If you own a home, you know that it’s more than just a place to live – it’s an investment. Like any investment, you need to care for your home in order to prevent small problems from becoming major issues.
We’ll break your home’s needs down into a straightforward, yearly home maintenance guide – season-by-season. Let’s get started!
The importance of annual home maintenance
Before we dive into the annual home maintenance checklist, let’s highlight a few of the benefits of taking care of your home.
Keep your home – and your family – safe
Maintenance issues can quickly become safety issues. There are over 32,000 electrical fires per year in the United States, many of which are caused by improperly maintained electrical systems. It’s not just faulty wiring that can put you at risk – a small leak can turn into a costly, dangerous mold issue. Proactive yearly home maintenance can prevent serious harm.
Keep your property value rising
There's earning potential in a well-cared-for home. Research indicates that consistent maintenance could boost your home's resale value by as much as 1% annually. On a $375,000 property, you could gain an additional $3,750 in home wealth each year.
Prevent big-ticket maintenance issues down the road
Deferred maintenance comes with a cost – according to some studies, $4 later, for each $1 saved now. Neglecting annual maintenance could culminate in $27,000 in expenses over a decade. The good news is that your home’s fate is in your hands – you can take proactive steps to manage your maintenance, perform regular checks, and save for bigger-ticket items. This will keep your average home maintenance costs per year lower.
Improve energy efficiency
Basic maintenance, such as sealing gaps around your windows and doors, can translate into big savings for your monthly energy bills – and help the environment, too.
Your yearly home maintenance checklist
As a homeowner, the average annual costs of home maintenance – and the long task list – can feel overwhelming. That’s why we’re breaking it down by seasons. Let’s start with spring – everyone’s favorite season for kicking off home improvement tasks.
Spring – your annual home maintenance checklist
Spring is a time of renewal – let’s apply that to your home with these key tasks.
Inspect the exterior of your home
The winter season can be harsh on the exterior of your home, which makes spring the ideal time to perform a health check.
Action item: Examine your roof for any loose tiles, inspect your gutters, and look for cracks in your home's siding.
Expert insight: Typical roof repairs cost an average of $1,000 – which is much less than replacing your roof, which can cost $10,000.
Take care of your landscaping
Help your plants spring into growth mode by putting in some work landscaping.
Action item: Trim your trees and bushes, lay down some mulch, and think about planting seasonal flowers or veggies.
Expert insight: A well-landscaped home can increase your property's resale value by 12%-15%.
Check in with your AC
Don't wait for a heatwave to find out your AC broke down over the long winter.
Action item: Schedule a professional AC checkup.
Expert insight: A regular tune-up costs between $75 and $200 but can increase your AC's efficiency by up to 15%. This proactive approach is far better than facing an average repair cost of $350 – or having to replace your AC during peak demand season.
Prioritize your spring cleaning
Everything starts fresh in spring – take some time to say goodbye to your clutter.
Action item: Organize your home and get rid of unnecessary items and clutter.
Expert insight: Clutter isn’t just inconvenient – it could be dangerous. Stacks of boxes or densely-placed furniture increase your fire risk.
When you put the time in to take care of your home and garden in the spring, you’ll be able to enjoy the fruits of your labor throughout the year.
Summer – your annual home maintenance checklist
Summer is a wonderful time to enjoy your home and outdoor spaces – make the most of it with these tasks.
Take care of your deck and patio
Preserve your outdoor oasis with some preventative care.
Action item: Clean and apply a sealant to your deck or patio.
Expert insight: A well-maintained deck can add up to 2.5% to your home’s resale value. The cost of cleaning and sealing is much lower than the potential $2,000+ for serious repairs.
Touch up your exterior
Curb appeal – a pleasing exterior – can add 7% to a home’s sale price. Keep up with care now to reap the rewards when you sell.
Action item: Touch up any exterior paint that's peeling or faded.
Expert insight: A full exterior paint job may average around $2,800 but can extend the life of your siding, potentially saving you thousands of dollars in the long run.
Inspect your grill
Don’t risk the grill fizzling out during one of your family’s summer barbeques.
Action item: Inspect your grill's propane tanks, hoses, and burners.
Expert insight: Keeping your outdoor appliances in good condition can extend their lifespan toward the upper end of the 5-10-year range, saving you money on replacements.
Care for your pool
If you have a pool, get set for a summer of use. A clean pool is an enjoyable pool.
Action Item: Check the water's pH levels and examine your pool’s filtration system.
Expert insight: Regular upkeep can avoid average repair costs of $650 – or even more.
Remember – your home is more than just a place to live; it’s a significant investment requiring strategic care.
Fall – your annual home maintenance checklist
Autumn is a time to enjoy the last of the warm weather, the colorful fall foliage – and to prepare your home for the winter.
Check in with your heating system
Action Item: Schedule your annual furnace check-up.
Expert insight: The service will likely cost between $160 and $300. This helps prevent the cost (and stress) of an emergency mid-winter replacement.
Seal air leaks for maximum efficiency
Action item: Caulk any gaps in your windows and doors.
Expert insight: Some DIY caulking can save you up to 20% on heating costs, which can really add up over a chilly winter.
Protect your outdoor furniture and tools
Action item: Clean and store your outdoor furniture and garden tools.
Expert insight: Avoid replacement costs by protecting your goods from the elements.
Prepare your lawn and garden
Action item: Fertilize, mulch, and weed.
Expert insight: Landscaping boosts home resale value by 15-20%.
Get set for a comfortable, efficient winter by being proactive this fall.
Winter – your annual home maintenance checklist
Whether you live in a mild climate or get heaps of snow, winter comes with special challenges for your home.
Protect your plumbing
Action item: Insulate exposed pipes in unheated spaces.
Expert insight: Repair costs for burst pipes can be prohibitively expensive, as much as $5,000. $100 of insulation can save you from an emergency repair.
Check on your roof and attic
Action item: Schedule a professional roof and attic inspection.
Expert insight: Preventing a leak before it happens can save you thousands of dollars in water damage remediation costs.
Inspect your chimney
Action item: Get your annual chimney sweep and inspection.
Expert insight: For between $100 and $200, this service can prevent a dangerous, destructive chimney fire.
Stay safe – and save money – this winter with a little preventive maintenance.
Your year-round guide to home maintenance
These key home maintenance tasks will keep your home safe and running smoothly throughout the year.
Keep an eye on your appliances
Action item: Conduct monthly check-ups for refrigerator coils, oven heating elements, and washer hoses.
Expert insight: Extending the lifespan of your refrigerator to 17 years avoids replacement costs that range from $1,000 to $3,000 – or as much as $7,000 for a top-end model.
Put in new HVAC filters
Action item: Replace HVAC filters quarterly.
Expert insight: A new filter can result in up to 15% savings on heating costs and prolong the lifespan of your HVAC system.
Don’t forget about your water heater
Action item: Drain sediment from your water heater annually.
Expert insight: Maintaining your water heater can avoid a costly bill for water damage remediation.
Check your safety detectors
Action item: Test smoke and carbon monoxide detectors monthly and change their batteries twice a year.
Expert insight: This minor task can save lives – and potentially earn you discounts on home insurance.
Print and put up a checklist or set calendar reminders to keep you on track.
Financial strategies for home maintenance
Managing your household comes with costs – let’s talk about budgeting for regular home maintenance and repairs.
Set a home maintenance budget
Your budget will depend on the age and location of your home, so make sure you aim for a higher estimate if you live in an older home or an area with a severe climate.
Action item: Allocate 1-4% of your home's value to estimate your annual maintenance budget.
Expert tip: Put funds in a high-yield savings account every month towards your maintenance budget.
Leverage digital aides
Use budgeting apps and set up automated transfers to your dedicated home maintenance savings account.
Expert insight: Automated savings take thought out of the equation and make it easier to meet your financial goals.
Get the whole family involved
Involve your family in routine maintenance and educate them on how to properly care for your home. Many hands make light work, and you’ll be surprised at how many tasks you can DIY together – just leave the risky tasks to the adults (or the professionals).
Remember your home is an investment
It’s easy to overlook basic home upkeep as just a chore, but it’s actually maintaining your most valuable asset. Regular upkeep is not just an expense; it’s an investment that can significantly increase your home's value.
Expert insight: If you’re having trouble affording your annual home maintenance, consider leveraging your home equity with a HELOC or a Home Equity Investment (HEI). Your home wealth can pay for your home’s care.
Your maintenance routines should be viewed not just as an expense, but as an investment that yields both financial returns and quality-of-life dividends. By sticking to a regular maintenance calendar, you’ll make your home both safer and more valuable.