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When you’re thinking about putting your home on the market, home improvement tasks become more important than ever. Believe it or not, unresolved maintenance issues are one of the main reasons why pending sales fall apart. If your home is in poor condition, your buyer may request you make time-consuming repairs, give them a costly concession, or cancel the contract altogether.
Instead of letting maintenance problems cut into your home sale profit and timeline, consider tackling them before they even become an issue. In light of that, we’ve brought you the ultimate home maintenance checklist so that you can be ahead of the curve.
That said, if maintenance is not your thing, we’ve still got your back. If you sell your house with Orchard, you can skip this home maintenance checklist altogether. We’ll purchase your house for market price in its current condition.
Interior home maintenance checklist
❏ Invest in regular maintenance: (Spring/Fall) The reality is, if you have central air, the bulk of your HVAC maintenance will need to be done by a qualified professional. Your best bet is to schedule seasonal maintenance check-ups with an HVAC company. Have them visit your home in both the spring and the fall so you can tackle any issues before the major heating and cooling months.
❏ Clear away any debris: (Ongoing) Your air conditioning system can’t be left entirely alone between tune-ups. You can actually help extend the life of your system with some quick maintenance. First, be sure to change the air conditioner filter every month. Next, clean the area around the outdoor unit, so it’s free of debris like leaves and grass clippings.
Water heater and sump pump
❏ Drain the water heater tank: (Every three months) Luckily, you can do most of the maintenance for your water heater without the help of a professional. Every three months, drain about a quarter of the tank to remove any debris or sediment that may have settled at the bottom. To do this, turn off the cold water supply and hook up a garden hose to the drain valve. Allow the water to drain into a bucket until it runs clear. Doing this will help you save on energy and may even help you get more hot water out of your tank.
❏ Test the temperature and pressure relief valve: (Annually) Home maintenance doesn’t get much easier than testing the temperature and pressure relief valve on your water heater. All you need to do is quickly discharge the valve two or three times. Afterward, look out for any leaks that may be coming from the valve.
❏ Get your sump pump serviced: (Annually) You should check to make sure that your sump pump is standing upright and connected to its GFCI outlet every now and then. At a minimum, you’ll also want to have it serviced by a professional at least once a year.
Washer and dryer
❏ Check the exhaust duct: (Annually) It’s a good idea to check the duct running from your dryer to your dryer vent – any blockage is a serious fire risk. To clean it out, you’ll likely need a dryer vent cleaning kit, which has specially-designed brushes. First, run the dryer and verify that air is actually escaping through the vent. Then, use your brushes to wipe away any debris that may have gathered inside. However, if that’s too much effort, you can also call in a pro to do it for you.
❏ Clean the lint filter: (Ongoing) The easiest part of washer and dryer maintenance is checking and cleaning the lint filter. Simply check it and throw away any lint that’s gathered there before running a new cycle. Doing so will not only help you to reduce fire risk but will also help your clothes dry faster.
❏ Test your fire extinguisher: (Every five years) Nobody likes to think about a fire happening in their home, but it’s important to be prepared just in case. Fortunately, a quick glance is enough to make sure that your fire extinguisher is in working order. Newer versions have a pressure gauge with a green section and a red section. As long as the needle on your extinguisher is in the green, you’re good to go. For older versions, you may have to press down a pin to test the pressure. If the pin pops back up after being pressed, your extinguisher is properly pressurized.
❏ Change the batteries in your detectors: (Spring/Fall) Though it may seem like overkill, you should change the batteries in your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors twice a year. While you’re doing that, you should also test all of the detectors according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
Exterior home maintenance checklist
Windows and doors
❏ Apply weather stripping to insulate: (Fall) Air leaks not only make your home feel drafty and cold, but they also inflate your heating bill. You can stop these leaks in their tracks just by applying a bit of weather stripping around the drafty area. These days, most weather stripping is of the peel-and-stick variety, so installation is relatively easy. That said, be sure to measure the area where you’re applying the stripping first so that you get a proper seal. And as a bonus, weather stripping will also protect against the risk of water damage.
❏ Install storm windows: (Spring) Surprisingly, this is one DIY project that’s easier than it sounds. Installing storm windows can help you drastically save on your energy bill. To start, first correctly measure the size of your existing window. The exact measurements you need will depend on the type of window you buy. Once you have the storm window in hand, position it in the middle of your existing window frame, and screw it in place.
❏ Tighten any moving parts: (Annually) After a while, the moving parts of your garage door can start to loosen from daily wear-and-tear. Once a year, you should take a socket wrench and tighten up all the bolts and roller brackets in the door.
❏ Replace the weather stripping: (As needed) Keeping the elements out is crucial to your garage door’s functionality. When it looks like the weather stripping on the door has seen better days, replace it with a new piece.
❏ Look and listen for issues: (Ongoing) To take good care of your garage door, simply pay attention to it. Keep an eye and an ear out for anything that seems out of the ordinary. If something happens that impacts the way your garage door functions, your best bet is to call in a professional.
❏ Boost your curb appeal: (Spring) Along with the spring cleaning that happens inside your house, the exterior of your home also needs some love once spring rolls around. This maintenance tip is especially true if you’re listing your home during spring home buying season. You can give your home a boost in curb appeal by maintaining your lawn, planting some flowers, and making sure your front entrance feels welcoming.
❏ Prepare your sprinkler system: (Spring) Maintaining your home’s curb appeal is a lot easier when your sprinkler system is in working order. Prep your system by running the sprinklers and looking for any leaks or broken lines. Then, take a closer look at the sprinkler heads and clear away any debris that may be blocking the flow of water.
❏ Take care of leaves and other debris: (Fall) Once again, it’s essential that your home makes the best first impression possible. In the fall, this means keeping up with raking leaves and continuing to mow the lawn regularly.
Home maintenance checklist: Final thoughts
And there you have it! Keep this home maintenance checklist close at hand to ensure your home is in tip-top shape when it comes time to sell.
But what if you just want to sell your home and get on with your life? You’re not alone – many sellers don’t want to spend time and money on repairs before listing their home. Others want to dodge potential delays caused by repair negotiations with their buyer. And some sellers just don’t want to live in an active construction zone while they’re busy living their lives. (Hey, we get it.)
Save yourself the stress and list your home with Orchard. Our concierge service will help you take care of repairs and upgrades. Plus, we don't list your home until you're all moved out so you can skip the showings. You can learn more and get started here.