How to Protect Your Home in 2006
It's your biggest investment. A few fast and simple moves each month can bring peace of mind--and help boost your place's value for decades to come.
By Kate Ashford

(MONEY Magazine) – Termites. Water leaks. Fire hazards. They're all out to turn your biggest asset into a money pit. But home upkeep needn't swallow your weekends and lay waste to your savings. "Do the maintenance in small doses and you'll avoid the big problems later," says David MacLellan, author of The National Home Maintenance Manual. Some of the moves on the next two pages can be made anytime, depending on your region's weather, and none require much time or money. Best of all, we've paced them across 12 months, so you'll have more time throughout the year to enjoy the sweetest part of home ownership: hanging with the family and doing, well, absolutely nothing.

SOURCES: The Home Maintenance Manual, The Virgin Homeowner, Chimney Safety Institute of America, National Association of Certified Home Inspectors, National Association of Home Builders Research Center, National Association of Realtors, National Gardening Association, National Small Flows Clearinghouse, Plumbing-Heating-Cooling Contractors Association.