Home Maintenance

Maintaining Your New Home

As a new home owner, you are probably very excited about getting your home in order. Once you have decorated and have everything in its place, it’s important to establish a maintenance routine so that you and your family can live in your home for years and years to come. Usnews.com has put together a few tips for properly caring for and maintaining your new construction home.

  1. Listen to the builder’s recommendations. When you take ownership of your brand-new house from a builder – and possibly before – you’ll most likely get a walk-through of the property from the construction manager to show you where everything is located, how everything works and what recommended maintenance is needed.It’s important to pay attention at this walk-through and during any other informational meeting you have with the builder beforehand. This is how you’ll know where the circuit breakers are, where the water shutoff valve is for the house and how to access the air filter in your furnace, among other important things that you'll need to know in case there’s a power outage or plumbing problem or you simply need to perform maintenance on your home down the line.

  2. Read the owner’s manuals. Each appliance and system is going to have an owner’s manual from the manufacturer, and while it may not be the most thrilling literature, you should reach each one to know how to properly keep each part of your house in working order. In addition to the walk-through, the manuals tell you how everything works, how it should all be maintained and how often it should be looked after. Even with all brand-new systems, be ready to jump into regular maintenance.

  3. Be on top of air filters. There are some maintenance habits you should get into that go above and beyond even manufacturer recommendations. Homeowners should change air filters monthly, even if the filter is marketed as good for up to 90 days.

  4. Keep your impact on the house in mind. The way you use your home has an effect on how well systems, surfaces and appliances will fare. For example, if you prefer to keep the air conditioning off in summer, you can expect paint and wood floors to take a beating from the higher humidity levels.

  5. Know the details of your home warranty. Your new home will likely come with a warranty, either directly from the builder or by a third party, that covers certain issues that may arise within the first 12 months or so of owning the property.

    The warranty typically covers the workmanship and materials that were a part of construction, including windows, the HVAC, electrical and plumbing and some structural scenarios. Should any issues arise during the length of the warranty, you’ll be at least partially covered. However, if it’s clear an issue is caused by neglect or otherwise falls outside the stipulations of the warranty, you’ll be responsible for the fix yourself. To help homeowners know the ins and outs of home warranties for newly built homes, the Federal Trade Commission provides an information page with resources for homeowners. The FTC notes, for example, that homes purchased with mortgages backed by the Federal Housing Administration or U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (referred to as FHA or VA loans) are legally required to have a third-party warranty to help guarantee the quality of workmanship on the property.

    Even with warranty protection, your home is at its peak working order as soon as construction is complete, and defects aside, it’s your job to properly maintain it and keep it that way for as long as possible. Your new house may not have the quirks of an older home, but only you can keep it from developing those quirks by the time you sell it to a new owner.