Scrutinize all outside walls and trim for traces of marred clapboard, chipped bricks, broken shingles and bent siding. The exterior of the house is the only resistance you have against external forces impacting your dreams of renovation. Patch any cracks or holes in the stucco and repair or replace any parts of the exterior that is showing signs of wear. Eventually, your plan for total home renovations may allow for more extensive refinishing, but during the maintenance phase you just need to take steps from exterior walls making the renovation more work than necessary.
Address any windows that stick or are difficult to open or close. This could potentially be the result of decades worth of paint layers. If opening or closing windows that stick result in further damage, replace broken sash cords or make modifications to cure the problem of binding. Caulking windows not properly insulated can help keep the interior of the home from experiencing further damage during renovations.
Refinish wood flooring and do whatever it takes to put an end to squeaky floorboards, steps or stairs as a necessary step in maintenance during the long process of completing all your home renovations. You can worry about redoing an entire floor later, but in the meantime any broken tile or ceramic flooring should be repaired or replaced. Waste no time in removing musty carpets and rugs because that smell will sink into any new items introduced into the home while renovations are taking place.
Older homes in need of renovations will often be a younger homebuyer's introduction to the world of houses heated by steam. Learn how to flush radiators while you decide whether or not to replace this steam heating system with a furnace system or space heaters and room unit air conditioners. Leaky radiators or radiators that continually make a banging should eventually be replaced either with a new radiator or an entirely new heating system, but in the meantime maintenance may be limited merely to learning how steam heating systems work.
Roofs should be inspected for loose, cracked or damaged shingles. A completely new roof may be part of your long term plans for home renovations, but in the meantime just make sure to replace any individual areas of disrepair. Don't forget to check that the metal flashing hasn't corroded, rusted, come undone or are otherwise suffered damage.
Replace or repair interior doors that stick or loosely swing open. Check around all doors leading outdoors for signs of inefficient weather-stripping. While replacing old doors with updated models may be on your list of things to do as part of your overall plan for home renovations, a short-term fix may be limited merely to the addition of insulating material.