The harsh reality of the current real estate market is prompting many homeowners to stay put and repair instead of relocate.
Even if a big-ticket remodeling project isn’t in the cards right now, you can still save money by staying on top of regular maintenance items and eliminate the need for costly home repairs down the road.
Here’s our top five list of what you can’t afford to put off this year.
1. Repair leaky roofs. A leak in your roof doesn’t necessarily mean you need to replace the whole thing, but a letting a small leak go can cost you big in the long-run. Call in a reliable roofer for a repair estimate and be clear from the beginning that it’s a repair problem, not a replacement.
2. Repair leaky faucets and running toilets. Doing so could save hundreds of dollars per year on your water bill. And don’t neglect your sump pump. Check the batteries and update the appliance every few years. A flooded basement will cause thousands of dollars in damages, not to mention the loss of personal possessions.
3. Check the caulking around your tub and shower for moisture penetration, which can lead to mold. Bath fixtures can avoid premature replacement if the tile surface is kept watertight, and the subsurface, usually drywall, remains dry.
4. Inspect electrical cords and outlets for signs of distortion, discoloration or cracks in the insulation, and hire an electrician to replace tired outlets that no longer hold a plug. A defective receptacle, light switch or fixture replaced during a scheduled visit will save you hundreds of dollars over an emergency repair.
5. Weatherproof windows and doors. These are the two areas with the largest amount of air transfer in both cold and hot weather. Use a digital thermometer to check the seal quality and inspect the caulking for areas that have cracked or shrunken, which will allow water to damage siding and floors. Once sealed, use a programmable thermostat to help regulate air temperature, which could save you up to 10 percent on your monthly energy bill. Check Angie’s List or Long & Foster’s Home Service Connections for a highly rated home inspector that can perform an energy audit.
6. Change your air filters. HVAC experts estimate that 60 percent of all service calls are the result of dirty filters. Changing air filters regularly (every month or so), especially if you have shedding pets or kids frequently running in and out, can save you up to $100 each year in energy costs.