirty-looking, you can find replacements in the local hardware store.
3. Inspect and recaulk around the doors and window
One of the places where air can seep in and out of the home (significantly affecting the heating and cooling) is through the door and window frames. The outer frames can develop cracks that lead to energy loss.
Keep your home airtight by sealing the spaces around windows through caulking. If you choose the right kind of caulk, you won’t have to recaulk the following season.
When applying the caulk, make sure that the surface is clean and dry. Follow the instructions carefully to get the best effectiveness from the caulk.
4. Regrout or recaulk your tub, showers, and bathroom fixtures
Another place you may have to recaulk is in the bathroom. Fillers in the bathroom exhibit signs of wear and tear over time. If you see any crumbling or mildew, it’s time for a touch-up.
Moldy grout can be easily taken care of with a bleach solution.
Since you’re in the bathroom, you should also check all the drains and look for poor drains. Tackle any slow drains before they become clogged, or worst still, back up your drain and bubble up.
6. Maintain the downspouts and gutters
Gutters and downspouts that fall into disrepair can cause massive damage to your home without you knowing it.
Most homeowners usually forget about the gutters and downspouts. If they are not constantly checked, they can fall into disrepair and cause massive damages like water damage, cracked foundations, and insect infestations.
Repairing faulty gutters and downspouts can cost up to $2,000.
Check the gutters and downspouts immediately when you move in and at the beginning of the spring and end of the fall season. Make sure they are free of debris and clean them out. Also, ensure that the downspouts are positioned in a way that funnels water away from your home.
7. Inspect the attic
Even when you don’t plan to use the attic, you need to monitor it for leaks, damages, and infestations. A properly insulated attic helps in maintaining the right temperature of the house, as well as prevent considerable damages,
The attic is also one of the favorite hiding places of critters like squirrels and raccoons. These critters enter the attic and cause considerable damage like chewing through plastic coatings to the bare electrical wires.
8. Roof maintenance
The roof is constantly exposed to the sun, rain, and snow. These factors take a toll on the roof and if neglected can shorten the roof’s life span dramatically. With proper roof maintenance, your roof can last up to 30 years.
Many roof professionals say that an annual inspection is necessary. However, you don’t have to wait for a year of stay in your Charlotte property to do a roof inspection. You can conduct one as soon as you move in.
Taking care of roof issues will also help the heating and cooling systems of the home operate more efficiently and prevent leaks in the roof that lead to water damage.
9. Inspect the wood deck for moisture
If your newly bought home in Charlotte has a wooden deck, test if the seal is still working. All wood decks need to be sealed and stained to prevent water damage and rot. When you see tiny beads of moisture form on the surface, that means the sealant is still working. If that doesn’t happen, it’s time to reseal the deck.
10. Fill in driveway cracks
Take a look at your driveway, patio, or sidewalk for cracks in the concrete. Small cracks look unappealing but deep cracks can cause problems later on.
To prevent any costly repairs in the near future, fix the cracks by filling the cracks and sealing. If done right, this can improve the surface for years and help your driveway last longer.
Keeping up with regular home maintenance tasks will keep you from future headaches and money.
Are you planning to buy a HUD home in Charlotte? Call me, Nancy Braun at (704) 997-3794. I am a HUD-approved REALTOR® and can help you find a home that suits your budget and preferences.