Buying a house is a huge step in life for most people.  Searching for the perfect home in which to spend your life can be difficult and time consuming, but the payoff is well worth it.  There's nothing like coming home after a long day and having the ability to look around and see the rewards you've earned through hard work and determination.  But what is the best way to maintain the value of your property, and ensure that your home remains the valuable investment it's intended to be?  

1.  Clean regularly.  I know it sounds like common sense, but a clean home is a happy home.  Make sure you go through on a regular basis and scrub those areas that don't usually get taken care of in the course of a normal house cleaning, like underneath the sinks, and the backs of closets.  This will give you the chance to catch minor issues before they become major ones!  

2.  Keep up the maintenance.  It is absolutely imperative to keep up on the maintenance of your home, both if you intend to live in it for years to come, or if you're thinking of selling.  Air conditioner filters should be changed at least every few months, and the entire unit needs to be serviced twice a year.  Remember to replace your washing machine hoses every few years to prevent leakage.  If your roof is looking worn, or shingles are starting to warp and curl, replace or repair it before the damage becomes severe.  It's always better to be proactive when it comes to the upkeep of the major systems in your home, so be sure to keep a careful eye on these things to save you from some huge repair bills in the future!  And if something does happen to break down, don't skimp on repairs.  While it may be tempting to let your friend come and fix the AC unit, that type of work doesn't usually come with a guarantee.  It's always better to have a licensed repair person come in and complete any work so that you have records and receipts for yourself or prospective buyers.

3.  Update or upgrade.  Appliances such as dishwashers, refrigerators, and washing machines usually last around 10 years or so.  However, it's not always necessary to upgrade these items to the most expensive brand or model!  Energy efficiency is a huge selling point, so look in to getting appliances with a high efficiency rating.  It always improves the look of a home to have matching items in the kitchen and bathroom, so be sure to choose a simple finish like stainless steel that will go well with any decor.  Keep up to date on current trends in home design, and choose what you think will match your tastes the best to keep your home looking modern and new.  Replace worn carpeting with easy to clean tile or hardwood, which both provide a great return on the investment.  And don't forget to paint the interior and exterior of the home on a regular schedule to keep it looking clean and fresh!

4.  Landscaping!  Keep the outside of your home looking as inviting as the inside by investing in some landscaping.  A home always looks more appealing with a freshly mown lawn and some attractive flower beds or potted plants. Be sure to address any cracking or stained spots in your driveway or sidewalk as soon as possible. If your home has a porch, think of installing a porch swing, or simply place a few rocking chairs to make a beautiful space to relax and enjoy a nice cold drink!

Maintaining your home's value is a matter of proper planning and maintenance, first and foremost.  Get in the habit of checking the items listed above, and your home will provide you a wonderful place to live for years to come and a great return on your investment in the future!