Home Maintenance Tips That Can Save You Money

Spring and summer months are the chosen moths for most people to sell and buy homes.  The curb appeal during these months is enhanced by the vegetation around your home, but the problems are clearly noticeable as well.  Basement and foundation problems are clearly visible if water is sitting on the basement floor of your home during the spring months, and the humidity during the summer months is felt when checking the basement of your home.

If you are selling, buying or just enjoy the feeling of shopping for a new home, here are some tips that you need to check when shopping or selling  a home. Just follow the links below to find out more about this topic.


15 Preventative Home Maintenance Tips That Save You Money

Plus: What regular home repairs can mean for your homeowners insurance.

No doubt there are plenty of benefits of owning your own home: freedom from rent and landlord rules, contributing to an investment, building a home on property that you own, and so on. But let’s face it – being a homeowner also means dealing with costly repairs yourself from time to time.

Every time something breaks or stops working, it feels like it came out of nowhere, and when you head to the hardware store or call a specialist to get a repair quote, your wallet winces at the expense.

But, hark! A spot of good news! Many of the expensive fixes homes often require can actually be prevented if you simply remember to do the proper maintenance. A fix here and a test there can save you some real cash over time.

Make these 15 preventative maintenance tips part of your spring cleaning ritual this year, and set calendar alerts so you remember to stay on top of them in the months and years to come.


Not uncovering problems with home before you buy can cause big headaches later

We purchased a home in Maryland about three years ago. Following the purchase, we discovered that a sunroom addition on the upper and lower levels of the home was built on top of an existing outdoor deck.

The addition does not have a proper foundation or insulation. We found no evidence that the addition was permitted. We consulted with an architect, who advised us that the addition on both levels will need to be removed and completely rebuilt. In the meantime, both rooms are freezing cold in winter and boiling hot in summer due to lack of insulation.

Our home inspection report did not flag the construction of these rooms as a problem, nor did the seller disclose any foundation, structural or latent defects in the residential property disclosure statement. Do we have any recourse with the inspector or the seller?


Home Inspections: Items That Aren’t Deal-Breakers

After making an offer on a home, you’ll enter into a contract. Part of that contract should always include getting a home inspection. It is recommended that any homebuyer make an offer to purchase contingent upon a home inspection. This allows you to withdraw your offer if there are any major issues discovered during an inspection.

More than likely, the home inspector will find problems that need to be fixed before closing. Major foundation issues and significant water damage are at the top of the list of signs to walk away from.

On the other hand, there are some home defects found during an inspection that don’t have to be deal-breakers. Many of them can be fixed, and they can be used to negotiate with the seller for a lower price point or additional help with the closing costs.

Lead-Based Paint
Lead-based paint was banned in 1978, but it’s still possible that you could purchase a home that contains it if it was built before the ban. The sellers should disclose this, but the home inspector may find it, as well.


 

Protecting Your Basement From Spring Rains

Spring weather is here and along with it comes the rain.  It is inevitable that as homeowners we want to ensure the basement of our home is dry and free of humidity, mold or mildew, and that is a safe place to spend time with our kids.  Knowing if you have a problem with your basement, is the first step in solving a problem that may go undetected for years.  The humidity in your basement may be an early indicator to problems with water leaking into the basement of your home.  Taking care of humidity issues right away, ensure your foundation won’t sustain damages that are more troublesome and can jeopardize the structure of your home.

For more about this and other topics, follow the links below.


Many people associate a wet basement with seeing water, but that’s not the only symptom of a potential problem, according to Wes Pfleiger, marketing manager at Mid-Atlantic Waterproofing.

In addition to water seepage, loose or crumbling mortar between stones and plaster, mold and mildew, musty odors and cracks or dark spots in basement walls and floors can all be signs of a basement with a water problem.

Mid-Atlantic Waterproofing is primed to educate consumers as a vendor at the Northeastern PA Home and Better Living Show April 8 and 9 at the Lodge at Montage, 1000 Montage Mountain Road in Scranton.

The event is presented by the Home Builders Association of Northeastern Pennsylvania and sponsored by Scranton Dodge Chrysler Jeep Ram, Window World and Bath Fitter/Kitchen Saver.

Pfleiger said trained professionals from the 52-year-old company will be on hand at the event to answer “any and all questions” about basement waterproofing. Mid-Atlantic Waterproofing will also offer free, no-obligation basement inspections for home show visitors.


Basement flooding season begins

(WTNH) — I have been lucky to never see basement flooding in my house, but whether you’ve lived in your house for 20, 30, or even 40 years, it does not mean it can’t happen to you. So how do you prevent it from happening in the future, and if it does, what can you do to make sure it doesn’t happen again? Well let’s find out.

Weeks of above average rainfall and lots of snow melt have helped us hugely to lower our drought numbers, but with a saturated ground and more rain on the way, your basement may flood over the coming weeks, so what can you do?

“It’s real imperative for residents throughout the state to be looking for signs of water seepage. Is it damp around cracks, and the floor wall seam. Is it damp to the touch? These are all indications that the soil around the outside of the house is over saturated and it could be poised to flood any time,” said Mike Lane, Sales, Connecticut Basement Systems.

There are some things you can do to help prevent this. Buy gutter extenders to keep water from dripping close to your foundation, and try to make sure that if you live on a hill, rain water gets routed away from your home. If all else fails, call a professional.


Humidity In The Basement? Read This

Where is the humidity in your basement coming from:  There are a few reason as to the why, but the three main reasons are:

1. Ground water or rain water seeping into the basement

2. External air that enters the basement and condenses on cool surfaces

3. Leaks from pipes in your basement, bathrooms or leaky faucets that are constantly on.

How do you know you have too much humidity in your basement?

Having a humidifier in the basement of your home is a great solution to your humidity problems, but if you are collecting a gallon of water in the container of the humidifier every single day, then you may have other issues that are far more serious.  Sitting water around the foundation of you home and seeping to the basement of your home may be a reason why you have so much humidity in your basement.  Making sure water does not sit around the foundation of your home, could be the only solution you need. 

Providing a clear and an unobstructed path for the rain water to find a way far enough from the foundation of your home, is a solution that does not cost a lot of money and can solve a problem for your in the future.

What to do in case you need a waterproofing Company?

A Google search for a basement waterproofing company will give you about 896,000 results in about .82 seconds.  How do you  choose one?  I researched landscaping companies by doing a Google search once.  Their rating ( 5 stars, 4stars, etc…) were very good. When I tried to find them at the BBB online, some of them didn’t even exist even though they were rated as a 4 start company using other home improvement sites. They were either long gone, or their rating at the BBB was very bad.Be careful when choosing.  Not all home improvement sites have the same level of ratings for the companies that advertise there. Waterproofing companies, or landscaping companies that are listed on those sites should be checked thoroughly using the BBB, or asking those companies for testimonials that are not from family members or friends. And you should truly check those testimonials before committing to anything with a company. Don’t sign anything and do not advance huge quantities of money before the work begins.

Do you need to check a company using the BBB?

Then, here is a link for you to do so, but remember that is only the first step.  You need to talk to the people that will be doing the work at your home, and if you don’t feel “right” about them, choose another one with a good rating and begin the process again.

BBB – The Better Business Bureau Locator

BBB of Akron, Ohio  – It serves the counties of  Ashland, Medina, Portage, Richland, Summit & Wayne Counties.


Should You Remodel Your Basement?

pioneer (13)There’s a lot of information out there about how to turn your basement into a fabulous living space.  Man cave?  Craft room?  Kid’s play room?  Home theater?  All good ideas.  But, before you spend your time, money and energy, stop and ask yourself a question.  What’s really right for your situation and your basement?

Here are some financial, physical and emotional questions for you to think about.

Return on investment (ROI) – When you’re figuring the ROI take the size, age and neighborhood of the home into consideration.  What are comparable houses selling for?  What up-grades do they have?  Is the basement the place to put your money or will you get better value from redoing the kitchen or a bathroom? 

The answer to that is usually in favor of the kitchen or bath — renovation costs for a basement can quickly exceed the ROI, especially if you’re going to do it “right”.  Often, a not remodeled space that’s clean, bright, organized and dry can increase the value of a house, while a poor or cheap remodel will detract from it. 

Structure of basement – There are a lot of older homes in Northeastern Ohio and many of them simply aren’t good candidates for finished basements.  They’re usually cold and damp, which only a lot of money can fix.  Also, the mechanicals (i.e., plumbing, electrical, support posts, HV/AC, sump pump) can be difficult to work around or hide — creating choppy, small rooms.

Don’t be lured to the design dark side by reality shows that aren’t real at all.  HGTV has a lot of resources the typical home owner will never have access to.  No amount of creative designing is going to make the sloping drain in the middle of the floor, which smells like sewer in the hottest part of summer, disappear.  Some spaces are simply too difficult to fix up.

Expectations – Take some time and think about what you want this space to “do”.  Think honestly about your emotional expectations for it.  People often think that internal problems can be addressed through external means, and they are disappointed when that doesn’t happen.

Want a quiet space?  (What are you going to do when the kids invade your craft room, like they have every other room in the house?)  Think it’ll prompt family time?  (Is a bigger flat screen the answer to not spending enough time together?)  Do you think you’ll finally get organized?  (Unless you’re committed to behavioral changes too more space usually means more clutter.)

Remodeling your basement can be a big project, so be sure it’s really going to meet your financial, physical and/or emotional goals.  The poorly lit, badly tiled, damp walled, low ceiled, cheaply paneled, smelly, circuit blowing, weird color remnant carpeted, deserted finished basements of our area are legend, don’t add to them.


Nicole Abbott is a professional writer who’s had over 200 articles published.  She’s a business consultant and former psycho-therapist with over 20 years of experience in mental health, business and addiction.  She’s a coach, lecturer, trainer and facilitator.  She has conducted over 200 workshops, trainings, presentations, seminars and college classes.