How to Save THOUSANDS on Home Repair in 2021

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Want to know the #1 way to save money on home repairs? The answer is simple: prevent them in the first place! Now I know this may seem obvious, but you’d be surprised how often homeowners let simple issues turn into big problems. We as people have very busy lives and don’t always have the time and energy to put maintenance into the forefront of our focus (there’s a reason 91% of all US adults over 20 have had a cavity at some point in their life). 

It’s important to intentionally set aside time each year to examine our properties for issues that have the potential to turn into wallet-draining problems. This guide will highlight 7 steps you can take to check up on your property’s health.

1) Go for a Walk

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You’d be surprised how much damage can occur through the Fall and Winter seasons, walking around your property to look for this damage is vital because if you’re able to catch an issue early, you can prevent it from becoming a big problem. We recommend taking pictures of your property each year so that you can see which areas have been affected the most by the seasonal weather.

Lisa Turner, author of “House Keys: The Essential Homeowner’s Guide” recommends taking multiple circuits around your property at various distances. Your first passthrough should be around 60ft from your house, look for damaged siding, missing paint, large cracks, holes, damaged downspouts, and areas where water could be accumulating near your foundation.

On the next passthrough, come closer to the house and examine soffits, doors, windows, screens, and vents. Remember to take pictures and note any damage you may see.

Finally, it’s important to check the roof and the interiors & exteriors of your gutters for damage. If you don’t feel comfortable setting up a ladder and climbing onto your roof, consider calling in a professional to help. If you’re in the Olympia area, Bayside Exterior Cleaning offers free estimates which include a full inspection of your roof and gutters. 

2) Look at the Crawl Space

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A lot can happen to your crawl space in the frigid months: pests can set up nests, mold can begin to grow, and pipes can potentially freeze, causing leaks leading to even more damage.

Grab a flashlight, mask, & safety goggles and start looking for the areas of concern we listed above. Most homes have a vapor barrier that covers the entire dirt floor to prevent humidity from seeping into the insulation, be sure to check that this sheet hasn’t shifted or ripped since the last inspection too.

Next, you’ll want to check the underfloor for moisture, drippings, falling insulation, mold, or sagging. If you notice your floor is sagging or find any of the issues we listed above, call a licensed professional immediately.

3) Check Out the Health of Your Lawn and Garden

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A well kept yard is vital for maintaining curbside appeal, which is important if you ever plan to sell or rent out your property. Though an unkempt lawn may not necessarily cause structural maintenance issues, consistently maintaining a lawn is much more cost effective than addressing a lawn which has been neglected for years. 

Make sure to look out for and remove patches of dead grass, weeds, and sticks. Mulch is also a cheap yet effective way to boost curbside appeal to the max. Not only can it hide lawn imperfections, but it also establishes a nice area to plant flowers around the home, making it feel warmer and more inviting.

4) Give Flowers a Fresh Start

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In the PNW, planting flowers can be a difficult task due to all the rain we experience. That’s why preparing to plant flowers is just as important as actually planting them. Ashleigh Lemon, a research specialist at Scotts Miracle-Gro recommends, “Pick[ing] up a handful of soil and squeez[ing] it. If it crumbles, you can start preparing your beds. If it sticks together in a clump, it’s still too wet to work in.”

When you begin the planting process, start by removing any dead plants from the previous season, followed by spreading around compost and continuous-release plant food.

5) Tune Up the Mower

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More often than not, your lawnmower hasn’t seen any action for 6 months or more. It’s important to maintenance your mower at the start of each season to prevent damage, damage that could require you to replace the machine all together. 

Be sure to clean up the exterior, change the oil & spark plugs, and replenish the gas tank with fresh fuel. Be sure to also clean your air filter with soap and water.

Pro tip: Always cut your lawn with the highest possible deck height for your type of grass and always use sharp blades. Cutting with a dull blade and/or cutting at a lower height than necessary can “stress out” your grass and open it up to disease. 

6) Check the AC

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Make sure to check your air conditioner (HVAC) before it gets too warm out! Be sure to change out the unit’s filter and spray the outside of the condenser with a garden hose to remove dust and debris buildup. 

Pro tip: Never use a pressure washer to clean your HVAC system! The water pressure will be too high and will cause damage to the unit.

7) Prep the Dishwasher

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With the warm weather coming in and vaccines rolling out, chances are you’re probably planning to have a few barbecues this summer. Make sure your dishwasher is prepared for all the extra dishes! Be sure your dishwasher’s drain is free of debris to prevent clogging and if your unit has a removable filter, clean it regularly with a mild detergent.

Conclusion

The #1 way to save money on home repairs is to prevent them all together with seasonal maintenance. We hope this guide helps you to think about which areas of your home are most at risk for damage and what steps you should be taking to keep your home feeling brand new. 

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