Tuesday, December 7, 2021 / by Karri Bedor
Home Maintenance that Will Save You Money - By Deb Hasselquist
Home Maintenance that Will Save You Money:
As a realtor, I have taken many clients through homes and have been with inspectors as they determine the condition of various components of a home. Before being a realtor, I never really thought about the value involved in maintaining a home. Let me explain.
When a buyer goes through a home, there are very specific things a good agent will be sure to point out. To me, one of these things is the grading around the home. This won’t be easy in winter, but when possible, it is crucial to see if the homeowner maintained the correct grading around the property. Simply put, the ground around the home must have a downward slope so water is not able to get into the basement. Honestly, I think water is one of the biggest enemies in causing defects to a home. I have a basement inspector I use and trust who has provided me with a wealth of knowledge. There is a correct way to grade around a home, and I provide these instructions to all my buyers. Just because the ground is sloped doesn’t necessarily mean it is done correctly. The biggest reason that structural issues occur in basements is due to poor grading AND downspouts not correctly placed outside the home. Make sure your downspouts are always positioned to allow water to move away from the home. I have seen homes with water issues in the basement due only to not having downspouts in place. If a homeowner notices water or cracks in their basement and there is no explanation, I highly recommend getting a trusted basement inspector in to evaluate it sooner rather than later. In fact, I would get more than one inspector’s opinion if it involves costly repairs. The bottom line is, simple steps can be taken to avoid complicated issues.
Another simple thing a homeowner should do is run a dehumidifier in the basement.
“Moisture in a wet basement is a breeding ground for harmful bacteria. Once airborne, the bacteria can cause many different harmful infections, and if they are not cleaned
out properly the sickness will keep coming back. These bacteria colonies like to grow on damp, organic matter such as wooden floorboards and walls.
Let’s talk windows for a moment. As a homeowner, windows can be a big expense. Be sure you take care of your windows as needed. Are they sealed properly, do they open and close efficiently, are the sills maintained? If these are attended to on a regular basis, homeowners can save a lot of money. It is much less expensive to repair or replace one or two windows than having to replace them all at once. Keeping an eye on the windows and repairing them as needed may contribute to big savings. Buyers should always look at every window in a house they may put an offer on. There is a definite return on investment in windows.
The mechanicals in your house includes the furnace, central air, water heater and electrical. These are also components that need to be diligently maintained or homeowners may have a costly bill to pay. Make sure the furnace filter is changed regularly.
“In general, this is how often changing furnace filters needs to be done: For 1- to 2-inch filters, replace them every 1 to 3 months. For 3- to 4-inch filters, replace them every 6 to 9 months. For 5- to 6-inch filters, replace them every 9 to 12 months.”
“Generally speaking, you should have your air conditioner serviced twice yearly: once in the fall and once in the spring. This is to ensure that it's clean, that its parts are in good shape and that it's operating as optimally as possible.”
Lastly, it’s important to keep an eye on your roof. It’s much easier to address and repair small issues. Waiting for it to become a bigger repair is going to end up being a bigger cost as well. That being said, if a small repair needs to be done, be sure it is done correctly. In the warmer months, you will be able to look at your roof because another important maintenance piece is the gutters around your house. It is well worth your time and effort to have the gutters clear at all times. Again, if this is not done on a regular basis, bigger, more costly repairs may be needed.
In my opinion, these are some of the big maintenance items that need to be addressed by homeowners. Not only will it save them money, but if they decide to sell, it should keep the value of the home up and attract potential buyers.
As always, feel free to contact me with any questions or if you are in the market to buy or sell.