Mind the Gaps: Are You Making These Homeowner Mistakes?

By Jessica Merkel

Being a homeowner comes with a great deal of responsibility to keep everything functioning, and sometimes things can be overlooked. 

There are several things that homeowners may not think about regularly doing, which can end up costing them in the long run. These are the most common mistakes made by homeowners, and how you can avoid racking up extra costs.

One of the most integral parts of owning a home is maintaining it. However, house maintenance is more than just keeping it clean and organized. There are parts of your home that should be consistently safeguarded and policed. 

Items to check regularly:

  • Water heater: Have your water heater checked every six months, and drain it once a year. If there are more than three people in the home, it may need to be serviced more frequently.
  • Roof/gutters: If your gutters are clogged, it could cause leaking into your home. It is recommended that you clean out the gutters twice a year, typically spring and fall. The roof should be inspected every three years or so.
  • Smoke detectors/carbon monoxide detectors: These should be tested monthly, and the batteries should be changed every six months. A good rule of thumb is to change them every time we go on and off daylight savings time; that way, you don’t forget to do so.
  • Fireplace/chimney: Fireplaces and chimneys should be checked annually, even if not used often. Additional cleanings beyond that depend on your frequency of usage. If these features are not cleaned when needed, they can become a hazard for air quality in the home, or potentially even result in the house catching fire.
  • AC/heating systems: Vents should be checked for any damage and receive a cleaning biannually. AC filters should be cleaned monthly. 

Check often around the house for:

  • Leaks: Check your roof, plumbing, ceilings and walls for any leaking or potential leaking.
  • Paint: Check the paint on the outside of your house for any chipping or peeling paint. The paint protects the home from damage like rotting, so get it fixed as soon as possible to avoid further damage.
  • Cracks: Check the foundation of the home, grout and caulking for any cracks, to avoid water damage. 

Another common mistake for homeowners is not having the proper homeowner’s insurance or not knowing what your policy covers. Ask your homeowner’s insurance agent about the details of your plan, so you know what is covered in the event of a disaster. 

Lastly, if you are considering making home improvements, there are many easy mistakes to make. Home improvements are exciting, and it might be tempting to go with the easiest, cheapest contractor so that you can get everything done soon. But, it is important to find someone who is a professional. Ask around for referrals and conduct interviews so you can find the right person for your project. Otherwise, you might get stuck with some poor construction and other home issues that happen from sub-par, unprofessional work.

Another thing to consider for home improvements is whether you need to get a permit for your renovations. Failing to get a permit for certain improvements can cost you big time, and will greatly complicate things if you ever sell your home. It is also important to note that you should not count on your contractors to get all of the correct permits for you. You should do the legwork yourself, as the homeowner, to ensure everything is being done lawfully and correctly. 

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