Owning a home in Pound Ridge, NY is no different than anywhere else. The reality is, home ownership is not just about budgeting to cover your monthly mortgage payments and property tax, you also have a responsibility to care for your property- which means maintaining the foundation, structure and inner workings of your house, but also being prepared to pay for UNEXPECTED REPAIRS! Obviously this is easier said than done when money is tight, and you’re not a contractor or have your own live in handyman. Needless to say, whether you’ve owned your home for twenty years, or you’re considering becoming a homeowner for the first time, there are some absolutes that you should know how to fix yourself, budget for, and pay forward, to avoid catastrophic repairs & major surprise expenses!
Repairs to Fix IMMEDIATELY!
1. Don’t Ignore Electrical Inconveniences
Any electrical problem should be taken care of immediately to avoid potential blowouts or worse, A FIRE!
a) Dead Outlets: A sudden non functioning outlet (that does not go out from a blown fuse) could indicate a more serious problem such as a loose wire that could spark and cause serious damage. Get these problems checked out and repaired by a qualified electrician as soon as possible!
b) Dead Light Switch: A non functioning light switch (that does not go out from a blown fuse), could also mean something is shorting out inside the walls.
c) Excessive Static on TV or Radio: These malfunctions could indicate the house is not properly grounded (not safe)- which can cause even more serious problems down the line.
d) Strange Noise from a Major Appliance: Any electrical appliance (oven, stove, refrigerator) that starts humming should be repaired immediately!
e) Frayed Wires: Any frayed wires (exposed or not) should not be used and replaced immediately!
2. Deal with ALL Leaks
a) Ceiling Leaks & Water Damage: If you see water dripping from your ceiling, or if you see any discoloration due to water damage, you may have a small problem that is about to get much worse! Water takes the path of least least resistance, so just because you see discoloration in one spot, it does not mean that that is where the leak has originated. If there is a spot on your ceiling that gets wet more than once, or you see actual water dripping down, find the leak & get it repaired at once!
b) Pipes & Plumbing: A continually running toilet, a dripping sink, a leaky pipe under the sink, or any drips you hear in the wall, all should be repaired to avoid further damage, flooding and MOLD!
3. Maintain Your Heating & Cooling System (HVAC):
a) If you have central heating and air conditioning, have your system professionally maintained at least once a year to prolong the life and efficiency of your system. Have your filters & coils cleaned or replaced, and have your duct work swept.
b) If you have radiator heat, have the system flushed at least every other year to remove excess build up and air pockets that can decrease the efficiency of the system (not to mention causing that haunting banging sound).
c) Clean the filters of your window unit air conditioner once a month in the summer, and hose the coils at the beginning of each summer.
4. Mind Your Roof: Replace any missing shingles on your roof, and have any cracks or areas where water is pooling repaired before damage spreads or weakens that spot further.
5. Cracks in Your Foundation:You know what they say about relationships, well it holds true in your house as well! Make sure that any cracks in your foundation are sealed immediately to avoid water damage, mold or potential pest problems.
6. Seal Your Windows: Keep heat or cool air from escaping, avoid leaks and unwanted pests by keeping your windows properly sealed. Replace any old dried out caulking around the inside and outside of each window!
7. Keep Your Gutters Clean: Have your gutters completely cleaned 1-2 times each year to prevent clogs and avoid improper drainage. If the water backs up, it can seep under roof shingles, or the siding of your house and cause it to pull away.
8. Seal Your Deck: Sealing your wood deck every two to three years is essential not only for looks, but it will prolong the life of the wood as well. If you do not reseal often enough, the wood will rot and the deck will need to be replaced- ouch!
9. Sweep Your Chimney: If you have a working fireplace, and use it often, it is important to have your chimney cap checked and your chimney swept once a year. If an animal, debris or build up from use accumulates, it contribute to cracking the inside of the chimney- not to mention causing a major FIRE!
We’ve all heard the phrase little things mean a lot and nowhere is that more true than in the roller-coaster world of home ownership. While owning your own home is of course the proverbial American Dream, letting seemingly small things go can turn it into a nightmare. Spending money on small repairs now, can mean HUGE savings down the line. So the next time that roof starts to leak, know that it could turn into much more than just a drop in the bucket if you don’t fix it now!
Robert Paul is a real estate agent with Prudential Holmes and Kennedy in Bedford, New York. I specialize in new homes, luxury homes, and first time home buyers, in Bedford, Armonk, Chappaqua, Pound Ridge, Lewisboro and North Salem. Give me call at 914-325-5758 for all your real estate needs.