Homeownership 101: A Maintenance Calendar for Clients
The average homeowner has a net worth up to 40 times higher than that of renters. But, as seasoned homeowners know, there’s a massive amount of work that goes into weekly, monthly, and annual maintenance of their investment—whether it’s a fixer-upper or new construction. For first-time homebuyers, all the tasks ordinarily tackled by a landlord or property manager may be a new responsibility to take on. And, without guidance, keeping track of the numerous tasks that keep a property in good order can be overwhelming.
As someone who deals with properties regularly, you can shorten your clients’ learning curve by helping them build an annual homeowner maintenance calendar. To get you started, we’ve listed a few (but certainly not all) of the most important tasks in this blog. This tool will suggest separating tasks seasonally to help clients keep track of what needs to be done, but many of these duties can and should be performed throughout the year.
With the holidays approaching and the new year right around the corner, there’s no better time for your clients to catch up on past-due maintenance and plan to stay on top of the tasks that will keep their homes clean, safe, and in good order!
- Clean the dryer vent. Over time, the vent from your dryer will become clogged with lint not trapped by the dust screen—which we hope you’re already cleaning between loads of laundry! Not only will cleaning this vent result in increased appliance efficiency, but it also prevents potential fire hazards.
- Check the home’s foundation for cracks when snow has thawed and soil has likely shifted due to seasonal showers.
- Perform an HVAC checkup. You need to change your HVAC filter every 90 days, but before summer heat sets in, you should clean your vents and registers for optimal efficiency. You should also check outside to make sure no plants have grown over your unit and that its foundation is in good shape. Some additional maintenance tasks are best left to professionals, so this is when you should schedule your annual maintenance appointment with a certified technician.
- Caulk and weatherstrip doors and windows while the weather is warm to make sure cold air stays in and water and bugs stay out. While you’re at it, you should also lubricate doors and hinges to prevent creaks.
- Check for signs of water damage in the attic, underneath sinks, and around other appliances now that the spring showers have subsided.
- Inspect the roof for any damage that it may have incurred because of those rainstorms or hail.
- Flush the water heater before you rely on hot showers that keep you warm in the winter.
- Clean gutters and downspouts. After the trees have finished shedding their leaves and before it gets too cold out!
- Test ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) outlets. These outlets are most often found in kitchen, bathrooms, and laundry rooms, where electrical circuits may accidentally come into contact with water. You can conduct the test by pressing the “test” button or using a multimeter. Over time, these outlets can fail or go bad. The test is something a simple Google search or YouTube video can show you how to do, but if the outlet fails the test, call a professional electrician to make repairs.
- Check smoke and carbon monoxide alarms to make sure they’re working and have full batteries prior or at the beginning of each winter. Winter is when most house fires occur due to increased use of heaters.
- Clear the drain pump on your washing machine. This task should be performed at least every six months on front loading washers, and if your clothes smell mildewy, you know this chore is overdue.
There are numerous other major and minor tasks we simply don’t have the space to cover in this blog. For additional information, check out the following sources:
- This checklist by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s National Center for Healthy Housing.
- How Your House Works by Charles Wing is a wonderful, illustrated guidebook that explains why this maintenance is important and shows how various parts in your house work together.
Where do you direct your clients to learn more about caring for their home? Any tips you always give your clients about maintaining a safe living environment? Let us know on our Facebook page. And don’t forget to subscribe to our newsletter for more insightful articles and research.