Home Maintenance for First Time Home Buyers

by | Feb 1, 2024

Ah yes, home maintenance for first time home buyers – the joys! Well first off, congratulations on becoming a first-time home buyer! Owning a home is a significant achievement. Not to scare you now that you’ve made the leap, but yes – it does also come with a little added responsibility in the form of maintenance. Taking care of your new property is crucial to ensuring its longevity, maintaining its value, and creating a comfortable living environment for you and your family. By developing good maintenance habits from the beginning, you can prevent costly repairs down the road. Home maintenance involves regular cleaning, inspection, and addressing potential issues promptly. Below are some essential tips for maintaining your new home.

Essential Tools for the Home Maintenance First Timer

  • Go ask any tradesperson how much more difficult their job would be without the proper tools. You can expect a big sigh, some laughter, a couple of groans, and maybe even an “oh boy”. It’s essential to have the right tools on hand, and they know it. As a Calgary Home Inspector I know how valuable my own tools are for diagnosing your home. With that, here are some basic tools to make home maintenance for first time home buyers a bit easier:

     

    1. Screwdriver set: For various tasks, such as tightening loose screws or assembling furniture.
    2. Hammer: Ideal for hanging pictures or making minor repairs.
    3. Pliers: Useful for gripping, twisting, and turning objects.
    4. Tape measure: Essential for measuring spaces and ensuring accuracy.
    5. Utility knife: Handy for opening packages or cutting materials.
    6. Flashlight: Essential for investigating dark areas or during power outages.
    7. Step ladder: Provides safe access to high areas. Think of smoke alarms.
    8. Adjustable wrench: For loosening or tightening nuts and bolts of various sizes.

    Having these tools readily available will make tackling maintenance tasks more convenient and efficient. Best of all, if you’re frugal about it a set-up like this should only run you $100-$150.

    Home Maintenance for First Time Home Buyer
    Furnace Home Maintenance Inspection
    Roof Gutter Home Maintenance
    Dryer Home Maintenance
    Smoke Alarm Home Maintenance for First Time Home Buyers

    Regular Cleaning and Maintenance Tasks

    • Regular cleaning and maintenance tasks are the foundation of home care. By incorporating these tasks into your routine, you can keep your home clean, organized, and functioning optimally.

      Cleaning and Organizing

      Start by establishing a regular cleaning schedule. Dedicate time each week to clean and organize different areas of your home, including:

      • Dusting surfaces and furniture
      • Vacuuming or mopping floors
      • Cleaning windows and mirrors
      • Washing bedding and linens
      • Clearing clutter and organizing storage spaces

      Maintaining a clean and organized living space not only promotes a healthier environment but also helps you identify any issues or repairs needed. You don’t need to complete all of these tasks every week, so cycle through them as needed. 

      Checking and Replacing Filters

      Filters play a crucial role in maintaining the air quality and efficiency of various systems in your home. Remember to check and replace the following filters regularly:

      • HVAC filters: Replace every three months or as recommended by the manufacturer.
      • Range hood filters: Clean or replace every few months.
      • Vacuum cleaner filters: Clean or replace according to the vacuum’s manual.
      • Water filters: Replace as recommended by the manufacturer.

      By keeping filters clean and replacing them when necessary, you can ensure optimal performance and extend the lifespan of your appliances. If you need help, set-up recurring buys on Amazon for these items. Then you know when they show up it’s time for you to perform a little home maintenance again. 

      Inspecting and Cleaning Gutters

      Gutters are designed to direct rainwater away from your home, preventing water damage. Regularly inspect and clean your gutters to ensure they are free from debris and functioning correctly. Here’s how:

      1. Wear gloves and use a sturdy ladder to access the gutters.
      2. Remove leaves, twigs, and other debris by hand or with a scoop.
      3. Flush the gutters with a hose to remove any remaining debris.
      4. Check for any leaks or damage and repair as needed.

      Maintaining clean gutters will prevent water overflow and protect your home’s foundation and exterior from water-related issues. Given the heights and involvement of ladders this task may not be suited to every first time home buyer. Instead budget to have a professional maintain the gutters if you know you’re not comfortable with the task. 

      Maintaining Appliances

      Home appliances require regular maintenance to function efficiently and prolong their lifespan. Follow these tips to keep your appliances in top shape:

      1. Refrigerator: Clean the coils, check the door seals, and defrost if necessary.
      2. Dishwasher: Clean the filter, remove any residue, and inspect for leaks.
      3. Oven and stove: Clean spills promptly and check burner elements or igniters.
      4. Washing machine: Clean the lint trap, hoses, and drum regularly. Check around the door seal for any debris you can remove.
      5. Dryer: Clean the lint trap after each use (this is an ongoing battle in my household) and inspect the vent for blockages. 

      Regular maintenance of your appliances will not only save you money on repairs but also improve their performance and energy efficiency.

      Testing and Replacing Batteries

      See, now we need that step ladder – smoke detectors and carbon monoxide alarms are critical for your family’s safety. Test these devices monthly and replace batteries at least once a year. Mark your calendar or set a reminder to ensure you never overlook this essential task. You can celebrate the anniversary of your home purchase with a prompt battery swap throughout the house!

    Exterior Home Maintenance for First Time Home Buyers

    • The exterior of your home is exposed to the elements whether it be rain, snow, wind, solar, or hail. In Calgary, your home quite possibly needs to withstand the wear and tear that comes from all of those elements within the same 24 hour span. Here are some essential tasks for maintaining the exterior of your home:

      Inspecting Roof and Shingles

      The roof is one of the most critical components of your home’s structure. Regularly inspect it for any signs of damage, such as missing shingles or leaks. Even if you’re only doing so from the ground level. If you notice any issues, consider hiring a professional roofer for repairs or maintenance.

      Cleaning Windows and Doors

      Clean windows and doors not only enhance your home’s appearance but also improve energy efficiency. Use a mild cleaning solution and a squeegee to clean windows, and wipe down doors to remove dirt and grime. Inspect for any cracks, gaps, or damaged weatherstripping and address them promptly.

      Maintaining the Lawn and Garden

      A well-maintained lawn and garden contribute to your home’s curb appeal. Follow these tips to keep your outdoor spaces looking their best:

      1. Regularly mow the lawn to maintain a healthy grass length.
      2. Water the lawn, plants and shrubs adequately. Follow any local guidelines if applicable. I know Calgary’s neighbouring homeowners in Chestermere have designated watering days. 
      3. Remove weeds and unwanted plants from your garden beds.
      4. Prune trees and shrubs to promote healthy growth and prevent overgrowth.

      Checking and Repairing Siding

      Inspect your home’s siding for any signs of damage, such as cracks, rot, or loose panels. Depending on the type of siding, you may need professional assistance for repairs or replacements. Addressing siding issues promptly prevents further damage and maintains your home’s exterior aesthetics.

    • Check Inlet and Exhaust Vents

      While you’re working your way around the home to inspect the exterior have a quick look at all of the inlet and exhaust vents to make sure they’re not blocked or clogged. If they are, be sure to clear any debris so that your home can transfer air and moisture between the house and outside environment. 

    Interior Home Maintenance for First Time Home Buyers

    • While the exterior of your home protects you from the elements, the interior requires regular maintenance to ensure a comfortable and safe living environment. Consider the following aspects:

    • Monitoring Plumbing Systems

      Inspect your plumbing system for leaks, dripping faucets, or running toilets. These issues can lead to water damage and increased water bills. If you notice any plumbing problems, consider hiring a professional plumber to address them promptly. When you discover a leak, check for a shut-off valve specific to that fixture and turn the water to it off to prevent further damage until it can be repaired. 

      Inspecting Electrical Systems

      Electrical issues can pose significant safety hazards. Regularly check your electrical system for any signs of wear, damage, or overheating. If you notice flickering lights, tripping breakers, or outlets that don’t work, consult a licensed electrician for further inspection and repairs. Replacing cracked face plates and burnt-out light bulbs are more DIY friendly, but anything behind the walls or ceiling is best left to professionals.

      Maintaining HVAC Systems

      Your heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system plays a crucial role in maintaining a comfortable indoor environment. Follow these maintenance tips:

      1. Replace HVAC filters regularly to improve air quality and system efficiency.
      2. Clean air vents and registers to ensure proper airflow.
      3. Check the dampers to ensure they’re opened or closed, as desired. 
      4. Schedule professional HVAC inspections and tune-ups annually.
      5. Keep outdoor units clear of debris, such as leaves or grass.

      Maintaining your HVAC system will help prolong its lifespan, reduce energy consumption, and ensure optimal performance.

      Checking for Water Damage

      Water damage can be costly to repair and pose health risks. Regularly inspect your home for signs of water damage, such as stains, mold, or musty odors. Address the source of the water intrusion and consult professionals if needed to prevent further damage and ensure a healthy living environment.

    Main Water Valve First Time Home Buyer
    Toilet Valve First Time Home Buyer

    Safety and security of your new home

    • Keeping your home and family safe should be a top priority. Here are some essential safety and security measures to implement:

    • Installing Smoke Detectors and Carbon Monoxide Alarms

      Place smoke detectors on each level of your home and outside each sleeping area. Install carbon monoxide alarms near bedrooms and fuel-burning appliances. Test these devices monthly and replace batteries as necessary.

      Ensuring Proper Lighting

      Well-lit homes deter potential intruders and improve safety. Ensure adequate lighting at entrances, pathways, and dark areas around your home. Consider installing motion sensor lights for added security and energy efficiency.

      Securing Doors and Windows

      Protect your home from burglaries by ensuring all doors and windows have sturdy locks, and latches. Regularly check and maintain the condition of door and window frames to ensure proper sealing. Consider installing deadbolts, security bars, or smart locks for enhanced security. Smart locks can be conveniently scheduled to “lock all doors” at your bedtime. This means no more climbing out of bed to check if you remembered to lock the front door.

    Seasonal Home Maintenance Tips

    • Different seasons bring unique maintenance requirements for your home. Here are some tips to help you stay on top of seasonal maintenance tasks:

    • Spring Home Maintenance

      • Clean gutters and downspouts.
      • Inspect and clean outdoor furniture.
      • Prepare your garden and lawn for planting.
      • Service your air conditioning system.

      Summer Home Maintenance

      • Monitor and water your lawn and garden regularly.
      • Check and clean outdoor vents and air conditioning units.
      • Inspect and repair any cracks or gaps in the driveway or walkways.
      • Test and maintain pool or spa equipment if applicable.

      Fall Home Maintenance

      • Clean gutters and downspouts again.
      • Rake leaves and remove debris from the lawn.
      • Inspect and clean chimneys and fireplaces.
      • Service your heating system and replace filters.

      Winter Home Maintenance

      • Insulate exposed pipes to prevent freezing.
      • Clear snow and ice from walkways and driveways promptly.
      • Monitor your roof for ice dams and remove them if necessary.
      • Check and maintain your heating system.
    Ice Dams Home Maintenance Inspection

    Budgeting for Home Maintenance as a First Time Home Buyer

    • Home maintenance requires financial planning. Here are some tips to help you budget effectively:

    • Creating a Maintenance Fund

      Set aside a portion of your monthly budget for home maintenance expenses. Create an emergency fund specifically for unexpected repairs or replacements. By budgeting for maintenance, you’ll be prepared for any unexpected expenses that may arise.

      Estimating and Planning for Expenses

      Research and estimate the costs of routine maintenance tasks and any foreseeable repairs. This will help you allocate funds accordingly and prioritize essential tasks. It’s also wise to obtain multiple quotes when hiring professionals to ensure you get the best value for your money.

    Welcome to the Home Maintenance Club First Time Buyers!

    • As a first-time home buyer, understanding and implementing home maintenance practices are essential to the longevity and value of your investment. By following these tips, you can keep your home in excellent condition, ensure the safety and comfort of your family, and avoid costly repairs in the future.

      Don’t forget to create a maintenance schedule, stay organized, and address issues promptly. Regular maintenance will pay off in the long run, providing you with a beautiful, well-maintained home that you can enjoy for years to come.

      Owning a home is an exciting milestone, and it’s well worth it to prioritize its upkeep!