Thursday, October 24, 2013

8 Basic Property Updates to Address Regularly

Today I have Tali Wee of Zillow sharing an article on 8 Basic Property Updates to Address Regularly.  She has some great ideas listed here!

Thanks Tali!

8 Basic Property Updates to Address Regularly 

By Tali Wee of Zillow


Becoming a homeowner requires a great deal of additional responsibility. Homeowners must pay their monthly principals, interest, taxes and insurance to pay off their purchases, but also need to attend to the general maintenance of their new properties. When homebuyers search for their perfect homes they often don’t consider the added maintenance responsibilities of extra bathrooms, larger yards or luxury home features such as pools or hot tubs.

Regardless of high maintenance properties, all homeowners should regularly address these eight standard updates to ensure their health and safety while preventing damage to their homes.

1. Test Smoke Detectors

Every home should have multiple smoke detectors to alarm at the first warning signs of a fire. Smoke detectors protect residents and their properties when functioning properly. However, testing smoke detectors can easily slip a busy homeowner’s mind. It’s recommended by smoke detector manufacturers and fire departments to test smoke detectors each month and replace the batteries each year. Begin a routine; test the detectors on the first of each month when calendars are turned over and refresh the batteries each year on a birthday celebration.

2. Sterilize Washing Machines

Another common issue in many homes is the washing machine grows mold and causes the homeowners clothes to smell dingy. The solution is to sterilize the washing machine at least once each month. Begin a wash cycle so the drum fills with hot water. For top load washers, add a quart of bleach and let the cycle agitate but stop before it drains. Let the bleach water soak for one hour and then finish the cycle. Next repeat the process with a quart of white vinegar. For front load washers, add a quart of bleach to the dispenser during a hot wash cycle. Next, run a new cycle dispensing three cups of white vinegar. To avoid the process, grocers sell washing machine cleansing tablets to replace the bleach and vinegar. Some front load washers even have built-in cleaning cycles.

3. Replace Air Filters

To avoid the expensive cost of hiring a professional to clean out the home’s air ducts, the homeowner can prevent dust build-up by regularly cleaning the air filters. Heating and cooling systems have either disposable filters or a reusable filters. Simply clean the filter or replace the old with the new once every three months. Old filters have collected dust, mold spores, insects, pet hair, dander and other airborne debris. Without frequent replacement or cleaning, the debris and germs are forced through the ducts and blown back into the home.

4. Spray Insecticide

Another quarterly project is spraying a barrier of insecticide on the exterior of the property. Homes with known bug issues should spray once each month when pests are most common. Simply spray the foundation and adjacent soil surrounding the property, as well as the window and door frames, vents, spigots or any other easy entrances to the home. Whether the pests are ants, spiders, cockroaches, termites or beetles, a perimeter spray every three months should prevent invasion.

5. Condition Countertops

Most kitchen and bathroom countertops must be sealed or buffed with mineral oil regularly to maintain the natural colors of the stone and protect it from staining. Marble counters require sealing every three months and granite counters once or twice annually. More trending countertop options such as butcher blocks require frequent applications of mineral oil and concrete counters need recurrent sealants to prevent absorption of liquids and acidic damage.

6. Clean Gutters

Homes in wooded areas are more prone to collecting fallen leaves, needles and other debris in their gutters. When gutters get backed up with debris, they become havens for unwanted pests and water doesn’t have a clear pathway to run off the home. Properties become susceptible to water damage as the run-off finds alternative routes off the house. Without purchasing high-end, protected gutters, homeowners can keep their gutters clean by clearing them twice each year. The best times to clean gutters are once each spring and fall.

7. Re-Caulk Showers

Caulking along the edges of the bathtub, shower and sink should be removed and replaced once annually. Caulking dries out, cracks and grows mold and mildew. Damaged caulking allows water to seep into wood, drywall or other structural materials that should not be moist and can cause serious mold growth in moist areas. Fresh caulking acts as a sealant. Simply use a utility knife to cut long the edges where the old caulk meets the wall or tub, and then pull it out. Apply a small bead of fresh caulk in the gap and wipe with one finger to spread for an even, thorough finish.

8. Unclog Drains

Shower drains clog frequently, especially when most home residents have long hair. When loose hair slips pass the straining drain cover it collects around the stopper and can be extremely difficult to remove. When the drain is backed up, shower water with soap residue has difficulty draining. Tubs and showers can overflow causing water damage and slow drainage can leave a slick residue in the tub, creating a dangerous hazard for showering residents.  

Homebuyers certainly take on more responsibility as homeowners, managing all the upkeep for their new properties. However, with a little routine, these eight basic updates can become simple do-it-yourself projects for homeowners to take pride in the condition of their properties and improve their health and safety.


  1. Did not consider doing number 7 before. Thank you!

  2. You are right about the steps. home owner should follow these instructions. Thanks


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