For many Americans, the home is the single biggest purchase made during their lifetime. As a result, it's important to do everything possible to keep it in good condition. Even moderate or short-term neglect can be dangerous, as small problems can quickly snowball into larger and more expensive ones.
But homes don't come with an instruction manual, and it can be tough to know each of the dozens of tasks you'll need to do to maintain your home over the years. Below, we'll discuss three of the most important steps you can take to preserve and maintain your home's value.
Eradicate Pests (and Their Habitats)
Termites, rodents, and other unwanted houseguests can wreak havoc on a home's structure and safety. Termites and other wood-boring insects can quickly weaken structural beams, causing your house to sag or lean. Rodents can chew wiring, destroy drywall, and carry serious diseases. And with many pests, there's never just one: once you spot some evidence of a mouse, rat, or roach, it's likely you're dealing with a much larger infestation.
A pest control company can inspect your home for any signs of these potential hazards and recommend a treatment plan. But in addition to pest control, it's important to practice pest prevention. This means doing things like reducing interior clutter (which can provide pests with places to hide); moving large brush piles (a rodent favorite) away from your house; and managing any water leaks (which can attract a variety of insects).
Watch Out for Water
For many homeowners, water can be your worst enemy. From leaky basements to slow plumbing drips to leaf-clogged gutters that dump sheets of water next to your foundation, water can be an incredibly destructive force. And because flowing water takes the path of least resistance, it can quickly transform a minor crack or pinhole leak into a much larger problem. What's more, many leaks and water issues aren't covered by homeowners insurance—flooding caused by groundwater (like a leaking basement) or neglect (like a slowly-leaking toilet) can't usually form the basis for an insurance claim.
This means it's important to monitor and repair any water issues as soon as you notice them. Keep an eye on your water bill; if you notice an uptick in usage even when you haven't changed your habits, this could be caused by a slow leak. For foundation or basement leaking, it may be necessary to install a French drain or have your basement encapsulated so that moisture doesn't travel through the rest of your house. Have the name and number of a plumber handy, and don't be afraid to use it!
Don't Discount Cosmetic Improvements
Some tasks that seem cosmetic—like painting—can actually help maintain the structure of your home. Paint can help protect your drywall from moisture, dirt, dust, and other substances that could damage it. Installing new flooring (with a moisture-repellent underlayment) can protect your subfloor and the support beams below. Keeping a neat lawn can make your home less attractive to rodents, mosquitoes, and other pests. Don't assume that home maintenance is just about the "invisible" tasks—making improvements that help your home look better can improve its function as well.
The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual.
All information is believed to be from reliable sources; however LPL Financial makes no representation as to its completeness or accuracy.