As the fall season nears, protecting our homes from the cooler weather is an important step in home ownership. With the fall and winter comes more rain and cooler temperatures. Here are 8 maintenance tips that can be completed over the weekend. These tasks will prepare your home for the change of season as well as reduce the chance of needing a major repair.
- Heating System Tune up. For a minimal charge of $80-$100 an HVAC contractor can check your heating system to ensure optimal performance and discover minor problems before they turn into costly major repairs. It is also a great time to change your furnace filter. You may want to consider getting your ducts cleaned as well.
- Roof and Gutters. Gutters clogged with leaves can quickly damage a homes foundation. Clean gutters and make sure they drain completely. Also consider walking the roof to look for leaks or damaged shingles. Only do these tasks if you are comfortable on ladders and working on the roof, otherwise hire a professional.
- Caulking and Paint. Fall is a great time to check for cracked or damaged caulk around your windows and doors. Moisture can quickly leak into these cracks and reek havoc. Any chipped or damaged paint should be scraped, primed, and repainted.
- Downspout Extensions. Make sure your downspouts are extended to move water 4-5 Feet away from the foundation. This is an important step any time but especially the fall and spring as this tends to be the wettest part of the year.
- Trim Landscaping. Trim your bushes and shrubs so they are 1 foot away from the surface of the home. This allows for proper air flow and lets the area dry out. Also clean any leaves and debris from around the foundation.
- Disconnect Water Hose. This will help prevent your water line to the hose from freezing.
- Chimney. Great time of year to call a qualified chimney sweep to clean and inspect your chimney. This could prevent a dangerous and costly repair. Do not light your fireplace without an annual inspection to ensure your safety.
- Crawl Space. We tend to forget about the crawlspace because we hate getting in there. This time of year is a great time to get in the crawl space to make sure there is no trouble. Check your vapor barrier, sump pumps, look for water or insect damage.
Fall is a great time for an annual home inspection. Look to New Start Inspections to inspect your home this fall. We want to help you protect your home as it is your greatest investment.
Preparing your home ahead of the home inspection will make the selling of your home go much more smooth as well as prevent possible delays of your closing date. Follow these tips to speed up the process and get you top dollar for your home.
- Confirm all the utilities are on. This includes water, gas, and electric.
- Make sure any and all pets are secured or removed from the property. If they are left at the home put them in a cage or secured outside giving access to the entire home.
- Test your smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors and replace any dead batteries.
- Replace dirty HVAC air filters and make sure they fit properly.
- Replace burnt out light bulbs as the inspector will not know if the light fixture is defective or just a bad bulb.
- Remove all items from around the electric breaker panel, HVAC equipment, water heater, attic, and crawlspace.
- Remove any wood stored near the foundation as this can be conducive conditions for termites and other wood destroying organisms.
- Make sure inspector has access to any locked areas. This could be Attic doors, garage door locks, or any exterior gates.
- Trim your trees back so the limbs do not hang over the roof. Please hire a professional as this can be difficult and dangerous.
- Repair or replace any items in the home you know to be defective. Examples would be cracked windows, broken door handles, or damaged screens.
Checking these things can be of great value and can reduce the stress of selling your home. New Start Inspections can come out and perform a pre-listing inspection to find any hidden trouble that may be found. This can prevent a delay to your closing or cost you the sale of your home.
New Start Inspections is now a proud participating member of InterNACHI’s buy back Program.
And now for the “fine print”:
- Honored for 90 days after closing.
- Valid for home inspections performed for home buyers by participating InterNACHI members.
- We’ll pay you whatever price you paid for the home.
- Excludes homes with material defects not present at the time of the inspection, or not required to be inspected per InterNACHI’s Residential Standards of Practice.
HOME BUYING ISSUES THAT MATTER
Buying a home? The process can be stressful. A home inspection is supposed to give you peace of mind, but often has the opposite effect. You will be asked to absorb a lot of information in a short time. This often includes a written report, checklist, photographs, environmental reports and what the inspector himself says during the inspection. All this combined with the seller’s disclosure and what you notice yourself makes the experience even more overwhelming. What should you do?
RELAX ABOUT INSPECTION MATTER ISSUES
Relax. Most of your inspection will be maintenance recommendations, life expectancies and minor imperfections. These are nice to know about. However, the issues that really matter will fall into four categories:
- Major defects. An example of this would be a structural failure.
- Things that lead to major defects. A small roof-flashing leak, for example.
- Things that may hinder your ability to finance, legally occupy or insure the home.
- Safety hazards, such as an exposed, live buss bar at the electric panel.
Anything in these categories should be addressed. Often a serious problem can be corrected inexpensively to protect both life and property (especially in categories 2 and 4). Most sellers are honest and are often surprised to learn of defects uncovered during an inspection.
KEEP ISSUES THAT MATTER IN PERSPECTIVE
Realize that sellers are under no obligation to repair everything mentioned in the report. No home is perfect. Keep things in perspective. Do not kill your deal over things that do not matter. It is inappropriate to demand that a seller address deferred maintenance, conditions already listed on the seller’s disclosure or nit-picky items.