Yearly home maintenance

I know, home maintenance, not your favorite topic. But, without it, it becomes house maintenance or worse, the banks issue. Actually, home maintenance shouldn’t be a chore, rather a way to mindlessly block out the normal day to day. Don’t look at it as a challenge but a goal. Most homes here in sunny southwest Florida are a one story ranch style with not more than 10′ to the gutter. Others may need more ladder and nerve , otherwise, maintenance covered here is the same.

If you had the mindset to have a home inspection and your report is still available, use it. The inspection has every aspect covered and, if you go section to section you can spot trouble areas before they get worse or perform the basic maintenance needed at that time. A visual inspection can save you time and money in the long run. Neglect costs money, isn’t your time valuable?

A typical 30 minute walk around the house inspection can make you aware of potential failures just by sight. Many are cosmetic, some only by sound and still others that just fail. You can usually spot the warning signs of failure before deficiencies make the checklist.

  • Look at your roof and roof components such as vent pipes and ridge vents
  • Check your trim boards and soffits, look for loose damaged sections
  • Exterior walls, chalky paint, damaged siding, cracked stucco, dirty surfaces
  • Windows, doors and trim. Any damaged glass, rusty doors, missing caulking?
  • Gutters and downspouts, clean and seal. Extend diverters where needed
  • Landscaping, cut and remove if close to structure. Trees 20′ and bushes 2′ away from structure which will help keep moisture away from home.
  • Grading. If water is pooling against structure, regarding and more drainage is needed
  • Driveways/walkways/patio surfaces. Clean all surfaces, seal cracks or reset pavers
  • Screen cages or enclosures. Check anchor bolts and screening, replace as needed
  • Plumbing, HVAC, Electrical components, if visual looks like it needs attention, consult a licensed professional for advise on repair or replacements.
  • Pools, seawalls, docks and decks all require annual maintenance. Check each component and repair/replace as needed
  • Pests such as ants, termites, rodents and bees can all be spotted and deterred if caught in the early stages.

Keeping the exterior will help ensure the interior will stay dry and comfortable for many years. As always, many components of your home will require proper permits and/or a Licensed contractor to perform some of your annual maintenance. Pay a little today or pay a lot later, your choice.

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Questions to ask your Home Inspector

How does it work?

Most Inspectors will show you where the main components are and how to operate them. Typical items such as the main water shut off valve and the main electrical shut off and breaker panel. HVAC systems require maintenance as well as the plumbing and roof systems. Your inspector can point out these items and explain typical maintenance requirements.

Is it really as old or bad as it looks?

Inspections are based on facts. If it looks old, it probably is. Many mechanical components in homes have data plates or tags that may or may not be readable or legible. Now it becomes the “opinion” of the inspector as to its age. What may look like a major costly repair to you could be just a cosmetic issue in the inspectors mind. Many items have life expectancies and your inspector may call it out just based on age, sometimes, that straightforwardness makes it hard for you, the home’s buyer, to understand what a big deal is and what so much isn’t. All this information is what you need to know whether to move forward with the deal, whether to renegotiate and what to plan ahead for.

Can you show me?

During the inspection your inspector will be busy collecting data, crawling through spaces and doing laps around the perimeter. You take this time to visualize where your new sofa will go and wonder will it be too big for this room. Soon you realize somewhere the inspector is inputting data and you had a question. If the inspector is finished he/she should take 10 or 15 minutes and walk you through the place, pointing out all the items they’ve noted need repair, maintenance or further inspection.  When you get the report, then, you’ll know what and where the various items belong. Also, choose an inspector who takes digital pictures and inserts them into each section of their reports!

If you were to buy this, what would you do first and how soon?

Our job as inspectors is to point out all items in need of upgrade or repair to include maintenance and routine time lines for future inspections and possible failures.

But, no home is perfect.  What should you do if something is at the end of its useful life? My opinion may be “Do nothing until it breaks”. That could be today or 6 months from now. Point is, we can’t predict a failure, but we can prepare. We can give you a better understanding of what does and doesn’t need to be repaired, how to repair in order of importance, and how a home warranty can be a big help during the buying process to protect your money in the long run.

Can you refer me to someone to fix it?

Most home inspectors will probably tell you that you can fix some things yourself. This may help minimize the laundry list of repairs at the end of an inspection report to know that a number of them are really DIY-type.  Even uncomfortable Buyers feel empowered to either (a) watch a few YouTube videos that show them how it’s done, or (b) hire a handyperson to do these small fixes, knowing they shouldn’t be too costly.

And even on the larger repairs, your home inspector might be able to give you a few referrals to the plumbers, electricians or roofers you’ll need to get bids from during your contingency period, which you may be able to use to negotiate with your home’s seller, and to get the work done after you own the place. And same goes for any further inspections they recommend – if neither you nor your agent knows a specialist, ask your home inspector for a few referrals.

 

When do I need a Home Inspector

When do I need a Home Inspector? Do some research. While you may have already decided on looking for a new home, why not start your search for a home inspector as well. Referrals work well, I still recommend checking credentials as well as experience. If you can not get a referral, many sites offer services you may need and, they already did your homework and checked the credentials.

If your buying a home, once you have reached an accepted offer, you can now get your inspection scheduled. Most contracts give you a 10 day inspection window where others may only have 7 days. Check with your Realtor agent.

Pest inspections or Wood Destroying Organism Inspections may be required by your lender.

If you need one of three insurance inspections as per requirement, before  a new policy or renewal, contact an inspector right away to get on the schedule. Most inspection companies can accommodate insurance inspections within 48 hours. These inspections are as listed; Wind Mitigation Verification reports, Four Point Insurance Inspections and Roof Certification reports. All must be performed by a qualified Licensed Inspector on approved forms.

Anyone wishing to put their home on the market would benefit from a pre sale inspection. A pre sale would give you the edge, knowing what the issues are before listing. Many items found during a pre sale inspection could be corrected and minimize the repairs or conditional requests from potential buyers. Most buyers who purchase a home with a pre sale inspection will waive the inspection period, resulting in a quicker sale.

11 month warranty inspections can be ordered within the 11th month. These inspections cover all aspects of the home 11 months after build to avoid an out of warranty issue.