If you recently closed on a home, you might still be obsessing over how much money you’ve financed and acutely aware of the need to keep your property value on the rise to preserve your investment. Whether you’re in this for the long haul or you plan on selling your property in a few years, there are some important things to keep in mind to maximize your home’s value as time goes by.
All the Boxes are Unpacked…Now What?
Unless you’ve purchased a brand-new custom-built home, there are probably several things you plan on changing. First, understand whether the proposed changes or repairs are structural, functional, or cosmetic. For many homeowners, the cosmetic things like paint and cabinetry hardware are the first things that come to mind. However, the real value of your home comes from the “bones” like the foundation, the roof, and the functional components like the plumbing or HVAC system. That’s because these things can be the most expensive to repair if there’s a problem.
In many parts of the country, the most insidious problem is water infiltration, which can cause rot and mold to destroy the home’s livability and property value. This is the most urgent thing to address, so if your home inspection or property appraisal turned up any leaks, fix those first. Roof leaks quietly spread down through every floor of your home and should be repaired by a professional immediately. If you have a basement that feels damp and smells moldy, find a contractor who specializes in basement waterproofing and then install a dehumidifier to stop the spread of mold spores.
Once you’ve addressed the upfront structural or functional issues that could threaten your home’s value, you can move onto the cosmetic updates and begin your annual maintenance schedule. One of the most important things to have inspected and serviced annually is the HVAC system, as a failure with this system can cost thousands of dollars and make the home unlivable until fixed. Andy Lewis, a professional HVAC contractor in Cumming, GA stresses the importance of routinely changing your HVAC filters in-between service calls: “With time, the dust and filtered objects accumulate on the filter(s), restricting the flow of air both in and out of the system, which can be potentially harmful to the equipment.” Filters can be purchased at many stores, and the package tells you the recommended use for each filter (usually 1-3 months).
Keeping your gutters clear can prevent water dams from backing up into your home or causing ice dams that can also lead to leaks. Trim any tree branches directly above or near your roof, siding, or utility lines to prevent damage from occurring in inclement weather. Get to know your utility bills; a sudden increase in your water or electric bill could indicate a leak or appliance problem that needs to be investigated or fixed.
Setting aside a fund for long-term maintenance is a crucial step many homeowners feel unable to do, but this issue comes back to haunt people in the long run and can even cause the property to become uninsurable or damaged due to neglect. A roof can have a functional life of between 7 – 20 years, depending on the type and quality of material used. Knowing when you’ll need to replace it and planning to have the funds available when the time comes can spare your home from water damage. Watch your foundation for cracks or sagging as well and call an expert should foundation issues arise.
With vigilance and regular TLC, you can safeguard your investment and keep your home comfortable for years to come.