How would you feel if I told you that the problem you just paid $5,000 to fix could have been solved with just a few hundred last year? Pretty bad, right? Let’s be honest, you would be kicking yourself.
Each year, thousands of homeowners across America experience what I just described. They put off fixing a small problem until it became a very big and very expensive problem. Then, they had to pay the bill. Don’t make the same mistake.
Here are five small issues that could become big problems if you don’t address them quickly.
After a good rain, check around your home to make sure that the rainwater is being channeled away from your home and not pooling around the house or overflowing the gutters. If you do notice that water if pooling or overflowing the gutters, check your entire gutter system for clogs, leaks, corrosion and gaps. Poor drainage can lead to foundation problems, rotting siding and even mold and mildew problems if it gets into the walls.
Damaged Roof and Siding
Your roof bears the brunt of any storms, and so, it’s the most susceptible part of your home to water infiltration. Siding has almost as much exposure, and what your roof and siding protect is very expensive to fix and replace. One day, when it’s nice and sunny out, take a pair of binoculars out and inspect your roof shingles or tiles for signs of damage. Are shingles curling or missing? Are tiles cracked and gone? You might also want to get a ladder and climb on the roof to check the flashing. If you notice any problems, have a professional repair them.
The same goes for siding check for damaged siding regularly. Pay special attention to areas around you gutters, windows and eaves. You can seal these gaps with caulk.
If water gets into your attic or into your walls, it can cause structural damage that can cost thousands to repair.
Termites and Ants
These critters might be small, but they can of plenty of damage in a short amount of time. Termites and ants love moist conditions. That’s another reason that making sure the area around your home is draining properly. Experts advise that you should have a professional check your home at least twice a year for signs of termites, but termites and carpenter ants can cause a huge amount of damage in six months. It’s a good idea to inspect your property yourself between inspections. You can check for termites by poking a screwdriver along the mudsill. If it goes through or in, you have termites. Carpenter ants leave little piles of sawdust in their wake.
Mold and Mildew
Remember a few years ago when everyone was petrified of “toxic” mold. Good luck selling a home if there was even the slightest evidence of mold. Well, since that time, people have come back down to earth about mold and mildew. It’s no longer a death sentence, but it is still something people need to keep an eye out for as it can be evidence of larger problems. Generally a mold and mildew situation occurs when either moisture is trapped in the walls or under carpet or there is a persistent damp environment – like a leaky pipe that goes unnoticed for weeks or months. If you notice mold and mildew in your home, first cut off the source of the moisture. Then, you can treat the mold and mildew problem. Most small problems – under 10 square feet – can be effectively treated with a solution of one cup chlorine bleach to one gallon of water. Larger outbreaks will require professional assistance. So, it’s always a good thing to catch a mold and mildew problem early. Bleach costs a couple of dollars a gallon. A professional remediation service costs thousands.
Cracks in the Foundation
Oh, no! There’s a crack in the foundation. Don’t worry. It might be nothing. Houses settle over time, and cracks do appear. Most of the time they are no big deal and do not affect the home’s value in the slightest and are not a safety hazard. Still, a crack is something to keep an eye on. As a general rule, vertical cracks are okay. Horizontal cracks are bad. If a sharpened pencil can fit into a crack up to the yellow, that’s not good. If a crack measures over 3/16ths of an inch across, that’s not good. If you have any concerns, you should mark the crack with chalk or a piece of tape and monitor it for a few months. If it continues to grow, call in a professional structural engineer to take a look at the problem before it becomes a major structural issue.
Protect your real estate investment. Don’t let minor issues with your home turn into major, expensive headaches. Keep an eye on these problems areas --- and others that might be specific to your region – and your real estate investment will appreciate – not depreciate.
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Photo courtesy of Eric Haney/ Flickr.com