10 Things Every Homeowner Should Do Once a Year
Climb a ladder or throw money at the problem
You're house-proud, but you need to show the love for your abode by more than just writing that mortgage check every month. Namely, with a handful of annual to-dos that are way less hassle than they seem--if you call the right team. Here’s how to be the homeowner you know you can be.
1. TRIM YOUR TREES
It’s not just tidiness--having trees grow over your home is a fire hazard.
How to outsource the job: Thrifty Tree Service will cut back limbs at least six feet from the ground and away from sheds and dwellings.
2. WASH YOUR WINDOWS
It’s not just a matter of using vinegar and water on the inside of the pane. We’re talking a thorough inside-and-out scrubbing of all the windows, even those out-of-the-way upstairs ones.
How to outsource the job: Use Thumbtack to compare bids for the size of your job, then just sit back while a pro uses high-pressure jets to clean away.
3. SCHEDULE THE EXTERMINATOR
You want to find those termites, water bugs or mice before they become a full-on infestation.
How to outsource the job: Family-owned Stanley Pest Control will come over for a free inspection.
4. HONE YOUR STONE
Yes, natural stone counters and tabletops are beyond beautiful, but water stains, small scratches and overall drabness ruin the effect.
How to outsource the job: JK Marble Maintenance will clean and seal your granite, travertine, terrazzo, limestone and concrete to look like it was just installed.
5. CLEAN THE CHIMNEY
You know that cozy mid-winter evening fire? You have to earn it by having your fireplace inspected once a year to make sure the chimney isn’t full of deposits or little cracks.
How to outsource the job: A Fiddler on the Roof will check it all out. Plus, you get to announce to your pals that you have to stay home that day since your chimneysweep is coming over. Chim chim cheree.
6. EMPTY ALL YOUR DRAWERS AND CLOSETS
You don’t have to own a home to do this, but once a year, everyone needs to purge.
How to outsource the job: After you take everything out of your drawers and closets, call a professional organizer like Handy Girl to put everything away neatly. (Be sure to use the burrito T-shirt method.)
7. STEAM CLEAN YOUR CARPETS
The pets, the dust, the sand and those dirty-soled children--they all spell a sanitation disaster for a rug, as well as possibly long-term damage if left for too long.
How to outsource the job: Rent a steam-cleaner at Home Depot or call a service such as Quality Carpet Cleaning to come pick up your area rug or clean a larger-sized one in place.
8. CLEAN YOUR GUTTERS
Think little rain = little need for cleaning the gutters? Wrong. Actually, dry conditions mean leaves, blossoms and fronds can collect and cause water to stand when it finally rains. Which means rotting, which = bad.
How to outsource the job: Offer your yard maintenance service extra cash--from $25 to $100 depending on the size of the job--to clean them out.
9. INSPECT THE ROOF
You’re looking for lost shingles and rotten sections. Because patching now is way better--and less expensive--than a whole new roof later.
How to outsource the job: Ask your contractor (or your neighbor who just redid her kitchen) for a roofer he or she trusts. If all else fails, use Angie’s List.
10. CHECK FIRE EXTINGUISHERS AND FIRE ALARMS
An easy way to remember to do this? Make it an annual event during your birthday month.
How to outsource the job: Don’t. You need to hunker down under the counter and make sure you know where the extinguisher is--and change the battery to the ceiling alarm yourself--because safety first.