Apr 012019
 

While I won’t say I’m an expert with this issue, I’ll go over things I’ve learned and experienced with what water or moisture can do to a home. Since most if not all of a home is made of wood, water intrusion can rot the wood leading to deterioration of the structure itself. And excess air moisture can lead to many issues including the dreaded 4 letter word: Mold.

Any time we visit a homeowner during a seller’s consultation I have a checklist I review while doing the first walkthrough. First, I start at the top and try to physically access the roof condition and try to confirm with the homeowner the age of the roof. In the past few years this has become more important for both the buyer and the lender along with the buyer’s insurance company. For the buyer an old roof means an expensive repair in the near future. The lender is worried about a leaking roof damaging the home. The insurance company now looks at an old roof as high probability of a damage claim. If you know your roof is older than 15 to 20 years, expect that to be an issue when you sell. But also consider replacing that old roof sooner to stop you from paying out even more when it leaks and does extensive damage to your home’s structure. Leaks can be slow to become obvious to you and by then a lot of damage can be done. At the very least if you’re not sure about your roof’s condition, have it checked by a roofing professional. Once you are sure your home is protected from falling water you’re one step closer to a dry home.

The next item I’ll go over with a homeowner is the foundation, basement, or crawlspace. Basements in central Indiana will often at least be damp. Older ones leak some or in some cases a lot. Waterproofing can be expensive but it’s important to have a dry basement or crawlspace. Most of this area has higher water tables and when it rains a lot water will collect in the ground around your home and by nature seeps towards lower areas such as your basement or crawlspace. If water stays there long, it results in ‘biological growth’ that often is in the form of mold. And if mold if allowed to flourish it can be very expensive to remedy. But the one thing most people miss is that mold is not the problem, it’s the wet condition that allows it to flourish. Also keep in mind the wet conditions will rot wood so after a long time the home can be structurally weakened. It’s very important to remedy wet basements and crawlspaces for many reasons and ignoring them can result in a very expensive bill to fix the moisture issue, structure damage, and remediate the mold.

Damaged roof decking from excessive moisture in the attic.

Damaged roof decking from excessive moisture in the attic.

And finally, there is the moisture issue that we’ve dealt with multiple times that really surprises the homeowner: the attic space. The design of homes has changed a lot in the past 100 years and now newer and updated homes are being made more airtight to save in energy costs. While older style homes could ‘breathe’, newer homes tend to keep everything inside, including moisture in the air. Showers and baths, washing clothes and dishes, and air humidifiers all add moisture to the air, especially in winter when cold temperatures outside dry the air. This moist, warm air eventually escapes into the attic and condenses on the cold roof decking if the attic is not properly ventilated. Properly ventilating the attic is something that has only recently incorporated in building codes. We’ve seen many times that in older homes the homeowner was unaware that this moisture in the attic was slowly causing mold and rot of the roof decking. In a few cases the entire roof and decking must be replaced just because it was missing a few vent holes.

The main thing to take away from this article is that you shouldn’t ignore your home maintenance. And pay special attention to water intrusion, from above, below, or within, as it probably contributes to some of the most expensive home repairs if it’s found too late. With a good roof with proper venting, watertight painting, good caulking on siding and windows, and good drainage away from the home, you’ll be way ahead of any of these water intrusion surprises.

Want a free no obligation sellers consultation on your home? Feel free to give The Derrick Team a call at 317-563-1110 or contact us here.

 

 

 

Aug 192015
 
Building a deck

That’s me, working on our home.

First time home buyers are always fun to work with because of the excitement they bring to the process (along with some anxiety). First timers have made that commitment to own their own home because they have been paying rent, sometimes for years and have nothing to show for it but an empty bank account. This article is for those first timers and those considering their first home purchase. It’s also a general summary of the responsibilities that come with owning your home and most importantly taking care of your investment.

First and foremost is of course the financial aspect of making payments as almost all first timers must get a mortgage to cover some part of their purchase. There is also the need for insurance and we cannot forget that the government will take some of your money in property taxes. But most of this is explained up front during the discussions on financing and the purchase itself. I want to discuss the after the sale responsibilities of maintenance.

All home owners should understand the value of proper maintenance of your home. It’s an investment and you probably expect to sell it someday and at the very least get some of your money back that you’ve paid into it. And when you do indeed decide it’s time to sell, proper maintenance or lack of it will have a big impact on how much return you get on your home investment.

Let’s start with the basics, regular maintenance such as lawn care. Don’t just mow the lawn but maintain the trees, bushes, and general landscaping to keep the yard looking neat. Go ahead and plant flowerbeds and install attractive lawn decorations but don’t overdo it and make the yard look like a flea market for landscaping. It’s also important to keep up your home appearance for the sake of your neighbors who are selling. Remember the more they get for their home when they sell also increases the value of your home. Plus it’s just a good idea to keep your neighbors happy.

Maintaining the home’s exterior is probably one of the most important as water intrusion will destroy not just the outside but the interior as well. Keep the gutters clean and make sure the downspouts carry the water away from your foundation, the further the better. Make sure your roof is in tip top shape and if you don’t know what to look for have it inspected by a roofing contractor on a regular basis. Replace loose or missing siding or any of the exterior cladding on your home as soon as you see it. Waiting to do repairs on the exterior is inviting much more damage to the homes entire structure and will cost much more in repairs in the long run.

Next on the list would be your mechanical systems which typically consists of your heating / cooling system, water system (plumbing, water heater and possibly a well & septic system), and electrical. All these often need some regular maintenance, especially the heating / cooling system so be sure and become familiar with the systems in your home and follow recommended guidelines. Again, regular maintenance can save you money by extending the lifetime of these systems and avoiding major repairs from ignored minor issues.

You should also pay attention to your interior structure such as walls, ceilings and flooring. Much of what needs attention here will be from normal wear and tear but keeping things clean regularly helps in the long run. Allowing items to get really dirty ruins the finish and you’ll find in order to make it look good enough to sell you’ll have to replace it completely, and those costs take away from your bottom line.

This is just a few basics items of what you need to take care of to maintain your home. Each home has different priorities to the maintenance schedule such as type of building materials, type of heating system, etc. But regular maintenance can make your return on investment when it’s time to sell well worth it. We’ve seen a lot of owners take a lot less for their home because of the poor condition it was in due to the lack of maintenance. Keeping your home in great condition makes financial sense but it’s also nice to live in a well maintained home so do it for yourself and your family’s health and well-being as well. And again, a neighborhood of well-maintained homes brings everyone’s homes value up when it’s time to sell and makes for happy neighbors.

If you have questions on your homes’ condition in preparation to sell feel free to call or text The Derrick Team at 317-563-1110, even it’s a few years away. We’ll be happy to come out and take a look and let you know what you might need to address at no obligation. It’s what we love to do, help people with home ownership!

 

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