Zweiacker & Associates

7 Home Hacks Every First-Time Homeowner Should Know

When it comes to being a first-time homeowner, there are lessons that family, friends and even neighbors will share with you; to make your transition from tenant to owner/occupant smoother.  And while many of these “life lessons learned” revolve around choosing the right home or finding the best mortgage lender, other helpful insights are situational…meaning, here’s what you do in case this happens.

But when it comes to basic do-it-yourself (DIY) maintenance, the following 7 simple ideas can save you tons of frustration.


1.)  When Applying Caulk, Use Painter’s Tape2-caulking-tips

Trying to evenly apply a clean, straight and uniform bead of caulk can seem impossible for the DIY’er.  But simply adding a strip of blue painter’s tape both above and below the area to be caulked makes life much easier.  Be sure to thoroughly clean the area prior to doing the work.  Then add the tape.  Caulk where needed.  And be sure to remove the tape while the caulk is still wet.




8c7157be39256c4f45266631551a2ac72.)  Get Cooking with Your Mower

At first, owning a home with a yard you now GET to mow seems like you’re growing the Green American Dream.  But over time, having to keep your lawn mowed can become a bit of a pain.  Add if your mower isn’t functioning as efficiently as possible, the chore can become very frustrating.  One solution is to coat the undercarriage of the lawn mower (including the blade too) with cooking spray.  Once applied, the spray will reduce the amount of clippings that stick; as well as protecting the blade from rust.  Just be sure to apply the spray while the mower is off.


ca065b6afbfc914058e6a369aa35cd283.)  Chalk This One Up for Your Tools

In this part of Texas, heat and humidity go hand in hand.  Even during the winter months the average humidity is higher in Brazos County than other parts of the country.  And with that increased humidity, comes the possibility of rust.  So keeping a handful of blackboard chalk in one’s toolbox can keep your metal tools and hardware rust-free. How does this work you ask?  The porous nature of chalk will absorb the ambient moisture and prevent metal from rusting.


5444cbb3d390f3a0_qvs-wedge-make-up-sponges_full4.)  Give Your Drywall a Makeover

Most of the time, small holes in sheetrock are covered/filled with mesh or paper tape.  But a makeup sponge can also do the trick.  Simply cut a small piece of the cosmetic sponge to fill the hole.  Then spackle (texture or sand if needed) and paint.  A step-by-step tutorial may be found here.


scrubber-complete5.)  Use the Drill to Clean the Tub

After years of dirt and grime building up on the surface of one’s bathtub, it typically takes lots of elbow grease to deep clean that dingy tub.  That is unless you have a cordless drill and foam polishing ball attachment (easily found at most auto repair shops in the wash/wax section). Simply apply the household bathtub cleaner and let the rotating ball do the work for you.  BONUS:  While you’re at the automotive store, pick up a bottle of windshield rain repellant and apply it to the glass (door and walls) of your shower—to help reduce the amount of soap scum buildup.


How-to-keep-a-windshield-crack-from-spreading-46.)  Tiny Holes in Windows

If you’ve ever run across a tiny hole in a window (as a result of a rock thrown by the lawnmower), you can easily use clear nail polish to “fix” the hole.  Apply a coat of polish into the hole and allow it to dry.  Repeat this process until the surface of the polish is even/flush with the surface of the window pane.


tennis-ball-in-water7.)  I “LOVE” This Pool Trick

When keeping score in tennis, the correct notation of 40-0 is “Forty Love”.  And if you have a swimming pool, you will love this trick.  As your guests use your pool during the spring and summer, lotions/moisturizers and sunscreens will leave an oily film on the surface of the water.  To clean the water’s surface, toss in a clean tennis ball.  The fuzzy surface of the ball will not only absorb the oils left behind, but many insects will cling to the ball; which can then easily be scooped out and washed clean with soapy water.  Once it’s dry, it’s ready to use again. BONUS:  This same tennis ball can also be used to buff out scuffs and scrapes on the bottom and walls of the pool.  All you need to do is cut an “X” into the ball and insert a wooden end of a mop or broom handle to avoid having to hold your breath under water.