Real estate tips from Brooks Beaupain
Brooks Beaupain, ASP, GRI | Windermere Real Estate/East, Inc.
brooks@windermere.com |  206-778-4663
In This Issue
10 Maintenance Tips Home Inspectors Love
Links that Make Life Easier
The Lighter Side
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Brooks Beaupain
Spring is a great time to catch up on some basic home maintenance that can save you big money down the road.  Whether you need your home to be inspection-ready for a future sale or just want to keep it in tip-top condition, this list of tips will help you stay ahead of the game.

(They are easy to follow, but also easy to put off, so the best approach is to start now!)

 

By the way, if you or anyone you know has a real estate need, please contact me today. I'll always provide first-class service!

 
10 Maintenance Tips Home Inspectors Love 

 

The list below includes some of the most common recommendations that home inspectors give sellers after an inspection.  Even if you don't plan to sell your home anytime soon, this is a great tip sheet to use to keep your home free of problems that could escalate into big fixes later on. 

 

 

Don't overlook the crawl space.

 

Out of sight and easy to forget about, crawl spaces are a common source of home inspection issues.

 

Look for:
  • Areas of water intrusion and/or standing water.
  • Soil that is not covered by a vapor barrier.
  • Fallen insulation or disconnected ducts.
  • Plumbing leaks.
  • Any sign of rodent or insect contamination. (Rodents will often dislodge and stain insulation.)
  • Rotting posts or beams.
  • Any debris that could attract insects, such as pieces of leftover lumber.
Debris in a crawl space.
Debris in a crawl space.

 

Clean the dryer vent.

 

More than 15,000 fires start in dryer vents every year, according to FEMA.  While most people are faithful about cleaning the lint trap, a surprising amount of lint makes it past the trap to clog hoses and ducts, especially in second-floor laundry rooms and in areas where ducts make sharp angles.

 

Clean out the lint trap with a thin vacuum cleaner nozzle, and use a duct cleaning kit (less than $20 on Amazon.com) or hire a professional service to clean out hoses and ducts.


Inspect water supply and drain lines.

Check all water supply lines at sinks, toilets, washers, and dishwashers for cracks, bulging, loose fittings, and leaks at least twice a year.  Experts recommend that you install new washer hoses every five years, and replace rubber hoses anywhere in the home with stainless steel mesh hoses right away.  

(This is a ten-minute project that can easily save you thousands in water damage repair costs.)

 

Check the attic space.

 

The attic is an important part of whole-house ventilation.  A quick evaluation once a year can prevent a whole host of problems.

 

Look for:
  • Any ducts that introduce moisture into the attic by not venting all the way to the exterior.
  • Signs of roof leaks.
  • Mold on wood sheathing.
  • A lack of air circulation.  (Inspectors usually like to feel a slight breeze in the attic space.)
  • Presence of birds, rodents, or insects.
  • Insulation placed inappropriately over exhaust fans or canister lights.
Mold on attic sheathing.
Mold on attic sheathing.

Replace smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.

Do you know how old your smoke detectors are?  They typically last eight to ten years, but it varies.  To be on the safe side, consider getting new ones every five years, and replacing batteries twice a year.

Carbon monoxide detectors often have shorter life spans, sometimes only two years.  According to About.com, the test button may show the status of the alarm feature, not of the actual detector, so read the manual carefully for any model that you buy.

Tip:  Install a carbon monoxide detector if you have any gas appliance, even if it's only a gas fireplace.  It may not be required by law, but it's an excellent idea.


Monitor the water heater for signs of failure.

Corrosion around the bottom or top rim of your water heater is a sure sign that you'll be replacing it in the near future.  Water heaters typically last eight to twelve years, but have been known to fail much sooner.

Note:  For safety reasons, many gas water heaters need to be set at least 18 inches above the ground when they are located in a garage or any other area where they could be exposed to flammable vapors or liquids.  Always check with an expert to be sure that your water heater is installed correctly.


Clean the gutters.

Gutters and downspouts should be free of debris, and should direct water away from the home.  Use splash blocks when necessary to ensure that downspouts do not deposit water too near the foundation.

Downspout depositing water too near the foundation.
Downspout depositing water too near the foundation.


Have heating and air conditioning systems serviced.

Home inspectors are often amazed at the number of people who go many years without having their heating system serviced.  Not only is this hard on furnaces in terms of clogged filters and lower efficiency, but it can also be dangerous: a cracked heat exchanger can silently emit carbon monoxide into your home's interior without anyone being aware of it.


Maintain a firewall between the garage and interior.

A fire that starts in the garage can quickly spread to the interior of the home if the firewall has been compromised, so make sure there are no holes in the garage walls or ceiling.  The door to the interior should be a solid-core, self-closing door rated for at least 20 minutes of fire resistance.


Clean the dishwasher filter.

OK, this is a bit of a cheat: the dishwasher filter does not typically come up as an inspection report item.  But did you know that a dirty filter could be depositing old food and grime particles on your dishes?

Newer dishwashers may have self-cleaning filters; to find out what type you have, visit the Manuals Online website.  If you need to clean the filter, follow these step-by-step directions carefully.
 

Create separation between soil and siding.

A very common recommendation from home inspectors is to maintain at least six inches of clearance between the soil and any siding in order to discourage moisture buildup and insect intrusion.  Foliage should not touch siding or roofing material, and any firewood needs to be stacked several feet from the structure, not against it.

Vegetation too close to siding.
Vegetation that needs to be cleared away from siding.

Any home inspector will tell you that there are plenty of other things that can go wrong during an inspection; however, if you take a little time to tackle the items on this list you'll go a long way towards keeping your home in the kind of condition that maintains its value and safety in the long run, and you'll have set the stage for a smooth sale.

    

 

Would you like other recommendations to help you keep your home sound and secure?  If so, please give me a call!  I'll be happy to provide you with any information or assistance you may need.
 
 
(What the lawyers make us say: The information in this newsletter is deemed reliable but not guaranteed. Please always consult a qualified expert before making decisions based on this content. Nothing in this article is meant to be taken as expert legal, financial, or medical advice.) 
 
  

  
Links that Make Life Easier 

Sometimes real estate-related, sometimes not... these are assorted links that come in handy:

Accept credit card payments on your iPhone, Android, or iPad with Square's easy-to-use service. Linking your bank account takes around five minutes, and the credit card reader arrives free within a week.
  
From your furnace to the asphalt driveway, learn how long you can expect the various components of your home to last.
 
Bankrate.com explains where you should avoid using your debit card, and how to spot potential skimming situations.

About.com offers a helpful list of plants to prune in the early spring, late spring, and summer.

This is a free app for your iPhone, Android, or Windows phone that lets you scan bar codes and instantly see prices for the same item at nearby stores and online retailers.


The Lighter Side


Dog relaxing in bath.  

After a long day of chasing the cat nothing's better than a nice warm bath.  Casper the dog was demonstrating this in perfect form when his owner caught him on video.  (Note the mastery of the "snout as snorkel" technique. :)  

 

You can click the image to watch the video on the Telegraph website, or click here to go there.

 

 


 
Brooks Beaupain signature 

Brooks Beaupain, REALTOR«, ASP, GRI
Windermere Real Estate/East, Inc.
Brooks@windermere.com | 206-778-4663

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