A new homeowner's guide to home maintenance logs

By Zak Stoiber

July 2023

If you’re a new homeowner, you know you should be paying attention to home maintenance. But it’s extremely tempting to bury your head in the sand – only to be surprised when you get a $10,000 bill for a preventable repair. Not that I would know anything about that… 

What I DO know is that home maintenance may not always be fun – but that doesn’t mean it has to be difficult. Keeping up with home maintenance will protect your investment in the home, prevent small issues from becoming larger, more expensive issues, and improve your quality of life. And with the use of a home maintenance log and a few pro tips, maintenance will become a healthy habit – like flossing every night. (You DO floss every night, don’t you?)

Get started with a home inspection

If you bought a house recently and a home inspection was part of your homebuying process, dig that puppy out of storage and re-familiarize yourself with the most recent state of your home. However, if you never got a home inspection (because of a competitive market) or it’s been 5 or more years since your last one, you may want to get a new one. That’s right – home inspections aren’t just for prospective homeowners – they can be for current homeowners, too! 

While you can certainly call a trusted repair person to diagnose a problem, a home inspector doesn’t have a vested interest in recommending work unless it needs to be done – they’re getting paid regardless! While the cost of $200-$400 (according to may seem like a lot, a home inspection has the potential to save you a lot more; for example, the water damage caused by a leaky roof is estimated (as of July 2023) to cost between $1,305 and $5,715 to repair, according to

Before digging into the regular home maintenance, take care of high-priority repairs outlined in the report that might cause you big problems in the short term. Then you can start chipping away at routine maintenance knowing you have a strong foundation.

Begin with a home maintenance checklist

As a reward for making it this far, download our home maintenance checklist here. It may seem like a lot, but just remember that there are 365 days in a year and many of these tasks only take a few minutes! Once you download it, save or print a copy and label it with the current year. This checklist will serve as your bird’s-eye view of the year’s tasks, when they were completed, and what still needs to get done.

Create your home maintenance log

A home maintenance log tracks the repairs, maintenance and improvements made to your home. There are many ways you can maintain a maintenance log; whether you jot notes down on paper or in an electronic spreadsheet, or use an app, make sure you include the following info for each item: 

  • Date the maintenance was last performed 
  • When the next maintenance of this type is due (monthly, quarterly, twice a year, yearly)
  • Who completed it (with contact info, if applicable): You, a friend, or hired help 
  • Supplies used (screw size, filter type, paint color, etc.) 
  • Helpful notes (YouTube videos, help articles, etc.)
  • Cost of supplies and/or service 

One simple way to create your own home maintenance log is to plan ahead and create one section for each of the next 12 months, adding relevant tasks to the appropriate months. Once you complete a task, schedule the future task when it’s next due, whether that’s next month, next year, or next quarter. Wash, rinse, repeat! 

Still not sure what will work for you? Here are 3 quick-start ideas for your home maintenance log: 

  • A physical notebook, where each page is a month and includes a tiered bulleted list of tasks with associated notes 
  • A new OneNote “notebook,” with a new “page” for each month and a checkbox for every task 
  • A spreadsheet, with 1 sheet representing every month, and each row a task 

Consider “outsourcing” some maintenance

While you can complete many home maintenance tasks yourself (like cleaning gutters and replacing air filters), you may want to consider finding a professional to help with more complex tasks. There seems to be a subscription service for everything these days, and home maintenance is not an exception!

When I bought my house, the previous owner had a subscription from a local maintenance company that hadn’t yet expired, so I gave it a shot; for something like $100 a year, they included yearly AC, electrical, and heating inspections. The best part was that they texted me whenever an inspection was due, which helped me stay on task.

The downside? I felt I was being upsold every time someone came to “maintain” my AC unit – as a new homeowner I erred on the side of caution and agreed to some expensive “fixes,” only to have them recommend even more the following year. My advice here is simple: whether hiring a professional under a maintenance agreement or on an as-needed basis, find someone you trust before handing over your credit card.

Update your home maintenance log after each visit from a professional – you can see if prices go up, compare future quotes, and have peace of mind knowing which aspects of your home are up-to-date. 

Check in every month to keep yourself honest

Ask anyone who has made a to-do list – writing it down is often the easiest part! To ensure you follow through on your efforts, schedule a monthly maintenance check-in on your personal calendar. Use this time to look at any tasks you have scheduled for this month, then schedule time to do the work or call the appropriate professional.

Treat your home well, and your home will treat you well

At the end of each year, schedule next year’s tasks – and congratulate yourself for properly maintaining your house for another year! Even with perfect planning, emergencies will crash into your life unexpectedly, storms will cause damage, and tastes in the perfect paint color will change. But you’ll be able to rest easy knowing that the roof isn’t leaking, your furnace or AC is in good shape, and you’re minimizing unexpected costs as much as you can. And years down the road, whether you sell it or pass it along to future generations, you’ll know you’ve treated your home well, and it has treated you well in return.


Nice house

William kellett

This is a great and informative article

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Zak Stoiber is a digital marketing program specialist at MGIC who enjoys reading books, some of which do not contain pictures. He recently became a homeowner mostly to house his board game collection.
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