Sign up for our FREE Monthly Email Newsletter
In addition to keeping in the financial know, you may be interested in checking your credit score and report.
¹The credit scores provided under the offers described here use the Equifax Credit Score, which is a proprietary credit model developed by Equifax. The Equifax Credit Score and 3-Bureau scores are each based on the Equifax Credit Score model, but calculated using the information in your Equifax, Experian and TransUnion credit files. The Equifax Credit Score is intended for your own educational use. It is also commercially available to third parties along with numerous other credit scores and models in the marketplace. Please keep in mind third parties are likely to use a different score when evaluating your creditworthiness. Also, third parties will take into consideration items other than your credit score or information found in your credit file, such as your income.
²The Automatic Fraud Alert feature is made available to consumers by Equifax Information Services LLC and fulfilled on its behalf by Equifax Consumer Services LLC.
³Equifax Credit Report Control™ is only available while you have a current subscription to Equifax Complete Premier. Locking your credit file with Equifax Credit Report Control will prevent access to your Equifax credit file by certain third parties, such as credit grantors or other companies and agencies. Credit Report Control will not prevent access to your credit file at any other credit reporting agency, and will not prevent access to your Equifax credit file by companies like Equifax Personal Solutions which provide you with access to your credit report or credit score or monitor your credit file; Federal, state and local government agencies; companies reviewing your application for employment; companies that have a current account or relationship with you, and collection agencies acting on behalf of those whom you owe; for fraud detection and prevention purposes; and companies that wish to make pre-approved offers of credit or insurance to you. To opt out of such pre-approved offers, visit www.optoutprescreen.com/.
4We will require you to provide your payment information when you sign up and we will immediately charge your card $4.95. After that, we will charge the card $19.95 for each month you continue your subscription. You may cancel at any time; however, we do not provide partial month refunds.
Equifax® is a registered trademark and Equifax Complete™ Premier is a trademark of Equifax, Inc. © 2014, Equifax Inc., Atlanta, Georgia. All rights reserved.
Fall means a lot of things, including going back to school, raking leaves, decorating pumpkins, and eating turkey, but in my house, it usually also means home maintenance. It seems like every fall there’s something wrong with my house. A few years ago we had to have the fridge and kitchen sink replaced. This year it’s all new carpets, repair of some roofing issues and replacement of a rotting door and frame. My husband Sam is home right now, directing the installation process.
The fall home maintenance and repairs are on top of all the ongoing house maintenance for homeowners. We try to keep home maintenance to a schedule so big repairs don’t surprise us.
In the summer, we have weekly—or semi-weekly, depending on the amount of rain— landscaping chores. In the winter, we do snow removal, in the spring we spray for ants, in the fall we watch for leaking, and once every year or two, we sealcoat our driveway. Inside the house, we have to change all kinds of filters and batteries, repaint rooms, replace carpet, fix appliances when they break, and so on. Every five years or so we replace all of our smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors.
The problem with not taking care of problems when they’re small is that they only get worse. My friend Alice has a country house about three hours from New York City. She didn’t know there was a tiny leak in the roof. By the time she figured it out, almost an entire wall of the house had to be replaced. And if you don’t replace your smoke detectors, you know that when they fail, they will fail in the middle of the night and you won’t know which one is giving you the trouble.
To keep your home in top condition, there are certain tasks you’ll need to do every year. You can split the chores up into seasons to make the home maintenance job manageable.
See Sam’s post on spring cleaning and home maintenance for ideas on decluttering and upkeep.
Fall home maintenance checklist
Clean your gutters: Most single-family homes should have their gutters cleaned out once a year, typically after the leaves have fallen. But if you live in a heavily wooded area or have trees that shed leaves or flowers in the spring, have your gutters cleaned twice annually.
The cost ranges from $50 on up, depending on the size of your home. If you don’t keep your gutters clean, they won’t do their job of diverting water to the storm sewer or away from your home. If you have a home without gutters, water can run down the side of your home and potentially leak into the basement.
You also want to go around your home and make sure that the soil around your home is properly sloped away from your home. If you have had some soil compression, you might want to add more soil or you can have a landscaper help you out to make sure that water drains away from your home.
Look for cracks and leaks: Walk around the base of your home, inspecting for cracks, failed caulk around the window joints, and the condition of your exterior siding. Failing to tuckpoint your brick exterior means your home could wind up with water damage. If you have synthetic stucco siding, hire a professional inspector who specializes in EIFS to look for damage, cracks or any holes that could allow water to get behind the EIFS. If you have exterior wood clapboards, keep them painted. Otherwise, they could rot, requiring an expensive fix.
Inspect your furnace and air conditioning units: Plan to have your furnace cleaned once every year to keep it running as efficiently as possible. You’ll probably need to change the filter at least once a year as well, or in some cases every couple of months. If you have airconditioning units, you need to make sure they are clean and allow air to flow freely around them to keep a high efficiency.
Keep your home maintained: In your bathrooms, replace caulk that looks as though it isn’t sealing properly or looking old. Change smoke and carbon monoxide detector batteries (this should be done at least once a year). Clean the fan hood and filters over your stove to eliminate grease buildup. It helps me to remember these tasks by making sure I do all of them every October.
Fireplace: If you like using your fireplace, you might want to consider having the flue of your fireplace cleaned every couple of years.
The bottom line is that home maintenance requires vigilance—and a wide-open checkbook. However, if you do regular, ongoing maintenance in your home, the costs will be relatively minor and you may be saved from an unwelcome home emergency.
Ilyce Glink is a best-selling author, real estate columnist, and web series host. She is the managing editor of the Equifax Finance Blog and CEO of Think Glink Media. Follow her on Twitter: @Glink
The information contained in this blog post is designed to generally educate and inform visitors to the Equifax Finance Blog. The blog posts do not give, and should not be assumed to provide, personalized tax, investment, real estate, legal, retirement, credit, personal financial, or other professional advice. Before making any financial decision, you should always consult with the appropriate professionals who can explain your options, rights, and legal responsibilities, and advise you on any tax, legal, credit, or business implications that may result from those decisions. The views and opinions expressed by the authors of blog posts are their own views and may not be the views or opinions of Equifax, Inc. and/or its affiliates.
Equifax maintains this interactive forum for education and information purposes in order to allow individuals to share their relevant knowledge and opinions with other members and visitors. We encourage you to participate in discussions about personal finance issues and other topics of interest to this community, but please read our commenting guidelines first. Equifax reserves the right to monitor postings to the forum and comments will be published at our discretion. Do you have questions or comments about your Equifax credit report or customer-service issues regarding an Equifax product? If so, please contact Equifax directly. All opinions and information expressed or shared in blog comments are solely those of the person submitting the comments, and don't necessarily represent the views of Equifax or its management.