Time for Home-work

Ignored Home Maintenance Can Cost Youutility-truck-with-metal-ladders

When I was a young mother and told my boys that they had to do their homework before they could play I usually heard a complaint of some kind. Occasionally they would tell me it was finished which was always a delightful surprise. What I noticed was that the subjects they enjoyed were finished quickly. Not surprising were the delay tactics used to avoid the challenging subjects. As the new year begins we have high hopes of fulfilling great and noble deeds but most of us would settle for cleaning out the garage or shed. To that end, I want to encourage you to do your home-work so that you not only maintain your investment but also conserve your dollars for more important matters.

One of the costliest inspections done when you buy or sell a home is the pest inspection. It’s not the actual cost of the inspection, it’s the cost of the repairs. Consider the fact that most people don’t have an inspection until they’re in the market to buy or sell.  What that means for some sellers is that they haven’t had the house inspected anywhere from ten to forty years. I’ve seen some situations where this can cost the sellers up to $10,000 because of dry-rot. Other issues like borer beetles require that the house be tented which typically runs around $5000 or more. There are a variety of pests and fungus active in our area and pest companies recommend an inspection every 5-7 years as a preventative measure.

People tend to avoid roofs until they fail…out of sight…out of mind. If you have an older home and haven’t had your roof looked over, you could be in for a shock. Replacement can be costly especially on the shake roofs and in some subdivisions, certain types of roofs are required. I used to have my roof inspector out each year during the summer months to tune-up my shake roof. It would cost me a few hundred dollars but I never worried when the rains came. It was also much cheaper in the summer when work was slow than during the winter when roofers are so busy and take weeks to get an appointment. Keep in mind that you can also purchase a roof warranty for the work done which will give you added peace of mind for a few years.

Recently my HVAC (heating and a/c) failed on one of my rentals. Fortunately, I had a home warranty in place so didn’t have to pay for the entire unit. I still had to hand over a considerable sum to pay for what wasn’t covered on the installation. There have been some changes in the law requiring new units to meet a certain SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficient Rating) so when a new unit is installed the venting also has to be tested. Again I was very thankful for the home warranty that I have maintained since my purchase.

Some of the chores we need to do can be enjoyable if you’re a DIY (do it yourself) type of person. Tree trimming is a typical winter event and the end of January is the traditional cutoff (no pun intended). Don’t underestimate the necessity of trimming your trees…especially in our water starved valley. Pruning out the mistletoe (which can eventually kill your tree) is important since it puts added stress on the plant. Also, keep in mind the proximity of the trees to your roof. Critters use trees to travel and your attic is an inviting place to winter so don’t offer a safe haven.  If yard work isn’t your passion, consider hiring a college student since they are between semesters (I’ve yet to see one that has enough money).

Here’s a recent story about a friend’s house. They have an older home with a large U-shaped entry area. Above is an open beamed roof structure that has a beautifully established wisteria. Hanging from the center beam is a large, heavy looking outdoor hanging lamp. As I looked up to see the light I noticed what looked like dry-rot on the beam holding the lamp. I pointed out my concern and they had it checked out by a pest company. Sure enough, the beam needed to be replaced. Had it gone unnoticed much longer it could have fallen from the weight of the lamp resulting in a tragic accident. So take the time to inspect your house and don’t delay those maintenance items for another year…it’s time to do your home-work!

Beth Moran is a broker associate with RE/MAX Gold and has been selling real estate since 1999. She has the SRES and CPRES credentials and has lived in the Sacramento valley for 25 years. Her email is: Beth@SacAgent.com or call 916-947-3993 for a free consultation.