This fall, there are more things homeowners should do besides raking leaves and carving pumpkins. In the months leading up to winter, there are a number of preventative home maintenance steps that could be the difference between a small repair bill and a massive one, or make or break a sale. 

A home inspection is critical during this time of year, especially if a house is about to listed on the market. Homeowners who wait to fix up any simple problems might not be able to sell their properties as quickly as possible, and a professional looking over the home should be able to shed some light on any potential concerns. 

Why fall maintenance matters

Not only does regular maintenance help keep a house in great working order, but it could also seriously affect the overall equity. Homeowners who let little fixes go neglected might actually decrease the value, undoing any hard work put in over the years and wasting more money on repairs, according to Homeminders.

Therefore, the more motivated the residents are to tackle issues on a regular basis the likelier they are to have good home equity, less headaches and an easier time selling when the time comes. One solid place to start is by scheduling maintenance ahead of time, similar to what many vehicle owners do, the news source noted. A property inspection could point out areas residents should keep up on, and one important place to start is with the hot water heat circulation pump, which should be oiled annually, for instance.

In addition, it would help homeowners to keep a log of components that have received maintenance and had parts replaced over the year, Homeminders noted. Most systems should be used for their full life expectancy, then tuned up. Owners who keep track of regular fixes and replaced parts may have a better idea about the condition of their properties, allowing for easy future planning.

Every once in a while, homeowners should take a look around their houses in order to spot anything going wrong, such as missing shingles, exposed nails or signs of water damage. A home inspection is a great way to find out the true extent of any problems, and if residents stay on top of regular, preventative maintenance odds are that costly repair bills will be avoided.

Places to check in September

In many places across the country, the winters are harsh - cold weather and snow often compound many home problems, and make simple fixes more difficult. Because of the impending seasonal shift, September is a smart time for homeowners to take a look around and make sure their properties are ready. 

One place people could start is by purchasing some plywood, and storing it in a handy location, according to MSN Real Estate. The reason for this precautionary move is because when the weather gets particularly cold, plywood could be placed against exterior basement vents, helping stop pipes from freezing in the fall and winter. 

Additionally, rodents tend to migrate indoors when the temperature drops. A home inspection could identify locations where the property is vulnerable to infestation, and homeowners themselves should start by checking the attic to make sure that it is mice and rat proof, the news source noted. Quarter and half-inch gaps are all these critters need, so vents, doors and windows should remain sealed and shut whenever possible. 

Another ideal preventative home maintenance step includes inspecting the dryer vent. The dryer itself should be moved away from the wall, and the space behind vacuumed and cleaned. Tidying up the exterior vent is also a good step for homeowners, and the more active people are during the fall the less likely they are to run into problems in the winter.