How do we keep a house from falling apart?
May 24, 2012 10:40 AM   Subscribe

Can you recommend a good book (or website or other resource) about home maintenance? We are buying our first home this summer and need guidance on all sorts of things.

My family and I are planning to move into our first home this summer. We haven't bought anything yet but we are in the process of looking and are aiming for a single-family home.

Neither my husband nor I have ever owned a house and we've both been living in rental apartments since graduating from college.

So we need a resource on home maintenance. Like - what needs replacing every year? What kind of things should we do on a regular basis so that our house remains in a good condition? What kind of simple repairs can two smart people learn to do? If it's at all relevant we live in Massachusetts.

Books, websites, etc are all fine. Lay it on me, Hive Mind.
posted by sutel to Home & Garden (13 answers total) 55 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: You need Cheryl Mendelson's "Home Comforts: The Art and Science of Keeping House". It's a comprehensive resource on keeping the inside of your home renewed and functional.
posted by MonkeyToes at 10:43 AM on May 24, 2012 [2 favorites]

Best answer: This is what Bright Nest aims to do. I haven't gotten it completely set up, since I just recently did the house purchasing and haven't moved in yet. It looks like it'd be pretty helpful for a house that primarily needs routine maintenance.
posted by bookdragoness at 11:04 AM on May 24, 2012 [3 favorites]

Best answer: I have an old copy of the Readers Digest Guide to Home Repair. Apparently it's been repackaged as Reader's Digest New Fix-It-Yourself Manual. Assuming it's basically the same thing, it's a great reference.
posted by Doohickie at 11:28 AM on May 24, 2012 [2 favorites]

On preview, doohickie beat me to it, Reader's Digest book is good (and they a related book on appliances which is also good)
posted by jeribus at 11:31 AM on May 24, 2012

Best answer: We were very pleased with The Virgin Homeowner by Janice Papolos. It describes the various systems in the house and provides a calendar for maintenance activities. It isn't a home repair manual, but gives you the background information you need to either deal with contractors or understand the material in a repair manual. I haven't read it in a while, but I think the author lives in New England.
posted by Area Man at 11:50 AM on May 24, 2012 [1 favorite]

Another recommendation for the Reader's Digest. My husband received it at our wedding shower 20 years ago. He said it was the best gift he ever got. Over the years he has gone to being completely clueless to doing major home renovations (now on our 3rd house). He has gotten more advanced books over the years, but this was an excellent starter home book.
posted by maxg94 at 1:02 PM on May 24, 2012

Holmes on Homes. Is a TV show and a magazine. Mike Holmes is a home inspector and a contractor. He finds and fixes stuff you didn't even know was a problem. Watch several episodes before you buy anything.
posted by Gungho at 1:12 PM on May 24, 2012 [1 favorite]

+1 for Reader's Digest (I have the old version). It's encyclopedic.
posted by zvs at 1:55 PM on May 24, 2012

Definitely Reader's Digest. I refer to my ancient edition as "the Big Yellow Fix-Anything Book."
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 2:09 PM on May 24, 2012

Best answer: Hey MetaFilter. This is John from BrightNest. Our site does aim to help new and experienced homeowners take care of their home. We like to say "we do the thinking so you don't have to". We have all the critical and good-to-do yearly home maintenance tasks schedule for you. From changing your furnace filter to inspecting your roof. We learn about the features of your home to give you perfectly customized and relevant tips and to-do's.

We also have a homefolio section where you can record and catalogue all aspects of your house. From the paint in your bedroom to the brand and model of your appliances. We'll EVEN go out and find the owners manuals for you and store them right in your homeoflio, for free, forever.

I'd love to have people try it out. Let me know if you have any questions comments.

posted by jfeust at 8:55 PM on May 24, 2012 [1 favorite]

+1 for Readers Digest, which I read alongside another similarly encyclopaedic book, the name of which I forget but will look up when I get home, but I think it's an old version of the Collins Complete DIY Manual.

Although the information is similar, sometimes just seeing a diagram drawn slightly differently can shed more light on how something works, or one might have a tip or trick that's missing from the other.

John from BrightNest - I'm confused by why "real estate professionals" pay for a subscription. What's that all about? I can't see anything explaining what they get from the deal.
posted by UbuRoivas at 11:18 PM on May 24, 2012

follow-up: Yes, it's the Collins. Mine's the Australian edition, which presumably is just an edited version of the international edition - less about triple glazing, more about snake & spider-proofing.
posted by UbuRoivas at 2:04 AM on May 25, 2012

@UbuRoivas: The Real Estate Professional portion of BrightNest basically gives realtors, insurance agents, mortgage brokers, and handymen the ability to co-brand the site with their logo and contact information and then introduce the site to their clients. This is a great way for them to stay top of mind with homeowners, as well as get our weekly content sent out in newsletter format to their contacts. It's proven to be very popular with these professionals as it's a gift that helps homeowners better take care of their house which benefits everyone involved.
posted by jfeust at 7:00 PM on May 25, 2012

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