By: Shannon Register, Coldwell Banker United, Realtor

You may not be thinking about selling your home right now. However, if you maintain it well, when you do get ready to sell it will be ready for the buyers. Buyers look for clean houses that they can visualize their families living in. They like neutral colors they can paint over if they prefer. They appreciate sellers that leave behind manuals and have maintained their systems and appliances throughout home ownership. Putting some thought into what a buyer wants now can make you money in the future.

Appliances are not built to last forever. The average life expectancy of some of your most critical home appliances is 13 years and the average replacement cost for a home system or appliance is $1,388.00[1]. Proper maintenance of these appliances will ensure a smooth transaction when you decide to sell your home.

The following tips for home maintenance come from the Home Care Tips for a Happy Home Pamphlet provided by American Home Shield Warranties:

· To ensure efficient operation, check filters on your heating and air conditioning system monthly and clean or replace as needed. Trim shrubs and plants that are near the condensing unit to ensure proper air flow and circulation. If you see bent condensing unit fins on your air conditioning system you can straighten them with a fine comb. If you smell gas odors around your heating system have it inspected by a licensed HVAC dealer. Having an annual system maintenance service performed one month before the heating season and one month before the cooling season begins will detect most problems in the unit.

· Routinely make sure there are not too many appliances plugged into one circuit and use the self-test button on ground fault circuit interrupters/arc fault circuit interrupters to ensure proper working order. This will help prevent power outages. If you are having electrical problems, you should call a qualified professional.

· To prevent plumbing problems, toilet paper should be the only product flushed down a toilet. Water filters and ice maker filters should be changed according to manufacturer’s recommendations. Professionals recommend draining sediment from your water heater once a year.

· If you have a self-cleaning oven, do not use any other method to clean it. Mineral deposits on the electric heating element can be cleaned with vinegar. Don’t forget to clean or change out your range hood exhaust filters regularly. If you have a gas burner and it does not light, repair or replace the spark igniter and follow the manufacturer’s instructions for relighting the pilot. If it won’t relight, you may have to replace the thermocouple.

· Routine maintenance tips for your refrigerator include cleaning the interior shelves and gaskets every three months and the coils on the back and underneath once a year. The coils can be vacuumed. If the door gasket is sealing properly, it should hold a dollar bill in place when closed.

· Many consumers overlook the utility room where they do laundry, but the washer and dryer require maintenance as well. Adjust the level of your washing machine or dryer by turning the legs clockwise to lower them or counter-clockwise to raise them. Clean the lint screen on the dryer after each load of laundry is dried. If your washer should fill with water but the machine does not turn on, lighten the load and wait 15 minutes for the motor to reset. It might just be too full. If your dryer takes a really long time to dry clothes, you may need to replace the heating element.

· Lastly, clean the garbage disposal. Feed a full tray of ice cubes through it while running cold water. Always run water at least twenty seconds after you finish. If the flywheel is jammed, free it using the supplied tool or use a long wooden spoon handle and push the reset button. Only dispose of materials allowed by the manual.

These are all routine maintenance tips that your next home owner will appreciate having been done. Keeping your home in working order keeps it ready for resale. Keep your systems and appliances running smooth. To request your free copy of Home Care Tips for a Happy Home Pamphlet provided by American Home Shield Warranties you can call or email me with your name and address and I will be happy to get that to you. It contains more maintenance tips to keep your home ready to sell.

[1] According to American Home Shield Warrantee.