Purchasing a home is just the first step to complete ownership. After you get the title deed and start living on the property, the responsibility to manage and keep it well-maintained will lie on your shoulders.
It can, however, be difficult to keep up with home maintenance tasks. With today’s fast-paced lifestyles, it can be easy to fall behind on maintenance and neglect important things.
Fortunately, there are a few steps you can take to track and organize home maintenance. Whether you’re the busy or the forgetful type, the following suggestions will help ensure you’re able to stay on top of home maintenance.
1. Create an Organized List
The first step is to create a home maintenance list that features all of the tasks that need to be performed. Put it in a place where you’re unlikely to lose it, such as on the kitchen cabinet’s back, and then take action with 2-5 projects. Simultaneously, update your family calendar to include some of these tasks based on what each family member is capable of handling.
Do all of this with a realistic mindset, analyzing how many tasks can be realistically performed in a day. In addition, don’t be shy of getting outside help for things that couldn’t be done throughout the week, as they’ll only add to the list.
2. Leverage your smartphone
Today’s devices come with several features that help track important tasks. You can, for instance, download a reminder app on your Android device or iPhone to supplement your real-life home maintenance list. Having notifications pop up telling what type of maintenance and cleaning tasks are due in the day can help you plan things out and increase your overall productivity.
With the right set of apps, you can also schedule to-dos over specific intervals and create notifications as to when they are ready to be reviewed again. Doing it all on your phone also means you have a digital list that you can refer to at any time (there’s less risk of water spillage and misplaced lists as well).
3. Focus on different areas of your home
There are several ways you can categorize your house in smaller areas and work on each area in a given season. For example, you can complete the maintenance related to the front area of your home and the kitchen during the Fall season. In Winters, you can tackle rooms with a lot of clutter as well as bathroom problems that could result in water damage. Because you’ll be spending most of your time indoors, it makes sense to focus on these areas first.
Then, when Spring arrives, look for weather related damage and prep up your yard to enjoy the sunshine. You’ll also want to tidy up indoor spaces/rooms that could have a potential impact on outdoor maintenance, such as where gardening supplies are placed.
4. Create a budget
Home maintenance doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg if you can determine the activities, identify potential costs, and then decide whether you or a third-party will perform those activities. Having an idea of your home’s age can also be helpful when it comes to creating an annual budget for home maintenance. The common rule of thumb is that if your property is less than three years old, you can spend up to 1 percent of its value on its maintenance.
On the other hand, if it’s over a decade old, expect to spend around 4 to 5 percent of the property value. That’s not bad considering home maintenance has a profound impact on the resale value.
5. Decide between DIY and outsourcing
Organizing home maintenance could involve doing something as simple as cleaning the vent of the stove to reduce the risk of kitchen fire. This can be done by an experienced professional who conducts bi-annual checks of your units or by you (the homeowner). Many tasks are best left to an expert, especially if you’re not experienced with handling particular equipment.
Other tasks can be easily handled by the homeowner, but just require some time. With that said, busy homeowners can consider recruiting a handyman to coordinate home maintenance tasks regularly to ensure that they’re finished on time. The handyman may even have contacts with other experienced professionals who can help with carrying out the tasks.
6. Check for warranties
Many tools, air conditioners, furnaces, and services conducted come with some sort of warranty. Some vendors even require homeowners to register the item and keep warranty details safe for the warranty to be valid. Make sure to keep all of your warranties together in a binder, or save digital copies of them in an email inbox.
This way, if you need to make a claim for something, you’ll know where to find the relevant details. It’s also a good idea to review the warranties on an annual basis to remove outdated documents. Why would you secure the warranty of a television that you sold last month? It’d only increase the clutter.
7. Keep receipts for outsourced tasks
Did you know that you can get tax credits by keeping receipts for the payments you’ve made to the handyman and other professionals? It’s the reality. In fact, keeping maintenance receipts and work orders is also useful when a maintenance invoice needs a dispute.
For example, you may hire electricians to fix attic fans during the summers, but the company that sent those electricians may include the installation of thermostats in the bill. If the electricians only fixed the current units and did not replace the older ones, you can file a dispute with the company to save on costs. That’s how you keep home maintenance costs low.
Your turn now! Track and organize those home maintenance tasks. If you can’t perform them by yourself, hire someone to help you take care of things. Though it may take some time, future buyers will admire how you took care of your property and might even be willing to give you a higher price than what you quote. Avoid burnout and unorganized home maintenance with these tips.