40 Maintenance Tips

Many home owners leave repairs and maintenance to the last minute when selling. But don’t expect a buyer to pay for a property in need of repairs, that is the responsibility of the seller, and is part of normal costs of owning a home. Making repairs and undertaking maintenance is not in the same category as renovation or refurbishment. With your house most buyers will require a building inspection, and inspectors make it their business to identify every maintenance issue, from leaking taps to cracks in the cornice. I recommend that you go through the house room by room, and make a list of repairs and maintenance required before listing the property. And unless you are appropriately skilled or qualified, repairs should be done using a professional, especially electrical work and plumbing.

Here are forty maintenance tips to consider.

  1. Lights that need replacement globes. Make sure the wattage is high so the home is bright when on display. Warm white globes are best in bedrooms, cool white in the kitchen. But don’t mix warm white with cool white in the same room.
  2. Use a battery light in cupboards with no power.
  3. Buy fittings for lights with only a globe.
  4. Fix switches that are faulty or cracked.
  5. Fix leaking taps.
  6. Fix toilet cisterns that constantly flow.
  7. Clear blocked drains.
  8. Door bell—in my experience about 75% of door bells do not work.
  9. Loose wiring from an unfinished electrical job. Either get it done, or get an electrician to shield off the wiring.
  10. Replace or repair anything that is rusting, particularly exterior light fittings. CLR can be used to clean off some rust, but not bad damage.
  11. Letterbox—replace if necessary.
  12. Damage to timber—check for dry rot and termites. Repair and paint.
  13. Perimeter of house—is the exterior wall clear of plants, pipes or conduit that termites could climb to avoid the termite barrier? Are the weep holes clear?
  14. Repair squeaky doors and hinges, sticking doors, loose door handles, cupboard doors that are coming off the hinges.
  15. Replace the dead smoke detector battery.
  16. Service pool pumps and filters and cleaner.
  17. Ensure pool is clean and clear. If necessary hire a pool maintenance man for a couple of months so you don’t have a green pool.
  18. Ensure you have a current pool safety certificate (in relevant States). These can be obtained through any pool shop.
  19. Condition of front door—is it in good condition, does it need painting or staining? What about the condition of the screen door? Check the soft-closing mechanism works on the screen door.
  20. Plaster walls—repair and paint chips, cracks, marks, dents, chipped edges, cracks in cornice.
  21. Fix loose or torn wallpaper.
  22. Flaking paint, or other signs that painting is overdue. Exterior and interior.
  23. Replace cracked bathroom and kitchen tiles.
  24. Clean or replace mouldy and dirty grout.
  25. Floor tiles will show any cracks. Timber and vinyl—do they need repair or polish?
  26. Check for damaged roof tiles (especially if you’ve had Foxtel installed). What about ridge capping—does it need replacing?
  27. Exterior pavers—are they bedded properly, damaged, mouldy? Use some chlorine to kill the mould.
  28. Air conditioners—are they all working? Have the filters been cleaned and serviced lately or ever?
  29. Are the batteries on any remote control gadgets like split cycle air conditioners working?
  30. Ceiling fans—are they dust free, rust-free and working on all speeds?
  31. Cooktop—do all hotplates work properly?
  32. Bathroom extractor fans—working properly?
  33. Range hood—light and fan working?
  34. Mouldy shower curtain or screen—does it just need a clean or is there a bigger problem of moisture in the bathroom?
  35. Windows that won’t slide or you can’t unlock. Replace any cracked glass.
  36. Flyscreens—replace any torn flyscreens.
  37. Cobwebs, wasp nests, signs of cockroaches or spiders—when was the last pest treatment?
  38. Clean out gutters, check for rust showing or damaged downpipes and guttering.
  39. Check the DIY patio or carport—does it need painting? Does it have loose bolts, is it half finished? Is there a need for Council approval?
  40. Check under the eaves for mildew or signs of moisture damage.