HOMEFINDER: Regular upkeep maintains home value

We offer some tips to enhance the value of your home

Every homeowner knows the learning curve is never ending when you own your own home.

Along with washing the dishes and sweeping the floor come routine maintenance tasks and minor repairs that occur both seasonally and when you least expect it.

We’ve compiled a list of around-the-house chores and troubleshooting ideas that every homeowner should know.

Clean gutters: Leaves, pine needles and other debris will clog your gutters routinely and keeping them clear will help keep rain off your roof and drain it away from your house. Clean your gutters twice a year or more frequently if you have overhanging trees and after a wind storm. Use a sturdy ladder and place it on a firm, level base.

Protect your hands with work gloves and use a small trowel to help scoop debris out of the gutter working away from the drain. To keep things tidy, use a bucket to scoop the leaves into. Then use a hose to clean out each section of gutter. Finally, make sure your drainpipes are clear. Use a hose or plumber’s snake to push out any clogs.

Find a wall stud: Hanging heavy items inside means using the strongest part of your wall – the stud. The easiest way is to use an electronic stud finder, but when you don’t have one handy there are other easy ways to locate a stud. Most electrical outlets are fastened to the side of a stud, so check beside or within an inch of the outlet.

Most studs are 16 inches apart, so use a small drill bit or nail and drill in just above the baseboard to make sure you’re on target.

Change a furnace filter: On most furnaces the filter will be adjacent to the furnace. The filter box may be covered by a small door, or the filter itself will be visible inside a notch that it slides into. Pull the old filter out and discard it. Look on the new filter for airflow arrows that are printed along the sides of the filter. These arrows are always meant to point in the direction of the airflow. Slide the furnace filter into the filter air box with the arrows pointing toward the furnace.

Re-caulk a window: This is best done in mild, dry weather. Start on lower windows and you’ll be an expert before you have to climb a ladder. Prep carefully, removing old caulk, dirt and paint with a razor blade, cleaning the surface with a wire brush. Important to remember is to make sure you have the right type of caulking for the job.

Place the tube in the caulk gun and pull the notched rod back and turn it into place. Cut the tip of the tube about a 1/4 inch at an angle. Press the tip firmly against one corner of the window and apply caulk to the next corner in a continuous bead, just thick enough to fill the gap. Continue around all sides of the window, wiping excess caulk away with a rag immediately.

Repair cracks in the driveway: Heat, rain and tree roots can all take a toll on your driveway. To repair cracks in concrete, first power wash with a masonry cleaning solution to remove oil and grime. Mix your concrete to a doughy consistency.

Use a sand mix for small cracks and gravel for larger holes and deep cracks. Pour the concrete in the cracks and use a trowel to fill in the holes, to remove excess and leave a flat surface. Allow it to dry overnight. When dry, apply a coat of resurfacing concrete over the entire surface.

Q: WHAT HOME MAINTENANCE CAN INCREASE MY HOME’S VALUE?

Keep your garden green. Busy lives keep homeowners away from garden and landscaping duties, but if you can’t take care of it, don’t have it.

Brown and unkept lawns, trees, bushes, gardens or flowerbeds can bring the value of your home down, even though it doesn’t actually have much to do with your actual house.

The next time you need to replace your windows, consider energy-efficient models to replace single-pane windows. The increased up-front cost can be recouped by increased interest from potential buyers, more and more of whom keep energy efficiencies in mind.

Much like your garden, having a safe and accessible deck can be a deciding factor for some buyers. Cleaned and well kept outdoor furniture and a sturdy and safe deck can have buyers dreaming of their summer outdoor living.

It may seem silly, but keeping your bathrooms cleaned and well maintained can sway the decision in your favour.

GREATER VICTORIA MARKET UPDATE » MONTH TO DATE NOV. 10/14  COURTESY VICTORIA REAL ESTATE BOARD

» 137 / 412 — NET UNCONDITIONAL SALES / TOTAL,  NOV. 2013

» 195 / 698 — NEW LISTINGS / TOTAL,  NOV. 2013

» 3,722 / 4,017 — ACTIVE RESIDENTIAL LISTINGS / TOTAL,  OCT. 2013