Monday, December 16, 2013

Is Your Home Showing It's Age?

Is Your Home Showing It's Age?

Getting older is hard on everyone and everything.  Taking care of yourself keeps you feeling and looking younger.  The same goes for your home.  Spending a little money now can save you an expensive repair in the future and also keep your home looking younger than it's actual age.

There is a thing in the appraisal world called "effective age".  A 30 year old home might have an "effective age" of 5-10 because it has a new roof, updated fixtures, appliances and mechanicals - thus making it comparable to homes much younger.

A house with deferred maintenance can lose 10% of it's value.  Good maintenance can add value (possibly 1% per year).

HouseLogic recommends focusing on the number one enemy of all homes...... Water.  Yes, that thing that sustains life, can also destroy your biggest investment.

Water can destroy foundations, walls, roofs, floors.  So, here's a good suggestion for that next rainy day...when it has ruined your other plans....
Pay attention - are your gutters overflowing?  Is water coming out of your downspouts flowing away from your house or is is draining toward your foundation?
When it stops raining - do a quick check of your attic ceiling (looking for roof leaks), basement, windows, ceilings....looking for puddles, stained plywood, etc
MOST IMPORTANTLY - if you discover a problem, fix it NOW.  Believe me, you do not want to see the estimates for repairing a long standing water intrusion problem that has now led to wood rot, deterioration and/or mold....that dreaded 4 letter word!

Those days when you are running around your house changing all your clocks to spring forward or fall back is also a good time to check on all those water related appliances - washer, refrigerator, water heater, HVAC, sump pump, dishwasher.  Also - might throw in the outdoor spigots and irrigation system if you have one.  Again - if you find an issue, fix it NOW.  I guarantee a cost savings versus fixing it when something finally breaks or falls apart.

Here are some other fun winter projects for those of us that deal with cabin fever during the cold/snow seasons:
1.  Clean the lint out of the dryer vent.  Your machine will last longer and work more efficiently
2.  Caulk and seal basement windows
3.  Check ductwork for leaks that are wasting energy
4.  Re-caulk the seam between your backsplash and wall in kitchen to keep moisture out
5.  Be sure paint in bathrooms is moisture resistant

So, be sure to ask yourself - Is Your Home Showing It's Age?  If so - make a New Years resolution to get your house in shape.   You won't have to buy a gym membership or get a treadmill it will never use.

Finally - here's a financial suggestion that can make all these possible repairs, maintenance and upgrades less stressful.  Keep a home maintenance fund.  Experts say you should save 1-2% of your initial home price per year to pay for these items. For example, a $200K home means you should save $4K for these items. Yikes - that seems like a lot.  Most items will be small potatoes...but what about that roof?  Siding?  HVAC? Sure would be nice to have the money on hand rather than having to default to a credit card or home equity loan.  We just started this concept.  We aren't hitting that 2% mark, but we are putting a little something every month in a separate savings account.  We haven't had any repairs - but we have been able to pay for some wanted upgrades!

No comments:

Post a Comment