Homeownership occasionally comes with a few headaches. Whether you bought an older home that seems to be a money pit, or you’ve recently inherited a home and you’re not sure where to start with repairs, it’s good to know that you always have options. We’ve put together this list for you of the most expensive home repairs homeowners need to watch out for, and how to avoid them in the first place.
#1 Asbestos Removal
Asbestos is a hazardous material that can cause cancer and has been linked to several serious lung diseases. Unfortunately, it also used to be used as a flame retardant. If you have an older home, you might discover that asbestos was used in attic insulation or your kitchen flooring. If you do discover asbestos in an area of your home that needs to be renovated or fixed up, you’ll have to call a professional asbestos remover, because it is such a dangerous material. Though this is a necessary expense, it can come at a high cost.
How to Avoid Asbestos Removal: The best way to avoid problems and expenses related to asbestos is to make sure your home doesn’t have asbestos before you buy it. If you’ve had your home for some time, or if you’ve inherited a home with asbestos, you can also opt to leave the offending material where it is, and cover it up. So long as you leave the flooring or insulation alone, you can avoid releasing asbestos particles into the air.
#2 Foundation Damage
Foundation repair, on average, can cost anywhere between $10,000-$40,000. That’s quite a chunk of change on a repair that doesn’t improve the look or functionality of your home. But, foundation damage is a big deal. If left alone, foundation problems can lead to your entire home becoming unstable and unsuitable to live in. Foundation damage is particularly problematic if you’re planning to sell your home. This is one of those problems that many buyers will run from, rather than consider fixing.
How to Avoid Foundation Damage: To avoid foundation damage, make sure you’re inspecting your foundation regularly. Check out your basement and look for cracks and water damage, and pay attention to key signs like door frames out of place, slanting floors, and drywall cracks upstairs, too. The minute you see a problem, get in touch with a professional. Foundation problems only get more expensive as time goes on, so its best to stay on top of the problem and address it the minute you see an issue.
#3 HVAC Repair
Here in Michigan, most homes have central heating and cooling systems, also known as HVAC systems. While it’s awesome to flip on air conditioning or heat whenever you need it, an HVAC unit is a costly home expense and is one of those things you don’t want to fix. The unit itself can cost a few thousand dollars, not to mention the labor to fix it. If you have any issues with your HVAC ductwork, that will be an additional expense.
How to Avoid HVAC Repair: The best way to avoid having to repair your HVAC unit is to keep up on it with regular maintenance. It’s always a good idea to have an HVAC expert come out every 6 months to inspect your system; the best times are in the fall before you need to turn on your heat, and in the spring before you need to turn on the AC.
#4 Electrical Rewiring
The wiring of your home is crucial to your safety, and to the safety of your house. Faulty wiring has been known to cause house fires, power outages, and more, so always make sure you’re checking for electrical problems, and talking to a certified professional if you do run across any problems. When done poorly, rewiring your home can cost thousands, and can be a major hassle, as electricians usually have to break into the walls of your home to make the right repairs.
How to Avoid Electrical Rewiring: Always keep a close eye on exterior components of your electric system. If an outlet or light fixture looks a little off, you’re probably right. Don’t hesitate to call an electrician for their opinion. A quick call and inspection will cost you far less in the long run than a full-blown electrical problem, especially when it could have been avoided.
#5 Mold Remediation
Mold is one of those sneaky home invaders that’s easy to look past until it’s too late. Unfortunately, mold has serious implications for your health and for the integrity of your home. If mold has grown in your home in an area larger than 10 feet, you’ll have to hire a professional to get rid of it because of the health hazards it presents. This is a costly expense that can take some time, and often requires you to replace all of the materials that mold has grown on.
How to Avoid Mold in the First Place: The best way to avoid mold in the first place is to tackle any leaks or moisture problems in your home at first sight. Mold grows when water has a chance to sit in your drywall or on your floors. If you notice a leak, be sure to take care of it right away, and make sure you’re stopping leaks at their source.
Roof replacement can be one of the most expensive home repairs to make. A new roof costs thousands of dollars, and it’s a very necessary component of your home. A faulty roof can cause interior leaks that lead to excessive water damage and mold, and if you let a roof problem sit for too long, you’ll likely need to replace the entire thing, rather than just repairing the damage.
How to Avoid Re-Roofing Your Home: The good news is that the average asphalt shingle roof can last as long as 25 years. For many homeowners, it’s an expense that can be avoided, so long as you keep up on regular maintenance, and inspect your roof regularly. When you see missing shingles, be sure to call your local roofer to make repairs. The sooner you fix small problems, the longer your roof is likely to last, and the less you’ll have to spend over time.
#7 Sewer Pipe and Plumbing Problems
Sewer pipes and plumbing problems are notoriously difficult and expensive to resolve. Unfortunately, most of the time these problems are out of sight, so it can be hard to tell what’s going on until a pipe bursts and it’s too late. It’s good to remember that the city is only responsible for the sewer pipes up to the end of the street. Anything on your property is your responsibility, so it’s a good idea to have it checked regularly.
How to Avoid Sewer Pipe and Plumbing Problems: Your best bet to avoid a sewer pipe problem is to have it inspected yearly. Roots from trees can clog or damage pipes, so the best way to avoid a crisis is to have a professional with a scope or camera inspect it for you on a yearly basis. When it comes to the plumbing within your home, the same logic applies. If you see a leak, call a professional. It’s also a good idea to have your plumbing checked out before winter sets in, as that’s when most plumbing problems tend to crop up.
#8 Fallen Tree Damage
Fallen trees cause some of the most massive damage to residential homes, and are also a hazard to your family’s safety. What makes this particular damage so expensive is that it’s usually not limited to just one component of your home. When a tree falls, it’s likely to take out parts of your roof, electrical wiring, potentially plumbing and parts of your HVAC, and more.
How to Avoid Fallen Tree Damage: Take out any potentially dangerous trees. If there is a large tree overhanging your roof or a part of your house, you may consider at least cutting it back, if not having it removed. Another key issue to watch out for is dead trees. Trees that have died but are still standing don’t have the live root system to keep them in the ground in the event of high winds. They are the most likely to cause damage and should be taken down as soon as possible if they are in reaching distance of your home.
#9 Fire or Smoke Damage
A reported 36% of home fires in rural areas of the U.S. are caused by faulty fireplaces. Home appliances, like toasters and microwaves, are responsible for another large percentage of home fires. Fire and smoke damage are very expensive to repair because they require the total replacement of the damaged areas. Since smoke affects the air quality of your home, it’s also responsible for a large portion of the expenses that go into repairing a home after a fire.
How to Avoid Fire or Smoke Damage: To avoid fires caused by a faulty fireplace, make sure you’re cleaning your fireplace regularly if you use it often. Creosote, or partially burned pieces of ash, collect in your chimney and can clog your flue, which can cause your fireplace to malfunction. When using your fireplace, always make sure the flue is open and your chimney is clean.
To avoid fires caused by other culprits in your home, make sure that kitchen appliances like toasters and coffee makers are unplugged when they’re not in use. Changing the batteries in your smoke detectors is also the easiest and least expensive way to avoid a house fire.
#10 Wet Basement
Wet basements are an all-too-common problem for older homes, especially those with a traditional unfinished, Michigan basement. While a little water is likely to come in occasionally, depending on your home and your foundation, a constantly wet basement is a bad sign and an expensive repair. Continuous moisture in the basement can lead to mold, cracks in your foundation, and more, all of which are expensive repairs to make.
How to Avoid a Wet Basement: Most often, water seeps into your basement when it’s not being properly directed away from your foundation. If your gutters are clogged, rain will fall from them right onto the base of your house. This is easily remedied by cleaning your gutters, or adding downspouts that direct water further away from your home. You can also take steps to waterproof your basement or call a professional for their expert recommendations. The good news is that a wet basement can be avoided, so the sooner you take action, the less you’re likely to spend on repairs.
If you’ve found one of these major issues in your West Michigan home, know that you have options. If you simply don’t have the money or time to make those repairs before you sell, Renewed Homes can help. As a local real estate investor dedicated to our community, we offer West Michigan homeowners like you a variety of options to help them get out of debt, get their home back in shape, and move on with their lives. If you have questions about a troublesome home, please don’t hesitate to reach out. We’re here to help.