It's 10:00pm, do you know what your house looks like?
Home maintenance isn't fun, most of the time. It can quickly become tedious and annoying. But it's oh-so important to maintaining the health of your home and preserving your investment! And becomes very important when it's time to sell.
Now most of us, except for perhaps for those of us who are home inspectors, are not in the habit of really inspecting our house for troubled areas. I mean, come on, when was the last time you walked around your entire house and ogled every piece of siding, right?
There are a lot of problems with a home that come from simple things not being caught early enough. Sometimes these little things lead to huge issues like structural damage, infestations, mold, rot, etc. Much better to find out about these while they are still a cheap fix, rather than a humongous ordeal.
Here are just a few things to keep an eye on, before they become worse. Yes, there's many more, but these items frequently pop up at sale time and are things homeowners generally are quite unaware of!
- Siding damage - Every now and then, walk around your house and look at every wall, corner, soffit, and particularly the lowest portions, window trims, and door frames. You're looking for peeled paint, buckled siding, "mushy" looking areas, etc. Catching these early can mean the difference between touch-up paint or replacing lots of siding and cleaning mold from the backing! It can also head off things like termite infestations and dry rot.
- Electrical panel - Woah. Now I think I looked at mine when I bought the house, but haven't since. Most of us wouldn't know what we were looking at anyway! You might get this checked out every now and then to make sure it doesn't need to be upgraded based on your electricity usage or current codes. If you notice power fluctuations in the home, sparks at plugs, or your breakers tripping, you probably want to do this sooner, rather than later.
- Attics and crawl spaces - Yes, they're not pretty. They are hot, cold and itchy. But you should know what's going on up there or down below. You could have a leak, water intrusion, a colony of bats, and never know it! Make time to peek up there every now and then and make sure nothing's hiding out, growing, or that you didn't just obtain an inground pool!
- Fireplaces - If you don't use yours, you may not notice issues with the fireplace until it's time to sell and that home inspector brings it up! Have it checked out, and make sure it gets cleaned yearly at least.
- Basements - I have met folks who have literally not set foot in their basements in years. If you don't go there regularly, make time to check it out. Look at the walls and floors and check for moisture, mildew/mold growths, cracks, drafts, etc. Also look up at the flooring above you if it's exposed and check for leaking under the bathrooms and kitchen above you.
Basically, be aware of your home. It's one of your most important assets, and generally your biggest investment. Keep it safe so that it keeps you safe and earns you more money.
Schedule at least one day a year, at the very least, and do a walk-through of your home, from the outside to the inside. Check outlets for function, check cracks, run sinks, dishwashers, tubs, and check for leaking. Look at the siding and basement, peek in the attic and crawl spaces, even the roof if you dare (be careful!)
I highly recommend that everyone budget in a home inspection every so often. It will save you the time of giving your home the onceover, gives you someone with more experience and knowledge looking at it, and is good insurance to help you catch problems early on, before they cause mega $$$ worth of damage. A home inspector also does not have the incentive to find something wrong that a contractor might, so is unlikely to "make up" or recommend un-necessary repairs just to make a buck. Besides, you'd have to call so many different systems people, a home inspection would be cheaper anyway!
Protect that home! When you're ready to move on to a new one, give me a shout and I'll be happy to do my own walk-through and give you tips about getting the place ready to sell!