Top 10 ways to maintain your home's value

Staying ahead of home maintenance tasks can help prevent major repairs - or unpleasant emergencies - down the road. Plus, it's one of the easiest ways to maintain your home's value. This checklist of 10 key areas to inspect can help you spot potential problems before it's too late.

1. Check your roof.
Look for and replace loose, cracked, curled, or missing shingles. Water or discoloration on siding under the eaves, or water stains on the rafters in your attic, could signal a leak that may require professional assistance to fix.

2. Declutter your gutters.
Remove general debris by hand, then flush gutters and downspouts with a hose. Next, look for and repair any damage - corrosion, holes, separated joints, loose fasteners, etc. Check that downspouts are positioned so water falls at least 2 feet away from your home's foundation, reducing the risk of mildew and water damage.

3. Inspect the exterior.
Look for and repair cracks, missing mortar, and peeling paint on your home's exterior. Try to keep tree branches and other plant life at least 7 feet from your home to help prevent damage.

4. Examine the foundation.
Fill any hairline cracks in your foundation walls with epoxy and mark them with tape. If the cracks grow over a few months - or you spot larger cracks - call a professional to repair them and pinpoint the underlying cause.

5. Watch for termites.
If you see holes in wood surfaces, mud tunnels near your foundation, or sawdust around windows, you may have a termite problem. Don't wait to call an exterminator. For prevention, keep your basement or crawl space well ventilated, make sure water drains away from your house, store firewood away from the home, and keep your gutters clean.

6. Inspect your deck.
Replace loose, rotting, or otherwise damaged boards, rails, and steps. Fix loose screws and popped nails. Pressure wash to remove dirt, moss, and mold. Periodically repaint or restain, then reseal the deck.

7. Check the pavement.
You can patch minor cracks in your driveway, sidewalks, and garden paths with materials from a hardware store. Re-set loose pavers by brushing a new layer of sand or stone dust into the joints. More significant damage could require professional help.

8. Evaluate screens.
You may be able to repair smaller holes in door and window screens, but consider replacement if damage is more extensive. Inspect seals, too, making sure they're not loose, cracked, or missing altogether. Then seal any gaps between the door or window frame and your home's wall.

9. Clean the air conditioner.
First, unplug the unit. Then use a garden hose, vacuum cleaner, power blower, or vent brush or clear our leaves, cobwebs, and other debris. Clean both the condenser (outdoors), and the grille and registers (indoors).

10. Inspect appliance hoses.
Examine hoses on your clothes washer, dishwasher, refrigerator, and hot water heater. Tighten loose connections and, if you spot cracks, bubbles, or other notable damage, replace the hose.

Maintenance pays off
Working through this checklist can help ensure your home stays in tip-top shape and maintains its value over time. But some repairs and upkeep tasks do cost, so experts recommend setting aside 1 to 4 percent of your home's value every year for these jobs. If you need assistance with larger repairs, a Westfield Bank expert can discuss financing options to fit your needs. Visit your local branch (link to locations) or call 800.368.8930 today for personal assistance.