Have you purchased a home in 2020 or 2021 for the first time? You’re in good company – 2020 was a banner year for home purchases by first-time homebuyers. One big contributor were the extremely low mortgage rates. When people saw how inexpensive their loans might be, even if they last for 15 to 30 years, they were excited to move on from renting and lock in those competitive rates.
That being said, the jump from renting to owning can leave some people wondering what they need to be doing to keep their home in top shape even as winter approaches. This fall, make sure you accomplish the following items in your home and yard; they’re top recommendations from real estate agents that Homelight surveyed, and they know how wear-and-tear on a house can build up if maintenance is deferred.
Your Fall Maintenance Checklist
- If you live in a cold area, consider putting a furnace inspection on your list. This maintenance move is an inexpensive way to make sure that there are no issues that are affecting your furnace’s functionality.
- Check the exterior of your house for wood damage of any kind. Wood damage can lead to water damage in almost any area of the United States, and water damage is expensive and hard to repair. Get small exterior damage, such as from falling branches during storms, fixed quickly and before the winter weather has a chance to leak water into your home.
- Same goes for shingles and siding. These two protective elements of your home need to be maintained in addition to being replaced after a few decades. Roofs that get regular maintenance tend to last longer, though, so getting a few shingles replaced is well worth it to extend the life of the roof. If the diagnosis is that you need a new roof, remember that having a good roof on the house is also protecting from other costly repairs.
- If you’ve got a yard, this is the time of year to re-evaluate the drainage situation. Are layers of fallen leaves blocking absorption of rain? Rake or mulch them so that water doesn’t pool in your yard. Has the ground shifted and left water near the foundation of your home? Work with a landscaper to grade the land away from your home, so that water doesn’t flow and stay next to the foundation. Small fissures in your foundation can allow seepage into the downstairs or basement, and it’s better to just direct water elsewhere so that small cracks have no way to grow with the freezing and thawing of the ground.
- Speaking of mulching, consider mulching the beds around your home! Mulch keeps roots of perennial plants safer by keeping their ground temperature just a tiny bit higher than it would otherwise get during a cold snap. The mulch also discourages new weeds from growing in that area, leaving your beds looking better than they would otherwise.
Your particular home may have other needs – cleaning solar panels occasionally, reseeding a lawn that has gotten a little bare, or evaluating the chimney with a chimney sweep – but make sure that you address them head-on, since preventative maintenance in many cases is much cheaper and more effective than waiting for a major problem with your home. When you go to sell sometime in the future and buy a new home, you’ll be glad you did!