Janet Laughead BHHS Commonwealth Wellesley MA


Photo by Andy Dean Photography via Shutterstock

The phrase “the joys of homeownership” is a staple in most households. But sometimes, you think you hear a snicker behind the smile. Now that you’re finally ready to become an owner, you might be wondering if that term is truthful or sarcastic. The answer is “Both.”

How can it be both?

No doubt about it, buying a home and making it yours is a fantastic achievement. Taking on part of the American dream builds your confidence, creates community stability and sets your household’s future on a positive trajectory. However, a home can also become an albatross. That could be what happens when you blindly purchase a home without an upfront and thorough inspection. Even a home that a relative or friend sells to you needs a professional home inspector to give you a baseline of what maintenance and repairs it may need.

How do you stay "joyful?"

  • Insist on a home inspection. As mentioned earlier, even if someone you know sells you the home, paying for an inspector to report on what’s up with the home’s major systems means you can plan for your future. If the inspection says the roof needs replacing in five years, you can factor that into your budget and not be surprised or upset when, in five years, you need a new roof.
  • Ask for a warranty. As part of the negotiations, have your agent request a home warranty for at least a year. You may even opt for renewal after that year. Get a warranty that covers problems with major systems such as the electrical panel and wiring, plumbing, water heater, HVAC and sprinkler systems. The cost to the seller is typically low, and helps maintain peace of mind when things start to get a little worn.
  • Stay on top of maintenance. If you’re handy, this is your moment to shine. Get a list of the most common maintenance issues in a home and schedule it into your free time. These include monitoring for water leaks, changing air conditioning and furnace filters and clearing out the gutters and downspouts before the winter weather wreaks havoc. If you’re not the do-it-yourself type, then ask your agent to recommend someone to keep an eye on things for you so that they don’t turn into major problems.

Is homeownership a reason for joy? Of course. But don’t let unexpected expenses and maintenance issues dim your happiness. Ask your agent about home inspections, warranties and repair contractor referrals.


Owning your own home is a beautiful feeling. However, this feeling comes with the responsibility of maintenance. This maintenance does not apply only to appliances, but also the small problems that you tend to overlook in an apartment. When you fail to address these little problems on time in a house, however, it may result in more significant problems with a bill of a few hundred dollars turning into thousands. To prevent the worst from happening, here are small homes issues that you need to catch on time:

Faucet and pipe Leak

A leaky faucet or a slight leak in a pipe in the wall may seem like nothing to be worried about, but if left unattended, it could lead to severe damages. Failing to fix a leaky faucet at a slow drip can lead to expensive water bills as well as resulting in drain clogs and overflow. Furthermore, if a pipe in the wall has even a slight leak, neglecting it can damage the walls which can cause a serious issue that can impact your home's structure negatively.

Stain on the ceiling 

A weird blemish or damp spot on your ceiling is typically a sign of roof leakage. However, if you neglect the stain, then your ceiling could collapse because the drywall lining won't be able to hold the weight of water. In a worst-case scenario, untreated stains may result in dry rot in the roof beams which may cause structural damage and illness from mold growth.

Sticking doors

If you have sticking doors, they may not seem not like a big deal, but they are caused by expansion because too much moisture gets into your home. If your entry does not close properly, it will be difficult for you to heat a room efficiently, leading to a higher energy bill. Also, the moisture that gets into your room can lead to the growth of mold spores which are harmful to your health.

Dull hardwood flooring

"What possibly could go wrong?" is the question many homeowners ask when they notice the protective top coat of their hardwood floor has dulled or worn out. However, leaving a dull hardwood floor untreated will make it prone to discoloration and dirt, and you could possibly end up spending several thousand dollars on replacing the entire floor.

Missing or damaged caulk around the tub

If you notice some water is seeping behind your wall tiles or your tub, you need to seek the services of an experienced plumber or tile repair person as soon as possible. Leaving damaged caulk untreated can lead to dangerous mold deposits and also ruin the floors of the bathroom.

Do not ignore small signs of issues in your home and call a general contractor if you are unsure of the cause.


Many of us work long hours all week so that we can afford the luxuries of a nice home. Unfortunately, keeping your home clean and updated requires even more time that you don’t have.

The good news is that there are a growing number of ways to make your home less high maintenance. Things like automation, decluttering techniques, and cleaning hacks have made it easier than ever for us to take care of our homes while still having time to enjoy them.

Home automation

Tony Stark’s skyrise in Iron Man, the Jetson family’s house, and Nathan’s lab in Ex Machina all have one thing in common: robots that help make our home lives easier. What was once reserved for sci-fi, however, is beginning to be introduced at affordable prices in the real world.

There are many different types of home automation devices available on today’s market. One of the simplest time-saving devices is Amazon’s dash button. You can buy a button for several different household items. You keep the buttons in your cabinet or pantry and when you run out of, say, laundry detergent you can simply press the button and Amazon will automatically order and ship more.

For something more advanced, home assistants are gaining in popularity. Amazon’s Echo, Google’s Home, and others are currently gaining traction. They typically look like a normal small speaker. But with them you can order items online, set alarms and reminders for things like cleaning or car maintenance, control your lights and thermostat, and more.

Cleaning robots

You’ve probably seen the Roomba before--the small robot that vacuums your house for you by learning the floor layout. If you haven’t, now’s the time to look into them. The market is diversifying and the technology is improving, making them even more helpful to have around the house.

Robots aren’t just for the indoors. You can now purchase a robot that mows your lawn for you. It learns the parameters of your yard, how to avoid obstacles, and soon it’s cutting the grass while you sit back in a lounge chair.

Smart weatherproofing

While we’re on the topic of your home’s exterior, let’s discuss some ways to make the outside of your home low maintenance. Gutter guards and leaf filters are a great way to make sure your gutters don’t get clogged, protecting your gutters and in turn your foundation.  

When it comes to roofing, there are now several alternatives that will outshine and outlast traditional shingles. Metal roofs are growing in popularity as they now come in several aesthetically appealing forms.

Cleaning hacks

The best cleaning hacks are the ones that save you time and reduce the number of times you have to clean something. For the shower doors in your bathroom, cleaning them with Rain-X glass cleaner (built for car windshields) will keep them clear and shining longer.

Dusting a home takes a lot of time. Most people see dusting as an inevitable weekly task. However, there is a way to reduce the dust that gets kicked up in your home. The amount of dust that builds up on the surfaces of your home is largely due to air conditions. An air purifier and a humidifier can both help to reduce that amount of dust in your home.




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