Tag Archive: Home repair

Protecting Your Home Investment

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Your home is likely the largest single monetary investment you will ever make. Taking care of it will keep you and your loved ones healthy and happy, and regular maintenance will preserve the value of your investment. Here are just a few suggestions to get you started.

Cleanliness

 

Keep your home clean! Regular and frequent cleaning of a home will maintain its condition better than hiring a cleaning crew once a year—and if you wait that long, you’ll need the HAZMAT team.

There is simply no substitute for once-a-week (or more often) cleaning such as vacuuming, wiping down the bathrooms, mopping the kitchen floor, dusting, disposing of unusable food in the refrigerator and carrying out the trash. Daily maintenance of a home means wiping up messes as soon as they occur, picking up clutter, and cleaning up dishes. All family members, including children, should learn to clean up after themselves. Many homeowners have everyone remove their shoes when coming in from outdoors. Speaking from experience, I know that this practice will literally save the homeowner from having to replace the floorings every few years. A pile of shoes near the door is much easier to live with than constantly worn and soiled carpets, and scratched or broken tiles.

Less-frequent cleaning includes wiping out cupboards and drawers, polishing windows, scouring the oven, moving the fridge and cleaning behind/under it, and shampooing the carpet. While cleaning, you can spot signs of wear and tear, enabling you to fix any problems promptly, before they become bigger issues. Moreover, keeping your home clean and in good repair will make the house less susceptible to bugs, rodents, water damage, mold and mildew. Resolve problems in your home as soon as you are aware of them, whether it be a leaky pipe or a broken window.

Yard Upkeep

 

Keeping your lawn mowed, the trees trimmed and the flower beds weeded will not only beautify your home, but will also make you a good neighbor. Use a garden hose to flush out leaves that have accumulated in rain gutters, and provide proper drainage for rainwater to seep into the ground.

Sweep the porch, sidewalks and driveway, and remove the trash along the curb and gutter. For obvious reasons, put away toys, bicycles and other stuff every night. Get rid of old vehicles sitting in the driveway! Either fix them and use or sell them, or else take them to the recycling place and get some money out of them. Tidying up the yard—both front and back—will make your home more attractive and safe, and it will make the neighborhood look better, as well. If you ever want to sell your home, a buyer’s first impression—curb appeal—will be a powerful drawing card and may get you top dollar for your home.

Maintenance

 

Maintenance will cost something; however, doing no maintenance will be much more expensive. Performing maintenance yourself will cut costs and help you develop the skills for long-term services on your own home. Painting the interior of your home, for example, requires the purchase of paint rollers trays, tarps and other equipment; however, you will save thousands of dollars on hiring the job out. Major hardware stores can answer any questions about home maintenance projects, and they offer classes for customers who want to install tile and other such jobs. Once you have the skill, you can apply it to other areas in the home.

When you are serious about buying a home, have a reliable building inspector come and examine the house. He should check the foundation and other structural issues, the plumbing, heating/cooling and electrical systems, roof, etc. He will probably charge you around $300, but he can warn you about potential problems, or else assure you that the home is sound. His fee is a small price to pay for your awareness of the home’s condition.

Do not hesitate to hire a professional once a year to check the furnace to make sure it is working properly and doesn’t pose any dangers to the home’s occupants. An old or malfunctioning furnace can be life threatening, and it’s worth the investment to have an expert find and take care of potential problems. Make sure you invest in contents insurance to make sure your valuables are protected from any unforeseen disaster.

The best thing about having a clean and well-maintained home, inside and outside, is that it also makes you feel good about yourself; you’re proud to live there. You are comfortable in having visitors come, and people are glad to have you as a neighbor. Moreover, you will save a lot of money by learning home maintenance skills and doing the maintenance yourself.

About the Author: David Glenn is an expert in DIY home improvement techniques and interior design consulting. With his vast experience in the field, he hopes his writing can help people learn and save money through DIY projects.

 

Home Termite Inspections: What To Expect

Termites

Termites (Photo credit: Gnilenkov Aleksey)

There will be a multitude of things on your mind when purchasing a new home, and although a termite inspection may not be at the top of your list, you certainly don’t want to brush it off and find out later that you are being invaded by the wood-eating tiny creatures. Becoming a responsible homeowner from the beginning will only help prevent what could cost you dearly in the end. While most insects that find their way into your home are just considered a nuisance, termites can cause serious damage and leave your home in shambles. Termites can go undetected for years, not only eating away at the wood-framed structure you’re living in, but also feeding on books, papers, furniture, carpet, cloth and insulation. This is why professional termite inspections are recommended at least once a year to prevent infestations or detect an already existing problem. Areas determined to be high risk should be inspected more frequently.

What To Expect During A Termite Inspection

 

Termite Visual Inspection Zone

Termite Visual Inspection Zone (Photo credit: Kaptain Kobold)

An inspector should begin by going over any areas of concern the homeowner may have to get a better understanding of any signs of termites already recognized. From that point, the inspector will continue their interior and exterior search for three things: current activity, past activity and potential access. Current activity would show evidence of the actual insects, either in the damage they are causing or in the mud tubes they create to travel from soil to structure.

Inspectors are also trained to look for exit holes and droppings, which are strong indicators your home has been violated by the pests. Past activity is determining old wood damage by termites in particular without an indication that they are still present. Potential access allows the proprietor to know of any places in their home that could prove easy entry to termites and cause future infestations, such as cracks in the foundation, wood-to-ground contact, exposed and untreated wood and moisture sources.

A complete list of the inspected areas will be provided, and if it is determined treatment is needed, discussing options and pricing will conclude the inspection, which typically takes 45 minutes to an hour.

What About Do-It-Yourself Inspections?

 

Termite mud tube found in pest inspection

Termite mud tube found in pest inspection (Photo credit: danielmoyle)

Doing a termite inspection yourself is not recommended in most cases. For an accurate report of damage or potential damage to your home enlisting the service of a properly trained and licensed professional is the way to go, and in most states any real estate transaction involving a wood-destroying insect inspection requires the appropriate training on biology, construction and control of termites. Experienced inspectors use tools when searching homes that a typical homeowner doesn’t have access to, like probing tools, moisture meters, infrared camera technology that can reveal termite tubes and moisture infiltration in hidden areas.

Making termite inspections part of your home maintenance routine will prevent or minimize damage and save you the headache of a much bigger problem down the road. Your home is arguably the biggest investment you’ll ever make, and putting that in jeopardy to save a couple extra bucks just isn’t worth it.

Tiffany Olson works a small firm in California where her primary duty is to educate the public by blogging on many topics including termite inspection in Union City. On her off time you’ll most likely find her enjoying outdoor activities or hanging out with good friends.

 

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