Help Your Homeowners (Part 1)

New HomeJust about everything we buy comes with a manual. Car? Check. Television? Yep. Camera? No doubt. But the one thing we buy that doesn’t come with a manual is precisely the purchase that needs one the most, a new house.

There are maintenance needs for a home that the common homeowner is unaware of, and homebuilders likely won’t realize they were being neglected until things break. Buying a home is the biggest investment that most American families will make. And smart homeowners know that maintaining their home protects their investment.

The unfortunate reality is the day a house is built it starts to decline. Regular maintenance performed by the educated homeowner will minimize that decline. If maintenance is not carried out, or something simply gets worn out, repair will be required, which by its nature, requires some degree of financial investment from either the owner or builder.

Home maintenance can cover a wide range of activities that can be categorized into interior and exterior tasks or by home system, such as plumbing, heating and cooling, electrical, and landscaping/grounds maintenance. Certain maintenance tasks should be performed monthly, seasonally, or annually but how do your homeowners know what to do and when to do it?

Homes today are increasingly complex – they involve systems within systems, integrated technologies, and dozens of “pieces” or components that homeowners rely on every day. Each home component – including systems, appliances, finishes, etc. – has its own make, model, serial number, user manual, warranty information, and more.

A comprehensive homeowners’ manual is the key to maintaining and understanding all of these complex components. It is a compilation of information to help homeowners quickly and easily find the information to operate and maintain their homes properly. With green homes this is particularly important, as the efficiency and effectiveness of all the various elements that make the home “green” are very interrelated and cannot be overlooked. Homeowner education and documentation via a homeowners’ manual or online platform is required by all the major certifying agencies – Leed for Homes, GreenPoint, National Green Building Standard (NGBS), and even state programs like CalGreen in California. But beyond that, it’s just good business!

Responses from NAHB and Guild Quality’s recent survey, “Homeowner’s Perspective: The Value of a Green Home,” illustrated that homeowners would like more education from their builders.2 Owners of Green Certified homes specifically requested education to “understand how to operate and maximize the benefits of the green-related features in their home.” Taking adequate, timely care of a home is extremely beneficial in the long run and a homeowners’ manual helps homeowners – your clients – protect their most significant and important investment.