4 common home maintenance problems and how to solve them

Sure, it's good to be confident. But when it comes to home maintenance, overconfidence can be, ahem, costly.

Your home is an extension of you. It reflects your lifestyle, quirks, and even certain passions (a wall-mounted wine rack or serious comic book library, for instance?).

Those unique touches are the reason you feel right at home when you walk through the front door. But when it comes to maintenance, do you really know what you're walking into?

In a survey conducted with Wakefield Research, we asked 1,000 homeowners about their knowledge of home maintenance planning, insurance policies, their home's vital components, and do-it-yourself skillset. Our findings: Confidence doesn't always equal competence.

To help temper confidence — and boost competence — we explore 4 common home maintenance issues and how you can overcome them.

1. sticking to a home maintenance schedule

According to our poll, 88 percent of homeowners feel confident in their ability to keep their homes in tip-top shape. Not to mention, 45 percent of all homeowners — and a whopping 59 percent of millennial homeowners — feel they could do a better job than a pro. While we admire this morale, our research suggests that in spite of a wealth of confidence, homeowners don't always have the skills or info they need to keep up with repairs.

What's the issue?

Over 60 percent of those homeowners say they don't have a maintenance checklist for interior and exterior areas of their home. Only a quarter reported that they regularly inspect their foundation for cracks, and even less check the basement and/or attic for harmful nuisances like mold growth — which can not only cause serious structural damage but also serious health problems.

What's the solution?

It's simple, really — keep up with upkeep. How? By creating an annual, monthly, and seasonal maintenance checklist. For instance:

  • Once a year: Inspect your home inside and out — check for roof leaks, foundation cracks, and investigate the entire house for any water damage.
  • Once a month: Clean vents, septic tanks, and furnaces, as well as inspect smoke alarms and leaky faucets.
  • Seasonally: Clean them gutters, inspect the chimney, and ensure trees are free of rot, cracks, and gaps.

2. knowing the age of the home and its vital components

Older homes can offer many benefits (affordability, unique designs) but depending on the era in which they were built, they may also harbor certain frailties. These include wonky wiring, a storm-sensitive roof, and worn appliances — all of which can be troublesome (and pricey) if left unattended.

What's the issue?

Our survey found that 39 and 42 percent of homeowners don't know the age of their roof and heating/cooling systems, respectively. Which makes it very difficult to know when they'll need to be replaced — especially before they wreak extensive damage.

What's the solution?

As a useful resource, check out our handy DIY home inspection checklist, which outlines major components and fixtures throughout your home that should be evaluated on a regular schedule.

In addition, by accompanying a professional home inspector during the process, you'll become familiar with the nooks and crannies of the home, and more able to prioritize its vulnerable areas. What's more, said inspector can clue you in on how old things are, including the abode itself.

3. budgeting for home maintenance and repairs

Home maintenance costs vary widely, and can depend on a multitude of factors, including your home's age (remember that one?), its assessed purchase price, square footage, and the size of a particular project. Question is, do you have money set aside for those costs?

What's the issue?

Three-fourths of homeowners believe in the virtue of setting aside money for home maintenance each year — yet nearly half of those polled say they don't. Part of the reason may stem from a common misconception surrounding homeowners insurance.

What's the solution?

Remember, the main purpose of homeowners insurance is to provide financial protection against sudden and unexpected hazards such as fires, explosions, hail damage, tornadoes and hurricanes, lightning strikes, falling objects, and your personal liability — to name just a handful. Home insurance isn't meant to cover everyday wear and tear since those kinds of maintenance fix-ups are considered the homeowner's responsibility.

Examples of maintenance and/or negligence problems include extensive mold growth, termite damage, bed bugs, and ignored water heaters or roof damage. It's important to note, too, that most policies don't cover damage you or anyone on your policy intentionally does to your property — whether or not it's an accident.

4. hiring a professional

Whether it's a deck or a newly painted room, there's nothing like that moment of triumph when finishing a DIY home improvement project. After all, you're attuned to the quirks and personality of your home, so who better than you to give it the facelift it needs? Before you flex those DIY muscles, though, let's consider the woes many homeowners encounter.

What's the issue?

Remember the aforementioned 45 percent of homeowners (including 59 percent of millennials) who believe they're better at maintaining their home than a pro? Well, the rest of the story revealed that more than half of those homeowners (and over three-quarters of those millennials) had to hire a pro to fix a DIY project, costing them much more in the long run.

Additionally, DIY mishaps can result in expensive homeowners insurance claims. In fact, one in 5 homeowners — including more than half of millennial homeowners — have filed an insurance claim because of a DIY mistake.

What's the solution?

Before installing that backyard fence or fastening that deck ledger, make sure to research important things like permits, building requirements, and necessary insurance updates to account for potential accidents during the remodel.

Not only does this help you avoid common (and costly) home maintenance mistakes, but you can also figure out which projects you're comfortable taking on. In the end, sometimes it's better (and way easier on you) to leave it to a professional contractor.

get reliable home insurance today

Many people are confused about how homeowners insurance can help with house upkeep. For instance, did you know that a standard policy covers things like graffiti cleanup and structural damage from wild animals? If you're like more than three-fourths of U.S. residents, there's a good chance you didn't. Homeowners insurance covers a vast variety of everyday accidents and mishaps — even temporary living expenses should your abode be rendered unlivable by a covered peril, like a tornado or fire.

With that in mind, find out how much you could be saving on homeowners insurance by getting a fast, free quote from Esurance today. You can also give us a call at 1-800-ESURANCE (1-800-378-7262), where our licensed agents can answer any of your insurance-related questions.

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