You’ve done the hard work of saving for, and securing, your own brand new home.  You’ve had fun choosing the colours, the fittings, the furnishings, and now you get to sit back and enjoy it all.  Everything is fresh and new.  But how do you keep it that way?
 
When buying a home most people just think about the financial responsibility of the mortgage and insurances. Don’t forget, however, about the time and labour that home maintenance also requires.  If you want your new Metricon home to stay shiny and new you’ll have to plan on a little elbow grease and some dollars in the kitty. 
 
Just as regular oil changes keep your car engine purring nicely, keeping up with regular home maintenance tasks will help your home run smoothly and reduce future headaches and wasted money.

Home maintenance checklist

It can be intimidating to think about the various tasks required to keep your new home in order, especially if you’re a first time homeowner.  There’s a pretty long list, but the good news is that you can do the majority of it on your own without much experience, and spread the load across the year.  YouTube is great for handy hints otherwise a local handyman will be able to help you out.

A home maintenance calendar is a good idea to keep things in order, maximise your time and reduce overwhelm when the weekend rolls around. Every home has its own requirements and your timing will be determined by your schedule, so this isn’t a black and white list.  It will however give you a good idea of what needs doing to keep your home happy for years and years to come.

Monthly
  • Check fire extinguishers
  • Clean rangehood filter
  • Clean dishwasher
  • Clean oven (this may be a weekly occurrence depending on usage)
Quarterly
  • Test smoke detectors (change batteries when the clocks change for daylight savings)
  • Run water/flush toilets in unused spaces (eg. Guest bathrooms)
  • Give your house a deep clean – appliances, blinds, dusting everything
  • Remove showerheads and clean sediment

Seasonally

Winter – clean out gutters, tighten handles/knobs on cupboards, check interior paint surfaces, check all deadbolts and locks on doors and windows, check caulking around showers/bathtubs/windows
Autumn – clean heating ducts, get hotwater system checked, clean out the chimney, check for any drafts from windows/doors/vents.
Summer – check grout in bathrooms/kitchens, check and clean your dryer exhaust vent, check for signs of any insect problems around the home, clean and repair decking, clean/tidy the garage, water your garden regularly, check the water tank pump is in order.
Spring – get air-conditioning cleaned/serviced, inspect exterior paint surfaces for chipping/peeling, check exterior drainage, clear dead plants from garden, get hedges clipped, inspect roofing for damage/leaks, clean windows and window screens.


 

Is home maintenance tax deductible?

The general rule is that the cost of home maintenance or repairs incurred on a rental property may be deducted from the property's taxable income in a given year.  However, the same is not necessarily so for your own home, unless a portion of the home is used to run a registered business.  In the case where you make a home ‘improvement’, such as installing central air conditioning, adding a sunroom or replacing the roof, you can't deduct the cost in the year you spend the money, but they may help you reduce your taxes in the year you sell your house*.

 

Tips for saving for home maintenance

As with saving for anything, a plan and discipline is required.  A great rule of thumb is to decide on a particular portion of your household income to be regularly directed into a ‘rainy day’ (or maintenance) account, that can’t be easily drawn upon.  This will then build each month, providing a lump sum for when large maintenance projects are required.  Also be sure to buy cleaning products in bulk where possible, and choose good quality tools and equipment up front, so that you’re not wasting money on things that break easily or don’t do the job properly.

Final tips on home maintenance

  • Down the road when major repairs or additions are necessary (think new hotwater system or adding a granny flat), be sure to choose high quality. Don’t skimp!  Selecting high-quality improvements is not only a major resale factor, but it also helps with maintaining the same quality condition your home was built with.
  • Have a list of numbers handy for cost effective but well recommended tradespeople for specific home maintenance tasks (including a plumber, electrician).
  • Train your kids and your pets well! Keep a controlled environment to ensure your home stays clean and well maintained eg: ensure there’s no eating anywhere except the table and drawing only occurs on paper; keep pets that are not housetrained off the carpet, and clean up any accidents that happen right away, provide scratching posts for cats and toys for dogs to ensure boredom doesn’t lead to damage!
 
At Metricon, nothing makes us happier than seeing one of our homes remain in quality condition years down the road, and well-planned home maintenance is the key.
 
*This is general information only. For specific advice regarding taxation information please consult your accountant.