Home insurance group Hippo conducted their 2022 Hippo Housepower Report to understand how economic changes between 2020 and 2022 have impacted U.S. homeowners. Of the 1,000 participants, 78% regretted purchasing their home within the past 12 months, with 47% of those disappointed homeowners citing too much home maintenance and upkeep.
Worse yet, 65% of survey participants acknowledged that issues with their homes could have been prevented with regular maintenance.
Whether you’re a landlord, property owner, tenant, or homeowner, you play a role in home maintenance. A home maintenance checklist serves as the source of truth to ensure the property remains an enjoyable investment for years to come.
Why you need a home maintenance checklist (and why you should stick to it)
A home maintenance checklist holds you accountable for the monthly or yearly tasks that keep the property safe and comfortable. Sticking to the house maintenance checklist preserves the property’s condition and overall efficiency, which is important if you plan to move and/or sell the property. The checklist also provides a foundation for clear communication, especially when there needs to be a third party involved, such as a repair person for structural work or any appliance repairs.
Creating an annual home maintenance checklist and then breaking that home maintenance checklist by month begins with understanding the four overarching accomplishments that come with continuous, attentive maintenance:
Prevents costly repairs
The 2022 Hippo Housepower Report found that homeowners spent, on average, $6,000 on home repairs and maintenance. Cleaning appliances regularly and sticking to routine reviews and maintenance for critical home systems (electric, water, plumbing, and gas) will save money as you catch any potential repairs before they develop into full-blown problems that require more time and money to fix.
Enforces safety and compliance measures
Checking the locks on windows and doors, as well as manicuring any trees or bushes in your yard increases the chances of avoiding potential thieves. You may even upgrade your security system to have video surveillance on for doorbell activities, such as deliveries or when someone approaches the door and you’re not home. If your property is part of a homeowners association (HOA), you must comply with any measures regarding property maintenance. Regularly clearing up and maintaining the property’s exterior keeps you in line with any compliance measures.
Enhances quality of life
“A clean home is a happy home” is a saying for a reason: Ideally, no one wants to step into a stuffy space with a broken AC unit or water heater. Regular property maintenance allows your daily routines to remain second nature so you can focus on tending to yourself, family, and visitors.
Adds market value
The National Association of Realtors found that 97% of realtors believe curb appeal is an important factor when attracting buyers. When you keep up with lawn maintenance, apply a fresh coat of paint, and keep driveways free of cracks, you can improve the property’s market value. And, if you were to add outdoor appliances or a swimming pool, you help raise the asking price for the property if you were to sell it.
5 different types of home maintenance tasks
Home maintenance can be overwhelming—especially when you consider the entire property. Breaking the household maintenance checklist into the following five home maintenance task categories allows you to understand what elements you can manage (such as the specific task space and frequency) and when you need to request outside assistance, either from a landlord or a repair person.
1. Interior house maintenance
Interior maintenance consists of everyday cleaning responsibilities alongside monthly and annual deep-cleaning tasks for any interior room, such as the kitchen, bedrooms, living room, and bathroom, as well as basements or guest houses.
Interior home maintenance tasks include:
Daily upkeep such as dusting, sweeping, and mopping rooms and appliances, such as the refrigerator or ceiling fan.
Inspecting the dishwasher and washing machine for leaks or detergent buildup.
Clean all vents, including removing lint from the dryer vent and grime from the stove and hood vents.
Clean dust behind large appliances.
Remove grout buildup from kitchen and bathroom tiles.
Checking plumbing for any leaks, clogs, or signs of water damage.
Cleaning kitchen and bathroom drains and shower heads.
Checking that carbon monoxide detectors are active.
2. Exterior house maintenance
Exterior maintenance focuses on the outdoor features of the property, including the roof, gutters, front- and backyard(s), and any exterior areas, like a balcony, deck, or patio.
Exterior home maintenance tasks include:
Observe the roof for any missing, worn, or damaged shingles.
Check gutters and clear them of any debris that could block water flow to the downspouts.
Seal and paint the siding to avoid mold and keep pests, like mice, termites, and cockroaches, out.
Tend to any garden activities, such as weeding or trimming any foliage, and removing any branches.
Inspect large door and window screens for holes or tears.
3. Seasonal house maintenance
“Spring cleaning” is notorious for a reason—the sun shines a bit brighter on everything, including the dust collections inside and debris outside your home. Many annual home maintenance checklists divide tasks by season to ensure the property remains comfortable and optimizes the efficiency of each critical system.
Seasonal home maintenance tasks include:
Checkup on your air conditioning systems to ensure they’re working properly and are energy efficient.
Check gutters for potential ice buildup or sag, alongside sidewalks for any cracks.
Touch up any cracked caulk to keep cold air in the property.
Inspect the roof with binoculars for any snow or ice damage, then turn your attention to storm-window drains to ensure water flows out quickly to prevent puddling.
The warm air makes it ideal to pressure wash vinyl or fiber cement siding.
Trim weeds from outdoor HVAC units, as they can affect energy efficiency.
Inspect any outdoor decks or balconies for any nails or areas that need a fresh coat of paint or sanding.
Test the sprinkler system for any pipe or connection leaks.
Rake and remove leaves around the exterior of the home.
Drain any hoses and turn off their water supply to prevent any frost.
Check weather stripping to ensure cold drafts won’t come into the home.
Inspect the fireplace and chimney, and HVAC system to ensure proper heat functionality.
Clean gutters and roofs to remove debris that could trap water or snow in the winter.
Boost up the efficiency of your heating system by closing any foundation vents and checking for any drafts around the property (which you can apply caulk on to seal).
Cover any outdoor HVAC units with a tarp or store portable air conditioning units indoors.
If you have a sump pump in the basement, test it for leaks and check up on battery life.
Keep an eye out for any ice dams that may form under the roof, and call a professional in to address if one forms.
4. Safety and security property maintenance
Safety and security is top of mind for many homeowners.
Safety and security maintenance tasks include:
Check all cameras for functionality (sensor accuracy, streaming, cleanliness, and battery life).
Test any window and/or door locks and chains.
Test the home alarm system and update the password or system.
Keep the electrical box locked and observe any rust or damage.
5. Structural property maintenance
Structural maintenance pays attention to the core integrity of the property, which includes inspecting the property’s foundation, roof, walls, framing, and other support systems.
Structural maintenance tasks include:
Check for cracks larger than one-eighth of an inch along the driveway.
Inspect for any cracks, mold, etc. along baseboards, floors, walls, etc.
Test functionality of the garage door.
Touch up on any interior or exterior paint.
Inspect exterior or interior staircases for broken edges, cracks, etc.
Who is responsible for home maintenance?
Leasing contracts and HOA agreements often include home maintenance responsibilities so that tenants and homeowners have a clear understanding of what they are responsible for, and when to go to the property manager/landlord or HOA organization. Homeowners may also sign a home warranty agreement or service/maintenance agreement with a contractor upon buying the home to ensure home systems and appliances remain operational or receive timely repair and potential replacements.
Refer to the following checklists for landlords and property managers and tenants to help outline and delineate these responsibilities.
House maintenance checklist for landlords and property managers
Landlords and property managers are generally responsible for any appliances already on or in the property, as well as overall interior and exterior structural conditions.
Contact the property manager and landlord for any structural repairs, such as black mold growth, peeling paint, broken fixtures, and more.
As landlords own the appliances, they have access to warranty information that may assist in repairs and replacements. The property manager will contact a professional if necessary, as well as coordinate the removal and replacement of the appliance.
If you have any termites, cockroaches, mice, or other infestation, the property manager will provide and pay for pest control to inspect and treat the issue.
Landscaping and groundskeeping
Outside of personal gardens spaces, landlords and property managers are responsible for any landscaping and groundskeeping.
A surprise leak, blown outlet, or potential carbon monoxide detection needs to be brought to property managers immediately before it causes more damage or spread.
House maintenance checklist for tenants
Tenants are responsible for interior home maintenance, as well as any exterior spaces attached to the property, like a backyard or balcony.
Day-to-day cleaning is necessary to ensure your comfort. Clean any spills daily and address any personal needs (like laundry or when to use the dishwasher), and divide the interior and exterior maintenance tasks to address one or more per week.
Minor repairs include unclogging drains, caulking, cleaning gutters, and sealing the driveway.
Immediate yard maintenance, such as tending to a garden, cutting the grass, and raking leaves, can fall under your responsibility as a homeowner. Apartment tenants will only tend to personal gardening measures in their immediate facility.
6 tips for effective home maintenance
The “who” and “what” of your household home maintenance checklist are ready to go. Now, you need to make it as energy-efficient for yourself and everyone involved as possible. These six tips will help your checklist check itself off on a daily, monthly, and annual basis.
1. Create a home maintenance schedule
Breaking out your home maintenance checklist by month and annual tasks—and noting seasonality—makes you more accountable to understand and complete your responsibilities to ensure the property remains comfortable and liveable.
2. Inspect regularly
As you use an appliance, notice anything out of the ordinary. Familiarity with how each appliance looks and functions makes it easier to clean and inspect for oddities sooner.
3. Address plumbing issues promptly
Plumbing issues can literally back up into a larger problem throughout the property. When you address them quickly, you can save yourself hundreds, if not thousands, from pipe replacements and other repairs.
4. Seal windows and doors
Your cooling and heating system can only be energy efficient if the home is properly sealed against drafts.
5. Keep records of all maintenance services
Records of large system inspections, repairs, and appliance warranties serve as sources of truth for compliance purposes, especially if preparing to sell or rent the property.
6. Set aside the budget for house maintenance
The rule of thumb is to save anywhere from one to four percent of the property’s value to put toward repairs per year.
How to use digital twins to keep up-to-date records on your property maintenance
Property managers, landlords, and current homeowners looking to lease or sell their property run into the issue of tracking and resolving home maintenance problems that have long been put to the wayside. In this technological age, you can add another dimension to your home maintenance checklist with a digital twin. A digital twin is an immersive, interactive, and accurate 3D rendering of a property, which can help you keep track and document the state of a property pre- and post-tenant moves. After capturing the property with a camera, like the Matterport Pro3 camera, you can then add Mattertags that highlight property features, document any repairs, and can link out to the appliance’s warranty or model information.
Learn more about how digital twins can help move your property to “sold” or “leased” faster when you sign up for a Matterport account today.