To-Do List for Better Homeowners

Checklists work because they contain the important things that need to be done. They provide a reminder about things we know and realize but may have slipped our minds as well as inform us about things we didn’t consider. Periodic attention to these areas can protect the investment in your home.

  1. Change HVAC filters regularly. Consider purchasing a supply of the correct sizes needed online and they’ll even remind you when it’s time to order them again. But, better yet, just jaunt to the hardware store at your leisure and buy ahead – Buy local!
  2. Change batteries in smoke and carbon monoxide detectors annually. Check them each 6 months. Marking the calendar for the first day of Spring and the first day of Fall can help establish the habit.
  3. Create and regularly update a Home Inventory to keep track of personal belongings in case of burglary or casualty loss.
  4. Keep track of capital improvements made to your home throughout the year which increase your basis and lower gain.
  5. Order free credit reports from all three bureaus once a year at www.AnnualCreditReport.com.
  6. Challenge your property tax assessment when you receive that year’s assessment and have some basis for thinking that the value might be too high. I can supply the comparable sales and you can handle the rest.
  7. Establish a family emergency plan identifying the best escape routes and where family members should meet after leaving the home.
  8. If you have a mortgage, verify the unpaid balance and if additional principal payments were applied properly. When making an additional principal payment write a separate check for it and use the note line on your check to label it as such. Use a Equity Accelerator to estimate how long it will take to retire your mortgage.
  9. Keep trees pruned and shrubs trimmed away from house to enhance visual appeal, increase security and help prevent damage moisture, wind and insect damage. The house painter will appreciate it too.
  10. Have heating and cooling professionally serviced annually.
  11. Check toilets periodically to see if they’re leaking water and repair if necessary. The most insidious damage can be caused by a leaking wax ring beneath the base of the toilet. If the the toilet is caulked where the base meets the floor, a leaking wax ring can go undetected.
  12. Clean gutters and downspouts twice a year to insure they’ll function as intended and carry water away from your home to protect roof, siding and foundation.
  13. To identify indications of foundation issues, periodically check around perimeter of home for cracks in walls or concrete. Do doors and windows open properly?
  14. Peeling or chipping paint can lead to wood and interior damage. Small areas can be touched-up but multiple areas may indicate that the whole exterior needs painting.
  15. If there is a chimney and fires are burned in the fireplace, it will need to be periodically inspected and possibly cleaned.
  16. If the home has a sprinkler system, manually turn the sprinklers on, one station at a time to determine if they are working and covering the lawn/landscape as intended. Evaluate if the timers are set properly. Look for pooling water that could indicate a leak underground. Make sure heads near the foundation are adjusted so that water isn’t routinely hitting the house.
  17. Have your home inspected for termites. How often? The more mature the vegetation surrounding your home becomes the more decaying root material there is to attract termites. The shorter the distance from an exhaustible food source to your house, the more attractive is your house. If your next door neighbor has had treatment that source is barricaded and yours looks delicious.

Instead of remembering when you need to do these different things, use your calendar to create a system. As an example, make a new appointment with “change the HVAC filter(s)” in the subject line. Select the recurring event button and decide the pattern. For instance, depending upon the grade of filter you use, set this one for monthly or every three months with no end date. You can schedule a time or just an all-day event will show at the top of your calendar that day. By scheduling as many of these items as you can, you won’t forget that they need to be done.

If you have questions or need a recommendation of a service provider, give me a call at (316) 337-5154.

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