Your Home Maintenance Checklist

person cleaning backyard

Homeownership is an ongoing commitment. Once you’re settled into your dream home and have everything the way you want it – regardless if it’s a new build or a complete renovation – now comes the regular upkeep, which ensures that your home always looks its best and, more importantly, builds equity for years to come. Upkeep is not all about aesthetics, though. In fact, there are several measures every homeowner should take to make sure their home stays in the best shape possible, for a multitude of reasons. Whether it’s cleaning out gutters (yuck), or hiring a professional roof inspector each year, investing time and money to properly maintain your home can help prevent future headaches.

Home maintenance can feel especially daunting for first-time homebuyers, but it doesn’t have to feel overwhelming when taken step-by-step (and bonus – there are several DIY videos out there to get you started!). For now, we’ve created some handy home maintenance checklists to help keep your home in tip-top shape …

Monthly Home Maintenance

These are some quick, easy and inexpensive things to do each month to keep your home in good condition. Many of these items will also help maintain a higher-quality living experience in your home. And, taking these small maintenance steps could help prevent incurring larger maintenance and repair expenses later on.

  • Check carbon monoxide detectors and smoke detectors.
  • Clean range hood and furnace filters.

  • Unclog/clean bathtub and sink drains throughout your home.

  • Check for any leaks around toilets and sinks.

  • Check HVAC system filters. Clean or replace disposable filters when necessary.

Seasonal Home Maintenance

Seasonal maintenance is highly important to maintaining a good home. The good news is, you get a little help from Mother Nature with this list, as the changing of the seasons is a natural reminder to stay on top of these items.

  • Spring & Summer

    • Clean your lawn, removing dead foliage, weeds and debris, as well as prune your trees.

    • Clean debris from gutters.

    • Sweep your deck clean. Then inspect it, looking for signs of cracked wood and loose nails that may need to be addressed. Finish by power washing the surfaces, and doing paint or stain touch-up if needed. 

    • Examine exterior siding to determine if repairs are needed. Sometimes these repairs coincide with repainting the exterior of your home.

    • Power wash your paved driveway, walkway, and/or patio.

    • Sweep the garage floor to remove any winter debris.

    • Check your sump pump to make sure it’s draining properly.

    • And don’t forget everyone’s favorite spring cleaning: your belongings. Everyone knows, it can be amazing the amount of stuff that accumulates in garages, sheds, storage areas, basements and closets – even over just one year. Make sure to donate what you can, and toss what is broken. Some cities have events like “Tidy Town” where you can dispose of your larger broken items for free, instead of incurring a large item pick-up fee from your waste disposal service.

  • Fall & Winter

    • Winterize your central air unit; or, if you have window unit air conditioners, remove them from the windows for the season.

    • Hire a professional to safety check and clean your fireplace and chimney.

    • Before the first freeze of the year, unhook your hose from any outdoor faucets.

    • Remove and store window screens.

    • If your home has storm windows, install them.

    • Service heating systems/furnaces. Check all radiators and surrounding pipes for leaks or cracks.

Annual Home Maintenance

Just like those monthly maintenance items, there are less frequently-timed things you can do each year to keep your home in optimal condition. And again, the following list, if addressed sooner than later, can help save you from bigger, more expensive issues down the line.

  • Clean the dryer exhaust. Make sure that the dryer vent is properly venting to the outside.

  • Drain the hot water heater, cleaning any debris.

  • Clean the septic tank if your sewage collects this way.

  • If you aren’t utilizing a quarterly home pest package, look for signs of termites, and schedule an appointment with an exterminator.

  • Clean your bathroom's exhaust fan grill to avoid dust from building up.

  • Hire a professional to inspect your roof.

Long-Term Home Maintenance

Over the years, various items in your home will incur normal wear and tear, and eventually require repair or replacement. The list could include anything from replacing smoke and carbon monoxide detectors or garage door openers, to sealing grout in the kitchen and bathrooms or replacing caulking around windows and doors. Even longer-term items might include cleaning heating ducts, or even replacing appliances like refrigerators, ranges and dishwashers. The point is, it’s very important to address such items as they arise, to avoid dealing with a large, accumulative bill all at one time later on – especially if you should decide to sell your home eventually. If you are new to homeownership, know that the repair or replacement of some of the more essential items of your home may be covered under a home warranty policy. Regardless, it is important to start saving money to stay on top of these repairs and upgrades as each need crops up.

Homeownership isn’t always easy. And it does call for dedicated, focused attention, as should be obvious based on the maintenance checklists above. But the joys and long-term rewards of homeownership make all the work well worth it. Whether it’s growing your equity or just wanting to take personal pride in your home, a well-executed home maintenance plan can help you achieve these things, and more, for years to come.