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  • Writer's pictureDana Cohen

Maintain Your Home Value

Updated: Oct 2, 2019

Last weekend, I heard some strange noises coming from my roof. It didn’t take long to figure out that my husband Jeff was up there cleaning our solar panels. Our solar production was significantly lower than last year and a layer of dirt was hindering its performance. It reminded me of how important regular maintenance can be to maintain the value of your home. In my experience, the largest expense in preparing a property for market is catching up on deferred maintenance... a cost that can easily be reduced or eliminated with some simple activities throughout the year. As we begin to hunker down for cooler and wetter weather, I thought I’d offer a few maintenance tips that can help to prevent surprises down the road.

Keep Things Dry – Water damage is probably the single most costly and complex issue to resolve. Moisture can lead to mold, dry rot and pest infestation if not managed. Late fall is an excellent time to clean out your gutters, downspouts and sump pump to make sure rain water is directed away from your home. If easily accessible, take a peek or a deep sniff of your basement or crawlspace for signs of dampness. These may require a follow up inspection by a professional.

Construction Doesn’t Last Forever – No news is not always good news. Review the age of your roof and consider having it inspected. Roofing never seems to last as long as you hope. Consider having your home inspected every five years by a qualified pest inspector to identify dry rot and/or infestation. Walk the interior of your home and look at the ceilings for any signs of cracks, bubbling or discoloration. They could indicate something as common as house settling or be early signs of something more serious.

Appliances Are Frequent Culprits – Most of my unexpected maintenance issues have been the result of a malfunctioning appliance. Replace your furnace filters at least once a year… more often if you have pets. Hold your hand over each of the heating vents to see if you feel warm air blowing when the furnace is operating. No air may indicate a broken duct. Check your dryer vent for lint buildup. Inspect your hot water heater for leaks. Water heaters have a life of 8 – 12 years and trust me… you won’t want to wait until one breaks to have it replaced. Defrost your icemaker and make sure the shutoff lever is functioning properly. A jammed icemaker can cause a lot of water damage, especially if the power goes out and things begin to melt. Check the grease filters of your kitchen hood. Grease build-up can be a fire hazard. Clean out your dishwasher drainage filter. Ours backed up this May and caused $10,000 in damage - we learned the hard way.

Mice Are Not Cute – Nothing can cool a potential homebuyer’s excitement more than a rodent infestation. If you see a single dropping, there’s more somewhere. Rodents can enter from the roof as well as the foundation. Keep your shrubs/trees trimmed away from your roofline. If you find any evidence of rodents, immediately hire a remediation company that will inspect, correct, sanitize and monitor the problem areas. Reputable companies will also guarantee their work in the event of recurrence.

There’s a Reason Plumbers Are Always Busy – Check to make sure the seam around your shower/tub enclosure is adequately caulked. Discoloration indicates that the existing caulk should be cleaned and possibly replaced. Look under sinks to make sure that the cabinet is free from moisture. Listen for running toilets. Turn on all of your sprinklers and look for broken fittings or pipe. Unintended running water or leaks is expensive and damaging.

Garage Door Openers Work Hard and Burn Out Fast – Have your garage door opener inspected every few years. Due to the weight, it is common for cabling to fray, rollers to wear out and chains to become rusted. A broken opener is dangerous and not something you want to try to fix on your own.

According to Jeff, most of these maintenance items can be performed in an hour or two, often less. If you have any questions about how to tackle any of these on your own, feel free to contact me. I’ll probably refer you to him. He loves this stuff. If you think you may need professional help, check out my Recommended Vendors under the “More” tab at

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