One of the most important factors in keeping the value of your property high is excellent property maintenance. Value is determined by, among other things, how much a buyer wants your home. So if you keep your property fresh, clean and well looked after, you are much more likely to realise a top price for it when it's time to sell.
Here is a handy guide to essential property maintenance:
Tools for the job
Own all the essential tools. That way, no matter what needs fixing or which emergencies are thrown at you, you will always have something on hand to perform a fix.
You'll need the basics, such as a range of screwdrivers, spanners, a hammer, and pliers. It would also be handy to keep basic electricians' tools handy, such as special pliers to strip wires when you rewrite plugs. A wrench can be handy for plumbing problems, and insulation and gaffer tape will have hundreds of uses.
It's also good property maintenance practice to keep consumables such as fuses and light bulbs in stock in your house. Inevitably a fuse will blow on Sunday evening when the shops aren't open. Keep a range of fuses and bulbs dry and warm. You should also buy washers in case of a dripping tap.
Other handy products to keep around are a drain snake, grout filler to prevent leaks in the bathroom, and a number of different sized screws and wall plugs.
One final essential in your property maintenance tool kit is a decent ladder. For safety reasons, it should be big enough to reach the very top of the property without you having to stretch out. Keep your ladder well secured and locked up or chained. Not only are they a target for thieves (especially the expensive fiberglass ones), but your own ladder could be used to burgle your property!
Floors get more abuse than most other surfaces, especially if there are young children. The key to keeping carpets and hard floors looking their best is preventing dirt getting in, and then cleaning it quickly when it does.
Use door mats at each entrance and clean floors regularly, at least once a week. Sweep hard floors and clean them monthly with a specialist cleaner that won't make them slippery. Keep a powerful carpet stain remover handy and treat stains immediately. It's worth getting carpets steam cleaned once a year - if you can't be bothered, get a professional to do it for you. The longer a stain stays in your carpet, the harder it will be to get rid of it.
Walls are often overlooked in property maintenance, but they do tell a story about what's going on with the overall structure. Don't worry too much about minor surface cracks in the drywall. These can easily be repaired. The thing to really look out for is more intrusive damage. If cracks re-appear after being repaired, there could be a settling problem with the building.
Widening cracks should be looked at by an expert as quickly as possible. As with most problems, the earlier you deal with it, the easier and cheaper it will be to fix.
Keep an eye out for any mold or dry rot. Pay particular attention to the walls in your bathroom and behind kitchen cabinets. Check water heater closets to be sure they are dry. You want to ensure that moisture and condensation each day isn't settling into the walls and causing them damage.
Get windows cleaned regularly and wipe down any condensation. Paint wooden windows at least every three years to prevent the weather from damaging them. The caulking around windows is notorious for drying and cracking in the hot Arizona sun. Re-caulking can save money by preventing moisture damage as well as save on those electricity bills.
Don't put up with any dripping faucets, toilets, water heaters, hose bibs, or yard leaks! Make it a part of your property maintenance schedule to check pipes and faucets regularly, and again deal with problems as they arise. If you have a property with poor plumbing, consider getting it repaired or replaced by a professional before it bursts and damages the property.
Depending on your skill level, you can do basic electrical maintenance yourself such as replacing plugs. Remember to switch off the supply where needed. For anything else, including replacing broken switches, consider hiring a licensed contractor. It is always prudent that any electrical installations or major work be done by a qualified, licensed and insured electrician.