Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Six Essential Spring Exterior Repairs to Maintain the Value of Your Minnesota Home

As the spring real estate market starts to heat up a bit due to excitement over the $8000 first time home buyer credit, many Minnesota homeowners start thinking it's time for the "honey-do" list of spring projects. Keeping your home in tiptop shape is essential in maintaining your property’s value. Even if you don’t intend to sell your home this summer, there are a few essential things to check, repair and or replace after ever Minnesota winter. As a Minnesota Realtor, I see many properties that have not been properly cared for. Throughout Anoka County, Chisago County and northern Washington County, the areas where I work extensively, I have seen houses with interior ceiling damage from leaking roofs, potholed, cracked driveways and decks that are downright scary to walk on.
Surprisingly, these are not all foreclosure homes. It is frustrating to have to make repairs just prior to selling your home. Some traditional sellers are faced with having to sell in this slower market and are frustrated in having to make thousands of dollars in repairs in order to sell due to lack of maintenance. Not making the repairs means being priced to compete directly with foreclosure homes at thousands less than expected. Neither choice is appealing to sellers when values are depressed.

With hindsight being 20/20, many of these sellers lament about how they wish they had chosen to keep the home in better condition all along so they could have enjoyed the benefit of a well maintained home. It is much more beneficial and cost effective to assess your property on an annual basis and make repairs as necessary.

Here are 6 spring maintenance tips that will not only beautify your home, but also aid in retaining your home’s value for years to come:
Roof—Walk around the exterior of your home with binoculars if necessary and check for any missing shingles that may have been blown off during a winter storm. If any are missing or you see other concerns, bring in a contractor to assess the damage and make repairs before you have water damage on the interior of your home.
Siding—Power wash debris buildup from vinyl or aluminum siding. Buildup can stain siding overtime.
Deck Settling—Check for any settling or worn boards on your deck especially if it is several feet off of the ground. If the supports of your deck appear to be pulling away from the home or if the boards are weather-worn, have it reviewed by a professional before that first summer barbeque.

Paint & Stain—Did the harsh winter sleet, snow and ice cause the paint or stain on your siding, trim or deck to start to peel? Now is the time to assess th
e damage.
Gutters—Gutters filled with leaves? Take the time to clean out to prevent water backups. Keeping water away from the foundation is the best way to keep water out of your basement. If your gutters are clogged, they cannot do the job and the rains will pour right over the clogged-gutter’s edge near the walls of your home. Consider adding screens or guards to prevent leave buildup in the future.
Driveway—The winter’s freeze and thaw cycle can do damage to an asphalt driveway. Cracks need to be filled or they will get worse. It is recommended that blacktop driveways also be seal-coated every 2 years when there in an open area with extreme sun exposure to extend the life of the driveway.

Copyright 2009 Teri Eckholm