Real Estate and the Cost of Repairs by Natalie Bergman

In the long run it doesn’t pay to delay on taking care of your biggest investment. Keeping your home in good repair can help to avoid expenses down the road.

Take a walk around the exterior of your home and look for signs of wear and tear:
a. peeling paint: worn uncovered surfaces can lead to delicious meals for termites leading to dry rot requiring repair or even tenting
b. Broken screens or damaged access to crawl spaces in and out of your home: access makes nice opportunities for rodents and other pests to take up residence under your home or in your attic
c. Water/earth contact to wood surfaces: another opportunity for termites and other pests to snack at the support structures of your home.

Inside your home:
a. When you flush the toilet does your shower get icy cold?
b. When you turn on the hair dryer does the kitchen circuit short out?
c. Is the grout around your sinks or tubs and showers turning black and worn?
d. Is there mildew building up in your bathroom areas?
e. Is there a leaky faucet or under the counter pipe leak dripping water into your cabinet?

Some of these items can be pricey like re-piping your home or adding new electric circuitry, while simple repairs and maintenance to prevent mold or water damage can be relatively inexpensive but save you big bucks.

1. Reseal grout: At least once a year, take the time to reapply a grout seal to protect your grout from crumbling and failing wherever you have tile that comes in contact with steam or water.
2. Avoid dampness buildup: During and after showering or bathing, run your bathroom air vent or open windows to circulate dry air and prevent too much humidity or water buildup in wet spaces.
3. Tape or seal pipe junctions: Under sinks and wherever pipes come together, make sure that they are adequately taped or sealed so that there is no leaking of water.
4. Repair or replace all screens: Make sure all your screens are in good repair and if need be, replace them.

Since we live in Southern California where earthquake fault lines interlace underneath us, make sure your home is earthquake ready.
1. Water heater strapping: Hire a plumber or other technician to come in and strap your water heater, and attach appropriate emergency relief valving.
2. Emergency Seismic Gas Shutoff: Install an emergency gas shut-off valve at your main gas line outside of your home. In the event of an earthquake, the valve shuts off the flow or gas preventing you from dangerous gas leaks.
3. Tempered glass sliding doors: Old sliding doors have glass that shatters and sprays shards every which way. Make sure that your sliders are tempered or have a technician apply a thin layer of plastic adhesive to the glass to hold it together in the event of earthquakes.
4. Strapping bookcases, appliances and other furnishings: Attaching earthquake straps to hold bookcases, appliances and heavy furnishings will prevent them from toppling over in the event of a major quake. There is an entire industry devoted to earthquake safety fasteners. Choose and install them yourself, or hire a handyman to come in and take care of it for you.
5. Kitchen hazards: Make sure your cupboard doors seal properly so that they won’t fling open and hurl dishes and cups at you at the first sign of an earthquake. If need be, you can install catches on the doors.
6. Protecting your knickknacks: use an earthquake adhesive, mounting tape or wax to hold your prize possessions in place so they don’t fly off the shelf at the first jolt.

Just keeping up with repairs can add value to your home, and make it a more comfortable place to live.

The Actors' Gang


  1. I concur, in a place like Southern California, strapping your appliances and installing emergency shut-off valves are exceedingly important.

    Thanks for the article!

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