A new year means it is time to break those deplorable habits that are hurting your home.
The damage it sustains—scratches on the hardwood floors, a neglected leaky spot on the ceiling—will one day come back and take a bite out of your finances in the guise of costly repairs.
“It’s tempting for homeowners to get caught up in dreaming about the cool stuff they plan to do—the kitchen makeover with the big, six-burner commercial-grade stove, or the dinner parties on the yet-to-be-built backyard deck,” said remodeling expert John Riha.
“But good homeownership is in the details, like doing regular maintenance and smaller routine projects that can head off major repair bills,” he told Realtor.com
People can save time and money by breaking a few bad home-owning habits like the ones below.
Thinking “If it’s not broke, don’t fix it.” Wrong! Appliances, furnaces, paint jobs, and hardwood floors all need regular maintenance, whether they look as if they need it or not. Home exteriors need to be repainted every four or five years, before you see peel or rot. HVAC filters should be cleaned or replaced every month.
Granite should be sealed every year before stains form. So try this new habit: When you buy or install something, read and obey maintenance instructions, which will keep your home working well and looking good longer.
Wearing shoes inside. Shoes scuff floors, stain carpets, and deliver dust, dander, and disease into your home.
A University of Houston study found that 39 percent of shoes contained Clostridium difficile, aka C. diff, which causes bad diarrhea and is increasingly resistant to antibiotics.
Realtor.com advises that people leave comfy socks or slippers at the entry door and slip into them when they or guests enter a home. Foot coverings are better than going barefoot. Skin produces oil and sweat, which isn’t good for flooring, either.
Tossing cleaning tablets in toilet tanks. Sure, they’re an easy way to clean your toilet. But eventually the chemicals will corrode the plastic parts that keep a toilet flushing.
Instead, use a little elbow grease and scrub with a brush, or use a flush-by-flush product that is attached to the bowl, not the tank.
Packing stuff under the deck. It’s alright to store some, say, patio furniture under a deck. But if you pack that storage space with everything, you’ll trap moisture that can warp decking. Always keep at least one foot of space between stuff and the joists.
Smoking inside. Even if you don’t care about your health, care about the health of your investment when cigarette smoke seeps into walls and floors.
“Stop smoking in the house. When it comes time to sell, you’ll be glad you did,” said Realtor Lee Williams.
If you must smoke, do it outside, away from windows and doors that could allow smoke to seep in.
Using closets to hide clutter. Clutter makes a home look messy, small, and uncared for. Stop letting mail accumulate, keeping clothes you don’t wear, books you won’t reread, and dishes you’ll never use.
You don’t have to declutter in a week-long sweep; you can do it little by little. Every day, find one or two things you don’t use, put them in a bag or box, then donate, gift, or sell them when the container is full.
Ignoring small problems. It’s easy to ignore a small wet spot on the ceiling, or a slight musty smell in the basement. But you disregard these small problems at your peril.
A wet spot on your ceiling can mean anything from cracks around roof vent collars to missing or failing roof shingles. A persistent musty smell could mean mold is growing. These conditions are easy to fix at the beginning. But if you wait, you’ll spend more repairing small problems that have become big problems.