Buying a home is the biggest purchase most people will ever make. And while it’s exciting to have a place to call your own, home ownership responsibilities don’t end after you sign your escrow papers-maintaining a house is crucial to its long-term sustainability.
Yet homeowners often overlook aspects of home maintenance, which ends up costing you thousands in the long run. Experts explain what the biggest home maintenance mistakes are. Making them early saves you money over time.
Neglecting Your HVAC System
One common mistake homeowners make is neglecting regular HVAC system maintenance, according to Joshua Martin, a licensed Realtor and the owner and founder of Atticus Home Buyers, a real estate investment firm.
“It’s easy to forget about your heating and cooling system when everything seems to be working fine, but skipping routine maintenance can lead to major issues down the line,” he explained.
For example, failing to clean or replace air filters can cause your HVAC system to work harder, resulting in higher energy bills and potential breakdowns.
“Trust me, a simple filter change can save you a lot of money in the long run,” Martin said.
Ignoring Water Damage and Leaks
Another mistake homeowners make is ignoring small leaks or water damage.
“A tiny drip or a small water stain may not seem like a big deal, but if left unaddressed, it can lead to mold growth, structural damage, and costly repairs,” Martin said.
He urged the importance of promptly fixing any leaks and addressing water damage to prevent further issues and expenses.
Not Cleaning Your Gutters
One of the biggest maintenance (or lack thereof) blunders homeowners make is forgetting to clean the gutter, according to Andy Kolodgie, owner of Property Leads.
“I’ve seen the way gutters clog up and cause water damage, which, if there is no action taken, will cause the foundation of the house to weaken and cost costly repairs. Such an overlooked basic task can make such a [big] dent in your wallet.”
Not Sealing Cracks and Gaps
Cracks and gaps in the home’s exterior not only let in cold air and let warm air escape, but they create an entry point for infiltration of moisture and invasion by pests, Kolodgie said. “This will damage structures and, at the same time, increase expenses on pest control.”
Not Servicing Your Water Heater
If there is no servicing of a water heater, this lack of practice can cause problems and result in reduced efficiency and a shortened lifespan, Kolodgie said, thereby requiring the expensive unit to be replaced.
These seemingly small maintenance oversights can indeed pile up to thousands of dollars in unexpected expenses. “I strongly stress the necessity for your regular home’s upkeep as a prudent investment into preserving its value and not having to avoid financial burdens in time.”
Overlooking Roof Maintenance
Failing to prioritize roof maintenance is a costly mistake, according to Sol Kruk, a licensed home inspector and owner of Property Inspection Pros. “Your roof is your first line of defense against the elements, and neglecting it can lead to severe repercussions,” he said.
Even normal wear and tear can damage or displace shingles, making your home vulnerable to leaks and water damage.
“Without timely intervention, what starts as a small issue can escalate into the need for a full roof replacement, a financial burden that can strain your budget. To avoid such a scenario, it’s imperative to conduct regular roof inspections,” Kruk recommended.
Ignoring Plumbing Issues
Plumbing issues left unattended can turn into a homeowner’s nightmare, Kruk said.
“Even seemingly minor leaks can have a cascading effect, causing extensive damage to your home’s structure and leading to costly repairs,” he said.
This includes dripping faucets, running toilets, and other hidden leaks. These may appear inconsequential, but the cumulative damage they cause can result in significant water-related expenses.
Addressing plumbing problems promptly is crucial to prevent these issues from spiraling out of control.
“A minor leak in a hidden pipe, for instance, can lead to mold growth, compromised structural integrity, and even damage to your home’s foundation,” Kruk warned. “To protect your investment and maintain the value of your property, it’s essential to fix plumbing issues as soon as they arise.”
The costs of inspecting and fixing these kinds of problems early is vastly cheaper than what it will cost you to put these expenses off to later.
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