Congratulations on buying your first home! That is some serious adulting. Now that you’ve invested your money in a property, it’s important to maintain your investment.

Don’t know where to begin? Here are five things to know about home maintenance for your first home, as well as where to get help.

1. Start with your home inspection report.

Home inspection reports often include details on things to take care of right away to maintain a safe and energy-efficient house.

One common recommendation, especially for older homes, is caulking around windows and doors for more efficient and less expensive heating and cooling. This is both a fairly easy-to-learn home maintenance activity and an inexpensive one. A home inspection report may include a number of similarly inexpensive and easy to-learn household maintenance activities so be sure to thoroughly review so you can tackle the easiest things first and plan for regular activities like replacing furnace filters.

2. Spend a few dollars today to save big bucks tomorrow.

Experts suggest you should budget at least 1% of your home’s purchase price for your annual home maintenance costs. This includes investing in preventative measures today to help avoid costly future expenses, which could include:

  • Purchasing and installing fire detectors on each floor
  • Purchasing and installing carbon monoxide detectors
  • Replacing torn window and door screens
  • Replacing broken window latches
  • Buying a fire extinguisher for your kitchen and one to keep near your fireplace

3. Service contracts can help.

Taking good care of your home appliances and heating and cooling equipment can extend their life and also save you money in the long run.

One of the surest ways to extend the life of your appliances is to schedule annual checkups. Here are a few of the most common checkups:

  • Furnaces and air conditioners
  • Electric, gas or wood fireplaces (clear the chimney spring and fall if you use it regularly)
  • Hot water heaters
  • In-ground sprinkler systems

A service contract may include annual reminder calls and expert troubleshooting help if something should break down so be sure to review so you know if the cost for checkups has already been covered.

4. Don’t overlook landscaping maintenance.

Remember your teenage years when you did all you could to avoid yard work? Part of adulting involves taking responsibility for landscape maintenance of your new home. If your budget doesn’t allow for professional landscaping and gardening help, it’s up to you.

At the very least, try to regularly clear your gutters of leaves, especially in the fall. Falling leaves and twigs can clog gutters and downspouts, causing rainwater to back up, drip down and damage the exterior walls of your home. Remove trees or shrubs growing close to your house — they could cause damage to the foundation or even be a fire hazard.

Also consider the slope of the land around your house. An improper gradient could cause water to pool near your home and leak into your basement.

5. Clear your snow and ice!

Maintaining your first home in winter means making wise choices about where to pile snow and ice when shoveling your driveway and walkways.

Snow and ice piled near your home’s walls could leak into your lower level window wells, resulting in a wet and damaged basement, so think carefully when you’re getting ready to shovel.

Taking good care of your first home is an important component of responsible and successful adulting. Learn as much as possible about preventative and maintenance activities and don’t be afraid to ask for help or advice from professionals, your family or your neighbors.

Legal Disclaimer: This site is for educational purposes and is not a substitute for professional advice. The material on this site is not intended to provide legal, investment, or financial advice and does not indicate the availability of any Discover product or service. It does not guarantee that Discover offers or endorses a product or service. For specific advice about your unique circumstances, you may wish to consult a qualified professional.