Checklists work because they contain the important things that need to be done. They provide a reminder about things we know and realize but may have slipped our minds as well as inform us about things we didn't consider. Periodic attention to these areas can protect the investment in your home.
- Change HVAC filters regularly. Consider purchasing a supply of the correct sizes needed online and they'll even remind you when it's time to order them again.
- Change batteries in smoke and carbon monoxide detectors annually.
- Create and regularly update a Home Inventory to keep track of personal belongings in case of burglary or casualty loss.
- Keep track of capital improvements, with a Homeowners Tax Guide, made to your home throughout the year that increases your basis and lowers gain.
- Order free credit reports from all three bureaus once a year at www.AnnualCreditReport.com.
- Challenge your property tax assessment when you receive that year's assessment when you feel that the value is too high. We can supply the comparable sales and you can handle the rest.
- Establish a family emergency plan identifying the best escape routes and where family members should meet after leaving the home.
- If you have a mortgage, verify the unpaid balance and if additional principal payments were applied properly. Use a Equity Accelerator to estimate how long it will take to retire your mortgage.
- Keep trees pruned and shrubs trimmed away from house to enhance visual appeal, increase security and prevent damage.
- Have heating and cooling professionally serviced annually.
- Check toilets periodically to see if they're leaking water and repair if necessary.
- Clean gutters twice a year to control rainwater away from your home to protect roof, siding and foundation.
- To identify indications of foundation issues, periodically, check around perimeter of home for cracks in walls or concrete. Do doors and windows open properly?
- Peeling or chipping paint can lead to wood and interior damage. Small areas can be touched-up but multiple areas may indicate that the whole exterior needs painting.
- If there is a chimney and fires are burned in the fireplace, it will need to be inspected and possibly cleaned.
- If the home has a sprinkler system, manually turn the sprinklers on, one station at a time to determine if they are working and aimed properly. Evaluate if the timers are set properly. Look for pooling water that could indicate a leak underground.
- Have your home inspected for termites.
Instead of remembering when you need to do these different things, use your calendar to create a system. As an example, make a new appointment with "change the HVAC filters" in the subject line. Select the recurring event button and decide the pattern. For instance, set this one for monthly, every two months with no end date. You can schedule a time or just an all-day event will show at the top of your calendar that day.
By scheduling as many of these items as you can, you won't forget that they need to be done. If you don't delete them from the calendar, you'll continue to be "nagged" until you finally do them.
If you have questions or need a recommendation of a service provider, give us a call at (301) 384-8700. We deal with issues like this regularly and have experience with workers who are reputable and reasonable.