Your home can’t take care of itself. Your monthly budget should include money for routine maintenance and repair for the house and yard. Plan to set money aside for the large, irregular expenses that occur normally as a house ages. Large expenses include interior and exterior painting, repairs or replacement of heating and air conditioning units and appliances, floor coverings, and roof surfaces. Why should you do regular home maintenance? 1. To maintain the value of the property. 2. A well-maintained home usually brings a higher price. 3. A well-maintained house is more comfortable. 4. Regular care minimizes unexpected repair work and expense. 5. Regular small repairs keep costs from becoming larger. 6. A lender’s agreement usually requires the owner to maintain the property to protect the lender’s financial interest. What is involved in home maintenance? Cleaning roof and gutters, cleaning or painting outside wall surfaces, cleaning floors and walls, vacuuming carpet, keeping sink and shower drains running freely, etc. If you are not able to do the work, hire a qualified, experienced repair company such as Brad’s Services. Ask for written estimates, and do not pay in advance for maintenance or repair services. Inspect your house regularly. Develop a system where you inspect one area per month to ensure regular inspection of each area. Start at the foundation of the house and work upward and inward. The following list of areas to check may help. • In most of Michigan, water lines and outside faucets need some freeze protection or winter drainage. In addition, garden hoses should be drained and stored for the winter. • Clean leaves and debris from around an outside heating/air conditioning condenser and trimback shrubs that may block air movement around the house. • Yard care power equipment should be drained of fuel in the late fall or early winter and serviced according to manufacturer’s instructions. • Have heating and cooling systems checked by a qualified serviceperson once a year or according to the manufactures-recommendations. • Clean and replace filters. Check your owner’s manual for recommended procedures. Some filters should be replaced as often as once a month. • Test smoke alarms and heat alarm systems at least monthly. Replace old batteries.