Home maintenance – How to fix hidden problems

26 Dec, 2019

Home maintenance – How to fix hidden problems

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The home maintenance you undertake as a homeowner while you live in a house can influence not only its resale value but also how relaxed you are when you go away. There are some key areas where hidden problems can occur over the years, but regular home maintenance can help you manage your property to a beneficial long term effect. Ensuring your housesitters keep an eye on these hidden challenges while you are away, can help you manage the state of your property especially if you go away on a regular basis or for long periods.

Checking Home Maintenance – When Buying a House

When buying a house, we often look at the property for all the things it has to offer for the price. We can swing from really needing or wanting to buy a particular house, to a position of compromise because we can’t find what we really want. Some places just steal your heart because of how they look. Despite how a house charms you because of its style or setting, or the low the price it’s posted at, we can often find that there may be some underlying issues beneath the charm and the low price ticket.

There are a host of things that contractually, a seller is bound to tell you by law. But there are some other property issues that may be lurking that either the seller is not aware of, or they would rather pass on to the next person without declaring them. And this isn’t a risk limited to people buying a character home. These issues can pop up years down the line in new homes without one even realizing it was a risk in the first place.

Home Maintenance – Top Tips

Here are some tips of what to look for when checking the property for good home maintenance.

Home maintenance
All homes need maintenance, especially if you travel for long periods

So if you’re buying a new house or simply trying to improve the one you have, here are some simple fixes for the hidden issues each home may present.

Plumbing and Drainage

Plumbing and drainage are key factors to keeping your house well running, comfortable and peaceful. These are essential elements in home maintenance. There’s nothing more annoying than having to deal with a major plumbing issue unexpectedly, especially if everybody in the house is out working or at school during the day.

Making alternative bathroom arrangements when a busy household is active in the property is a nightmare, and fixing it yourself can take weeks. The best thing to do is have a plumber assess the condition of your pipes before you buy the property. It’s a good investment in the future and will help to avoid any surprise issues you may face. When you have a professional look at it, they can audit and list any potential problems or foreseeable ones, and you can then decide whether or not or indeed when you actually fix these issues.

Asbestos

Old homes can be full of character and are often very beautiful, reminiscent of another period. There’s a charm in the architecture and in the setup of an old traditional house. Some traditional properties are either made for work or made for leisure. Often there’s little in-between regarding their  utilization of space. Style is a popular purchase factor for many in the housing market today, and can often obliterate decisions made on the basis of good home maintenance for the property.

The biggest issue with an older property, and one that as the buyer you must really try and figure out on your own, is if there’s mould and asbestos in the walls. Asbestos can kill you and so you need to be careful. If you have any elderly people or young children that are going to be living in the home, then it’s an absolute must to check.

Unfortunately, there’s no real way one can get rid of asbestos on your own unless you are in the professional sanitation industry. But one can get a test online to see if there is asbestos or nasty things growing in the walls. These tests are fairly easy to use. Most involve an agar plate that you leave in a corner of the room to absorb any odours for a few hours. Seal it up, and send it off. The cost for the test often covers the cost of the lab testing.

Foundation Issues

Property checks
The marble test is easy and a good way to check floors

When you build a home, usually you’re building it on the ground. The thing about the ground is that it shifts and moves. It’s not always noticeable, but it will happen gradually over time. On top of that, the natural setting of your home on the dirt and the soil type can accelerate that deviation. All of this may affect the foundations of your home. The foundations are simply the planks and beams on which the whole property sits. It’s a pretty big deal to have good solid foundations, but nothing to be alarmed over if you make regular checks as part of your ongoing home maintenance. You just have to keep an eye out for some key signs.

Checks for Home Maintenance

  • Check for gaps around window frames and doors.
  • Be wary of doors that are somehow stuck or don’t really close into the frame.
  • Check around the property – be wary if you notice a very clear slope on a new side of the house.
  • Marble check – Let some marbles roll from the edge of each wall in a room and double check they all pool in a certain area.

Getting this fixed is important, and these regular home maintenance checks are essential. It’s a medium sized job, but nothing compared to what it could be if you ignore it and the whole thing turns into a much bigger issue.

Termites

Then there are some issues that aren’t even detectable on the surface, they are simply not that obvious to the untrained eye. Unlike plumbing and your foundations, termites can cause major damage over time without you even being aware of their progress. You’ll be walking around your house and notice those little spots of tiny wood pellets, wondering what’s going on. That’s a clear sign of termites. If you see that, seek immediate help.

Other regular home maintenance checks for termites include: Peeling paint, tiny holes in the drywall, and oddly sagging floors. These  are all a sign of termite damage. If you’re buying a house and you notice any of these signs, you can negotiate for the seller to pay for the exterminator. Other than that, you’re probably going to have to make the call yourself. Termites can do all sorts of weird things to your walls. This is even worse when you decide to repaint and do cosmetic work before having it assessed for bugs. So be sure to do a thorough check for these little insects.

Leaky Roof

One obvious problem can stay hidden for a lot longer than most is a leaky roof. If you live in a dry region with little rain, whatever property checks you do you may miss the issue. It’s when the weather turns wet and pools of moisture start forming on the ceiling or the floor that you’ll notice. This becomes a bigger problem over time, especially as weather patterns can shift.

Insurance companies generally look for signs of leaking roofs during their housing inspections, but sometimes these clues can be missed. If you have a leaky roof, do consider re-tiling the whole thing or at least identifying the sections where tiles may be loose or missing. Always keep a look out for signs of potential weakness in the roof.

Home maintenance
Your roof is vital structure to be maintained

The Value in a Property Check

Hidden problems are, by nature, barely visible, often they are small at first. They all start as something that you can hardly notice. They tend to grow until they become an issue that costs far more than your budget for home repairs.

The key is prevention through regular home maintenance checks and swift action when you do detect anything. Do regular property checks or inspections yourself, or ask your housesitter if you are away for long periods. Then call an expert if you suspect any issues. It’s the most cost effective fix for any home.

 


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LamiaW

LamiaW

Founder and Director of HouseSitMatch - I'm a hands-on Admin on the site. Please ask any questions and as soon as I can I'll happily answer and assist where I can.

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