Home Maintenance

Tips for Tackling Home Maintenance

Every new homeowner goes through the excitement phase of getting the keys to their very own place and feeling like a true grown up. But then it happens: a pipe bursts. A toilet floods. Your water heater stops working. It’s in those moments where every homeowner realizes that having your very own place isn’t all fun and games. Even if you live in an HOA, you can’t call the association management company because they don’t handle personal property. There’s no longer a landlord you can call to fix the problem because you are your landlord!

Home maintenance is just part of the equation of owning a home. It’s important to keep up with regular, smaller tasks so you can best avoid having them turn into larger, more expensive problems down the road. In addition to being able to enjoy living in a nice, safe environment, you’re also protecting what is likely one of your largest financial investments. Working up the motivation to stick to a regular home maintenance schedule isn’t easy—after all, no one really likes having to do grown-up weekend chores—but with a bit of strategy and a plan of attack, it doesn’t have to be overwhelming. Here are some tips to help:

Set Aside a Home Maintenance Fund

The definition of an investment is putting money into something that you’ll (ideally) get more money out of at a future date. That’s exactly what your home is, and you should expect to have to continue to invest some funds into maintaining it so that in the future you can get a good return. A good rule of thumb is to put away about 1%-3% of your home’s initial purchase price for upkeep and repairs. The U.S. Census estimates that average home maintenance costs are about $3,000 each year. The sooner you accept that this chunk of change isn’t really an optional part of home ownership, the easier it will be to pay for repairs and maintenance as they become necessary.

Create a Schedule

Have you ever heard the saying that to eat an elephant you just have to take one bite at a time? There probably aren’t any real elephants involved with your home maintenance, but the tasks can seem just as monumental with how much free time you don’t have in your schedule. Rather than overwhelming yourself with one gigantic to-do list, consider breaking home maintenance tasks into seasonal lists, and even separating the tasks into indoor and outdoor lists. It’s much easier to feel like you’re making progress with smaller, more manageable lists. Not sure where to start? Click here for a good example.

Keep Records

Every homeowner needs to have a notebook or a binder where they keep receipts and records of all of the maintenance and upgrades they complete while they own the home. This helps you remember what tasks were done and when, and also how much you spent on those tasks which can be worth its weight in gold when the time comes to sell your home.

Be Realistic About Your Skills

Let’s face it: some people were just not meant to DIY. If you’re one of those people who doesn’t have a crafty bone in your body, there’s no shame in that! Some may not have the skillset or the tools needed for certain home maintenance tasks. Even though there are endless resources online for learning how to do DIY home maintenance tasks, others just simply may not have the time. Whatever the case, it’s important to weigh the pros and cons of hiring a professional for certain home maintenance tasks.

Hiring a professional can bring peace of mind as you’ll know that the job is done right and it can also save you the time of having to learn how to do it in the first place. But if you do hire a professional, make sure to always get written estimates (ideally two or more to compare pricing and services) and never pay for services up front. Also be sure to read through any reviews of their services to see what kind of experiences other people have had with their company. And finally make sure you’re happy with the completed work before you pay for it.

Related: 10 Ways to Improve your HOA in 2016

The upside of home maintenance is that you get to reap the benefits of your efforts. Whatever time or funds you put into your house will only make it a more enjoyable place to live. We hope these simple home maintenance tips give you some renewed motivation to pick up your tool belt or cleaning supplies this weekend!