A Buyer’s Guide: Affordable Home Maintenance

As a potential home buyer, you probably have a handle on how much you can afford in terms of a monthly mortgage payment consisting of principle, interest, taxes and insurance. Bonus points if you are also considering HOA fees and have researched average utility bills for the size and type of home you are seeking. Understanding the monthly financial impact of a home purchase puts you in control as a homeowner, and helps ensure you will enjoy stability in your home for years to come.

One aspect of home ownership that buyers sometimes forget to factor in is home maintenance.

If neglected, basic home maintenance that might have cost you just a few dollars on the front end can turn into expensive repairs; preventative maintenance on your home is similar to scheduling regular oil changes for your vehicle. You can avoid basic maintenance and cross your fingers disaster doesn’t come calling, or you can educate yourself on the basics and invest a little time and money now to avoid costly repairs later.

Preventative Home Maintenance Checklist


Clean leaves and debris from window wells.

Remove debris (leaves, snow, etc.) from around the foundation of your home to prevent buildup and moisture issues.

Vacuum weekly (or more) to extend the life of your carpets.


Check your furnace filter and replace if necessary.

Inspect dishwasher and under all sinks (kitchen and bathroom) for leaks.

Keep shower heads free of mineral deposits with vinegar or a CLR.

Maintain drains by flushing with baking soda and hot water; try baking soda and vinegar for slow drains.

Pour water down unused drains and flush seldom-used toilets.

Vacuum heating vents & registers; remove grates and use a damp paper towel to clean just inside heating vents for debris like dust and pet hair; if grates are dirty (as they might be in a kitchen or bathroom), run the grates by themselves in the hot cycle of your dishwasher.

Test GFCIs in your home.

Vacuum the coils on your refrigerator.


Seal cracks in stucco; repair siding; touch up exterior paint.

Clean carpets professionally.

Drain your water heater and check the pressure valve.

Check and clean septic tank.

Contact pest control services for prevention or removal if you live in an area with termite or carpenter ant concerns.

Remove lint from your dryer vent/hose to prevent a fire.

Inspect expiration date/pressure on all home fire extinguishers.

Inspect radiators and convectors for hot water heat systems.

Have a qualified roofing pro inspect the roof for damaged shingles or leaks. Have your chimney cleaned (can do this every two years with minimal fireplace use).


Test and change batteries in smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.

Install or replace weather stripping; if you can feel wind blow through a closed window or see sunlight around a closed exterior door, you are wasting energy and money.

Change your AC filter; clean dust/debris from around your exterior compressor unit.

Inspect and repair window screens to keep bugs out.

Hose down the exterior of the house; scrub any visible mildew on exterior surfaces and treat decks/patios for mildew with stain or sealant developed for that purpose.

Trim trees and shrubs, ensuring no direct contact with the exterior of your home; have dead plants/trees/shrubs removed.

Clean window and sliding door tracks to ensure proper operation, using silicone spray or lubricant to keep tracks sliding smoothly where necessary.


Test and change batteries in smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.

Have a licensed technician inspect/service your gas heating system.

Have wood burning fireplaces inspected/cleaned/repaired every 1-2 years, depending on use.

For hot water heat systems, drain the expansion tank, check water pressure and bleed the radiators.

Replace floor mats at all outside entrances to prevent excess dirt/moisture from entering the home.  

Check out our full post on Preparing Your Home for Cold Weather.

If you are comfortable getting your hands dirty once a year or looking up DIY info onYouTube, you can complete the majority of these preventative home maintenance tasks yourself. For trickier jobs or an older home, you may consider hiring a professional to complete annual inspections of some of the systems in your home.

Preventative home maintenance costs pennies on the dollar compared to major repair or replacement of the systems that keep your home running safely and comfortably. If you are in need of a professional to assist in inspecting or repairing any aspect of your home, give us a call here at the TRELORA office. We’re in touch with qualified professionals able to help with every area of home maintenance and repair, and we’re happy to connect you.