Adding Value to Your Home: Part 1

This morning as I was pulling out of my garage, I noticed something. Something that I would never have noticed before I sold real estate. The flashings on the roof over my garage appear to be lifting/peeling away from the roof. I made a mental note to call a roofer and have it checked.

Flashing is material that’s used over joints in roof and wall construction to prevent water intrusion.

Welcome to home ownership. Noticing. Looking. Paying attention. Unexpected expenditures. Your home is your biggest investment, so you should care for at least as well as you do your car.

Spending time and money on my house is not my favorite thing to do unless it involves a trip to Restoration Hardware and a soft new throw to curl up with on the couch (or a new couch). The roof flashings are anything but flashy but I know that in the long run it is money better spent. Damn it.

Clients and friends ask me about the best way to add value to their home. And there are a lot of ways to do so, many of which are super creative, and really fun and I promise I will deliver some good ones in part 2 of this topic. But because many of my clients are first time home owners, I feel compelled to write about the VERY best way first. The best (but least fun) way to add value to your home is to maintain it well.

DON’T DEFER MAINTENANCE.

See, I told you. B-O-R-I-N-G.

boring

But here’s the thing, when you sell your home the buyer will hire a team of people to thoroughly examine it and they will uncover everything you’ve skipped or skimped on over the years and you’ll end up paying much more in the long run.

Here are my top 5 Maintenance Tips that will help you preserve your home and save you money when you sell:

1. Have the sewer line scoped every 2-3 years. That beautiful tree in your yard that you love to drink your coffee under every morning has roots that could be destroying your sewer line.  You don’t have to rip the tree out, but if you clear your line every couple years the roots won’t ruin your sewer. It’s about $500 to remove the roots and about $5,000-$10,000 to replace sewer line.

Tree roots infiltrating a clay sewer pipe.

Tree roots infiltrating a clay sewer pipe.

2.  Learn how your Heating and Ventilating and Air Conditioning (HVAC) system works. It’s the system most people know the least about and it also needs regular maintenance every few years.  Maintaining the system is much less expensive than replacing it. It’s not uncommon for systems to last for 20+ years if taken care of properly.  At the very least change your filters regularly because…well, see below. You can do it yourself and it costs about $50.

HCAV Unit diagram

HCAV Unit diagram

 

Dirty filter = ewe.

Dirty filter = ewe.

3.  If you remember nothing else I ever say remember this: Water is the ENEMY of the homeowner. Moisture leads to mold and mold is expensive to get rid of–like rip the walls out and replace them expensive. So always be on the lookout for water intrusion- check the basement or crawl space and make sure there’s no moisture, hire a handyman to check the flashings on your roof (see above) to make sure they are sealed. One of the easiest and least expensive ways to avoid water intrusion is to install gutter extensions, which pushes rain water away from the house rather than letting it descend right into the foundation.

Spout Extensions: An inexpensive way to prevent water intrusion in your foundation.

Spout Extensions: An inexpensive way to prevent water intrusion in your foundation.

4. Spray for termites. In California, we have termites, it’s just the way it is. There are subterranean and swarming termites and they can wreak havoc on your home. Spraying for termites annually helps avoids most big ticket damage and may help you avoid paying to have your home fumigated (tented) when you sell.

Their job is to destroy your house. Don't let them!

Their job is to destroy your house. Don’t let them!

5. Have the foundation checked every so often. Foundations shift over time and small cracks can be fixed easily and cheaply if they are not allowed to progress over long periods of time.  Foundation repairs are one of the biggest ticket items that buyers ask (and generally get) a credit for.

Epoxy can be injected in small cracks in your foundation.

Epoxy can be injected in small cracks in your foundation.

Ok, I feel better now that that is out of the way. Now we can move on to the fun stuff. Check back for my next post- Remastering Your Home. I promise it will more fun and involve some really aspirational rooms and creative ideas!

As always, please reach out to me if you have any real estate needs or forward this blog to a friend.

xoxo

sarasign