Everyone knows that owning a home requires some basic maintenance. We are all prepared for a toilet that won’t flush correctly, the occasional clogged drain, or even a bit of cracked plaster. But what about those big repairs. The ones that can break our backs and our budgets? Some of these can be major disasters. Let’s take a look at some of the big ones.
Starting at the top, the roof is our home’s first defense against the elements. A damaged roof may require as little as replacing a few shingles, to as much as a complete replacement, which can cost $12,000 or more. Look for leaks and tend to them early on. A shoddy roof can affect your home’s appraisal and resale value.
Mold can also be a major problem, causing damage to your wallet and your health. Some mold problems can be dealt with on a do-it-yourself basis, but if the problem encompasses an area of 10 square feet or more, it’s wise to bring in a professional. Inspect your home regularly, and be on the lookout for unidentifiable musty smells.
Plumbing issues are very expensive to fix, primarily because of the labor cost involved. Pipes are hidden behind walls and ceilings and under floors, making them difficult to access. This type of problem is especially prevalent in older homes, particularly those containing copper or cast iron pipes. In addition, older trees in the landscaping may have roots encroaching on underground pipes, causing crushing damage. Freezing weather can cause uninsulated pipes to burst. These problems cannot usually be handled by a homeowner but will require professional help, which can be quite expensive.
Electrical problems, much like plumbing issues, can be very problematic, and expensive. Older homes may require a complete rewire, and because of the danger electricity can present, these repairs generally require a professional. Keep an eye out for flickering lights and frequent circuit breaker issues. And, if that appliance gives you a sudden jolt, it’s time to make a call.
If your home has a septic system, this can be a major source of expensive repairs. No one wants to think about this, let alone take on such a repair, which may require the complete replacement of a rather disreputable underground vault. To prevent damage, have your system inspected every three years, and have it pumped out every three to five years. Watch for signs of problems, such as a toilet that refuses to flush or slow drains. And that really bright green grass on your lawn may be a sign that it is being fertilized by waste from below. Not a good thing.
At the very bottom of the house, repairs to the foundations can be very costly. Look for signs of such damage, like cracks more than ¼”, sloping floors, windows and doors that will not close easily, and water gathering around the house or in the basement.
Anyone of these major repairs may be the straw that broke the camel’s back. You may reach the point where you simply cannot afford to make the necessary repairs. So, what can you do? Consider selling your home. You must be aware, however, that such major damage or necessary repairs will adversely affect the sales price, and many buyers may insist on the repairs being done before the sale is completed. The better alternative would be to sell to a home buying company. You will be offered a fair market price for your home, as it is, and not be required to make any repairs. There will be no stream of strangers coming through to sniff at the musty odors or scamper across the slanted floors. You will not be liable for any commissions or agent’s fees, and the money will be in your hands within weeks or even days. Just in time for a brand new house with water that runs where it should, and not from the roof!