FINANCIAL WELLNESS

4 min read

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Feb 2022

Start Checking Off Your Annual Homeowner’s Checklist

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WHAT YOU'LL LEARN

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The benefits of mortgage and insurance checkups

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What to look for when inspecting your home

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Why you should track your home’s inventory

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WHAT YOU'LL LEARN

check icon

The benefits of mortgage and insurance checkups

check icon

What to look for when inspecting your home

check icon

Why you should track your home’s inventory

You've probably heard it before, but your home is undoubtedly one of the biggest investments you'll make in your entire life. Doesn't it make sense to do everything you can to keep it as healthy as possible? The start of the new year is the perfect time to review a few crucial aspects of your home to make sure it's in good condition and functioning to your expectations. Your best bet for comprehensively and concisely inspecting your home is to create a homeowner's checklist you can revisit at the start of every year.

No one homeowner's list will be the same as another's. Only you know your home's specific "weaknesses" and the areas that needed fixing in the past. You can add those extra checkups as you see fit. However, there are some things every homeowner should review annually.

Do Some Home Maintenance

Doesn't it seem like there's a never-ending list of things to check up on to keep your home running like a well-oiled machine? For example, you need to...

  • Test the smoke and carbon monoxide detectors

  • Check seals on windows and doors

  • Scan the roof for water damage

  • Clean the gutters

  • Assess the sprinkler system

And that's only to name a few of the checkups experts say you should perform more than once a year. If you haven't tested your smoke detectors or cleaned your gutters, you should certainly add them to your checklist, but what about the things you don't necessarily need to do more than once per year?

Clear Out Your Dryer Vent

Right off the bat, you can add cleaning, or hiring a professional to clean, your dryer's vent to your list. As you might expect, lint builds up and creates a fire hazard, so protect yourself, your family, and your home by making your dryer vent lint-free.

Lubricate the Garage Door's Springs

You might forget if you never have any problems with opening and closing your garage door, but the springs and tracks could use a good greasing once a year. That way, you won't run into any unforeseen hiccups on a hectic morning when you're running late for work. If your garage door opens and closes to a chorus of squeaks, just know that it's not some unpleasantness that you're forced to live with.

Analyze Your Septic Tank

Not every home has a septic tank, but if yours does, consider hiring an inspector to give it a good once-over at the start of the new year. If it needs to be pumped, the inspector will let you know. On average, septic tanks only need to be pumped by a plumber every five years.

Inspect Your Foundation

Having a sound foundation is the key to a healthy home. That's why it's important to check your home's base at least once every year. Be on the lookout for termite damage, as the tiny insects cause billions of dollars in structural damage each year, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Exposed holes and hollow spots are a sign there could be termites eating away at your home. You might want to consider hiring a professional to inspect your home for hard-to-see termite damage.

Apart from termites, check for gaps and splits in wood floors or cracks in the corners of your rooms. Those are other indicators of a faulty foundation.

Go Over Your Inventory

Keeping a running tally of your home's items, whether it be furniture or electronics, and updating it each year is a good idea. Going to each room and snapping a picture of your valuables will help you with the insurance claim if your home is broken into or damaged by natural disaster.

Helping you and your family in a different kind of way, you could open your pantry, fridge, or freezer and sift through all the food and liquids you've got stowed away. Obviously, you'll want to throw out all the stuff from January of last year. The process can eat up time, but that's better than consuming cereal six months past the expiration date.

Schedule a Mortgage Checkup

Maybe not as frequently as a doctor's checkup, but you should schedule at least one meeting with your lender per year to discuss your mortgage. Your economic situation changes over time. Since closing, you might've gotten a new job, a promotion, or your investments finally paid off.

Each of those changes could lead to refinancing your loan for a better interest rate or term. It's also a good idea to let your mortgage banker know about your financial goals and if they've changed since your last meeting. For more information, check out our article on scheduling a mortgage checkup.

Review Your Homeowners Insurance

Along the same lines as scheduling a mortgage checkup, it's a good idea to review your homeowners insurance policy every year to ensure you have enough coverage. If you've completed a home renovation or purchased new furniture, there's a chance your home will increase in value. That means you may qualify for added discounts on your insurance policy. Yes, you want to maintain your home's physical health, but you also need to make sure it's as protected as it can be.

Granted, you aren't required to go through your homeowner's checklist at the beginning of each year. You can do it halfway through the year or at the end, too. As long as you're paying regular attention to your home's well-being, you're doing the right thing!