I remember the first winter after my wife and I bought our first home and a rainstorm sent our gutters spilling over. No one had ever mentioned that cleaning out your gutters was one of the “joys” of owning a home. One of the first things we did when remodeling our Lake Oswego home was install gutter guards.
We were not alone in our homeownership naïveté. The surprising cost of home maintenance is the biggest regret new homeowners have according to a survey by Bankrate.com.
To help ensure you go into your home purchase with your eyes wide open, here are a few other home repairs that new homeowners (especially first-time buyers) might want to budget for.
1. New locks. You’ve met the sellers and they seem like nice folk, but who else once had a copy of the key to your new home? The housekeeper? The dog sitter? Best to play it safe and get all the locks changed so you can control who has a copy.
2. Fireplace cleaning. If your new home has a fireplace, chances are it will get a lot of use this winter. Even though your home inspection may have signed off on the safety of the fireplace, it may not be as clean as it needs to be. Creosote buildup from previous fires can pose a real fire hazard so take a preventive measure and contact a chimney sweep before you light your first fire.
3. Duct cleaning. This is especially important if anyone in your family suffers from allergies and your previous owners had pets. Contaminants in the ducts can irritate family members who are sensitive so once again, being proactive can make your transition that much smoother.
4. HVAC filters. Changing them on a monthly basis will provide for a more efficiently operating system so you might want to purchase them in bulk. Look for ones with allergy reduction elements if someone in your household is sensitive.
5. Tree maintenance. That lovely tree canopy that may have sold you on the house will require regular maintenance to retain its beauty and maintain its safety. Factor in regular trimming to your annual budget and save up if you plan on removing a tree down the road as tree removal can be expensive. Also be sure to check with the city’s planning department for a tree removal permit before you take that step. If you don’t, you could be facing a fine should neighbors report you which they have been known to do. https://www.ci.oswego.or.us/trees
6. Roof cleaning. With Lake Oswego’s combination of trees, rain, occasional snow and shade, it’s a good practice to have your roof inspected once every two to three years. I know that moss can begin growing on certain sections of my roof and if not taken care off can speed its decline. So even though much of your roof may be out of sight, make sure it’s not out of mind and budget for its maintenance.
7. Do-it-yourself home maintenance tasks. In addition to some of the big jobs mentioned above, there are some smaller ones that you can probably manage on your own. They include:
- Resealing tile grout to prevent bacteria and moisture from seeping through
- Testing for water leaks. Take a reading on your water meter followed by a few hours of non-water use. If the meter has edged up in the interim, time to call the plumber.
- Seal stone countertops. After washing and drying your countertops, apply a sealer, let sit for 15 minute sand then wipe off any excess. As with the tile grout, this helps prevent moisture and bacteria from working its way where you don’t want it.
- Wash your clothes dryer lint screen. Even though you may remove the lint on a regular basis, the residue from dyer sheets can build up creating a potential fire hazard as well as reducing the dryer’s efficiency. Soak it in hot water and dish soap, scrub, rinse, and air dry before replacing.
If you need any referrals for any of these services above, give me a call at 503.939.9801. After 30 plus years as a Realtor in Lake Oswego, I’ve acquired quite a list of handymen/women in the area and I’d be happy to set you up with.