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June 2004

Show some curb appeal

Any REALTOR® will tell you, regular preventative maintenance is vital to maintaining your property value. By spending a few hours every spring conducting a careful home inspection, you’ll save money in the long run because you can address minor problems before they turn into major repairs. A spring maintenance check-up is especially important given the wear homes receive during the winter.

Grab a clipboard or notebook and take a walk around your house with the checklist below. Make notes on any problem areas and then call the appropriate service professionals for advice.

Roof: Look for missing, slipped, sagging or cracked tiles or shingles. Replace or repair as necessary. Clear the roof of all debris. If you notice “streams” – signs of irregular water drainage – consult a professional roofer.

Chimney: Chimney flues should be inspected yearly and swept as necessary.

Gutters and downspouts: Look for signs of damage. Drains and gutters should be cleared of debris. You can test them by pouring a bucket of water down each downspout to ensure free flow.

Foundation: Houses settle year by year and can develop stress cracks; these can cause leaks into your basement. Have any noticeable foundation cracks repaired immediately.

Exterior siding: Inspect siding for sagging or damaged panels that may need replacing. Inspect wood soffits and fascia for signs of rot or pest infestation. If you have a brick exterior, check for loose or missing bricks and cracks in mortar.

Paint: The average exterior paint job lasts five to eight years but can be prolonged with annual touch-ups. Scrape, sand and repaint any patches that are peeling before the wood deteriorates. Trim shrubs and plants back at least 18 inches from the house, as they can cause moisture damage.

Flashings: Look for cracks and leaks in flashings; repair or replace as necessary.

Doors and windows: Inspect caulking and trim. Check doors and windows for smooth movement, and lubricate with silicone spray. Wash window screens and check for tears.

Water line: Check for loose joints in the water line to outside faucets

Furnace and boiler: Clean or replace furnace filter. Replacing it with an electrostatically charged filter is a good way to improve indoor air quality. Vacuum the exterior of the furnace and boiler.

Pipes: Check exposed pipes (indoors and out) for signs of leaks or corrosion.

Interior walls: Check walls for bulges, damp patches or peeling paint; these may indicate moisture trapped in the walls.

Basement: Inspect floors and walls for dampness, leaks and cracks.

Ventilator fans and stove exhaust fan: These should be cleaned and lubricated.

The key to effective maintenance is tracing problems right to the source, rather than just making cosmetic repairs. Be sure to seek professional advice if you suspect an underlying problem. Get into the habit of regular spring maintenance check-ups. Show off your home’s curb appeal and you’ll see the pay off when it comes time to sell your home