JANUARY 2, 2018 MIKE HOLMES
They say they don’t build them like they used to, but even the most well-built homes will eventually start to show their age. Every material has a lifespan, and as a homeowner, it’s your job to understand what signs to look for that indicate an aging home, so you can step in and make a few small home maintenance fixes to prevent long-term problems.
1. Breaking Brick and Mortar
Brick is a popular exterior material for a house. It’s a classic look that people associate with strength and integrity - but you need to be careful. For older brick homes, you need to keep an eye out for brick that’s starting to break apart (which is known as spalling).
When moisture penetrates brick, it can freeze, causing the brick to expand and crack, giving you your spalling. You can’t repair brick that’s already begun to spall, and instead need to replace it with new brick and mortar.
Speaking of mortar, eventually it will start to break down - letting more moisture penetrate the brick, speeding up the spalling process. So what do you do when your mortar starts to break down? You’ll need to scrape out all the old stuff and replace it with newly mixed mortar, sealing any gaps in between your bricks. This process is called tuck pointing.
2. Damaged Shingles and Pulling Gutters
Your home’s exterior is its first line of defence against the elements, and after years of wear and tear, you might notice some weak spots that need some repair.
Your roof will take the biggest beating from the weather - and you want to look out for things like asphalt shingles that have curled edges, are peeling or entirely missing. These are a sign that it’s time to install a new roof. I like metal roofs because they typically last longer than your traditional asphalt shingle.
Look for gutters that are pulling away from your roofline; this is a sign that the fasteners that hold it to the fascia have deteriorated with time. Replacing the hangers is a fairly inexpensive task, but if you’re doing it yourself, always keep safety in mind when you’re working at heights.
3. Water Leaks
Look for evidence of leaks or water stains around the interior of your home, especially beneath bathroom areas. This could indicate a plumbing system that’s made it to the end of its lifespan. For visible piping, look for any rusted or corroded materials - a sure sign that it’s time to call in a plumber. You want to be proactive with your plumbing and deal with things before you spring a major leak.
If your property uses a septic tank, make sure your system is getting inspected and pumped regularly. You can’t use your nose as a guide here - if something starts to stink, you’ve already got a problem.
Wear and tear is normal for an older home. By checking for these signs of aging, you'll be able to make small fixes now instead of being tempted to rush major repairs later.
About the Author Mike Holmes, professional contractor and TV host, is working with Associa to refine the standards and protocols that today’s Homeowner’s Associations use to Make It Right™ for their homeowners. He brings more than 35 years of experience in renovations, construction, and inspection services, and is best known as the contractor and host of “Holmes on Homes” and “Holmes Makes It Right” where he rescues homeowners from repair and renovation disasters.
On a periodic basis I will sending out some thoughts on current issues I am seeing out in the field. Today I will discuss existing homes homes and buyers expectations. Also, we will discuss pre-listing inspections as the two go hand in hand.
Many of the buyers of existing homes in the Grand Strand area are expecting existing homes to be in perfect condition or the same as new construction from a cosmetic standpoint. In many cases this is an unrealistic expectation but this does not seem to matter to the buyer. Many of these buyers are retirees leaving homes that they have spent time, energy, and money to make perfect in their eyes. Or they have viewed cosmetically perfect new construction in the area. Remember perception is reality.
They arrive here and start looking at both existing homes and new construction. If they decide on existing and have a home inspection completed there are typically concerns. Many of the concerns are not costly to repair and can be handled by a qualified handyman. Also, many buyers are unable to decide what items to focus on for pre-closing repair and instead want everything fixed that the inspector found or want a totally unrealistic price reduction.
I have worked hard to provide my clients the realistic costs to repair the items of concerns and provide references of reasonable pros that can address the concerns. Also, we stress the overall condition of the home and try to divert the focus from the fix it list. As you all know many of these concerns are easily repaired and nominal cost especially when considered versus the price of the home. In other words, chump change.
A way to avoid some of these issues is a pre-listing inspection. I can complete an inspection and provide a list of items that need addressed. In addition, we can help find the good pros to make the repairs. If your seller decides not to have any or all of the repairs done at least they are not surprised just before closing. Also, if the repairs are completed by the owner, they improve the realtors negotiating position and likely puts or keeps money in the sellers and listing agent pocket.
Sorry for the rambling but I believe it is a pertinent subject. Just for some perspective, I also work in the Rock Hill/York/Lancaster area and this is not as big as an issue in that market.
Have a great week and always call me if you have questions or need an inspection.
This week we inspected properties in Little River and North Myrtle Beach, SC. Both clients gave us excellent reviews on HomeAdvisor. Next week we will be inspecting 13 homes for an investor and helping with a final walkthrough on new construction. It will be busy. Keep us in mind for any home inspection related needs.
Getting ready to be busy. Going to Surfside Beach tomorrow, Little River on Saturday, and Pawleys Island on Sunday. We are the best home inspection service on the Grand Strand.
If you are getting ready to sell your home think about the heat pump and hot water heater. They are definitely not eye candy but systems in poor condition will likely cause you concerns during negotiations. I recommend having the heat pump system serviced by a HVAC technician before listing and document so you can show the buyer. If it beyond servicing consider putting in a new, energy efficient system. It will help the selling process to go much more smoothly.
My only comment on hot water heaters is if they are old and corroded they should be replaced. Any competent home inspector will note a corroded hot water heater in their report. A nice new hot water will be much more appealing to buyers.
These recommendations will make the selling process go much more smoothly and possibly but money in your pocket.
This was my workplace view yesterday. Past the marsh and the last row of buildings is the Atlantic Ocean. I was in North Myrtle Beach inspecting a beautiful home for a client from Virginia.
It was a busy week last week. WC Home Inspection LLC inspected homes and condos throughout SC. We went to Aynor, York, and Murrells Inlet for a total of 5 inspections. All of our clients were very pleased with the quality of our inspections. Please keep us in mind for the home inspection needs. In addition, we can provide periodic and MIMO inspections for property managers. Why not use the best!
I inspect many homes with a hot water hidden behind a panel or door in a closet. I recommend removing the panel or door so the home owner will occasionally be able to check the hot water heater for problems. If it is behind a secured panel or door, the homeowner is not able to check it as often as they should to prevent a significant problem. To all you contractors out there, please do not hide a hot water heater.
Today's article is about celebrating Glen Campbell's life. I am a huge fan and will miss his god given talent. Glen was born in southern Arkansas. As a 16 year resident of Arkansas, I can tell you where he was born and raised was very rural and poor.
From those humble beings he became an accomplished musician and singer. His talents were so immense in both areas that he would have been a star with just one of the gifts.
Early in his career, he was a studio musician for Nat King Cole, Elvis Presley, Frank Sinatra, Phil Spector, Sam Cooke, Dean Martin, Simon and Garfunkel, Jan and Dean, the Beach Boys, and many others. He toured with the Beach Boys as a replacement for Brian Wilson for six months.
From there he recorded huge hits such as Gentle On My Mind, Wichita Lineman, Galveston, Rhinestone Cowboy, Country Boy, and Southern Nights to name just a few. In the 1960's, he had a year that he sold more albums than the Beatles! Also, he had a TV show and starred in True Grit with John Wayne.
Of course, we can not forget those guitar solos. Listen to Galveston and Wichita Lineman and be amazed by his talent.
At the end of his career, he was diagnosed with Alzheimer's but was still able to perform until that last several years with the love and support of his family. During his last tour, he performed from Carnegie Hall to the Hollywood Bowl to sold-out crowds.
To anyone that has not been exposed to Glen's talents. please go online and listen to some of his great hits and listen for those famous guitar solos.
Yesterday, I was in Rock Hill, SC to inspect a home for a nice young couple. It was located on the Rock Hill Country Club golf course. Very nice location. WC Home Inspection will travel anywhere in South Carolina. If you need a quality inspection by a degreed engineer keep us in mind.
I am a full-time home inspector servicing all of South Carolina.