Homeowners around the nation are always fretting about the next property disaster they could possibly encounter. While it’s true that many situations are out of the owner’s control, it’s also safe to say that many of the problems are at least somewhat preventable. Oftentimes this prevention requires narrow and direct focus, but hey, when thousands and thousands of dollars are involved it’s probably worth it.

down the valley
Paolo Margari via Compfight

Below I list some expensive property concerns that homeowners can potentially avoid, and how to go about it. The particular situation will vary from person to person and house to house, but these ideas are meant to inspire discussion and action. If you are a homeowner or prospective homebuyer, they may come in handy down the road.

1. Sewer line.

You can imagine how terrible and expensive sewer problems can be. However, there are signs to look for early on that might prevent a complete replacement. A total revamp of a main sewer line can cost upwards of $5,000, and can be even more if the road in front of the house has to be ripped up to make the replacement possible. Look for the following indicators of sewer issues:

– Clogged basement drains: Due to these drains usually being the lowest point of direct contact with the main sewer line, any issue with them can be indicative of a bigger problem throughout the system.

– Leaky or cracked walls/foundation: Any water damage is a serious concern, but is even more detrimental when a main sewer line is involved. Visible cracks are easy to spot, and much simpler to deal with the earlier they’re noticed.

– Any large trees near major sewer line: Tree roots can grow through sewer lines and cause irreplaceable damage. Consider taking note of a property’s landscape before and during residency. Misplaced or overgrown trees can have a surprisingly obtrusive impact on sewer operations.

Sewer lines can cost a ton to fix. Total replacements can be prevented by having a plumber run a camera through your line and then using a high water pressure machine to blow out any obstructive objects. Sewer line inspections are particularly important if you are a prospective homeowner taking over a new house. Make sure to get it checked out before you agree to purchase.

2. Foundation.

The foundation is not only the physical skeleton of real estate, but it also represents a huge financial groundwork. If you own a house or are looking at a house with foundational issues, you better know how to write a check or swipe a credit card for serious amounts of money. Problems with the foundation will at best cost thousands and at worst compromise the total value of the structure. Some signs to look for:

– Severe cracks in the structure: Most foundations will have cracks, but it’s critical to take note if there are sections or areas that have more significant ones. These could be a sign that pressure and or design is uneven.

– Leaning: If the top of a house is leaning at allover the base, there could be serious trouble. Take note and seek a professional’s advice. Tilting floor can also be an indicator of something huge when foundation is concerned.

The base of your house or a prospective home is the groundwork that the entire structure is founded upon. There’s a reason that it’s expensive to fix and even more of a reason why it’s important to take care of and troubleshoot throughout the years. A large-scale foundation renovation can be somewhat prevented by regular professional upkeep and increased awareness.

3. Roof.

The roof of a home provides the shelter and insulation that people need to live comfortably. Due to the extreme nature of Earth’s weather, the standard roof is exposed to some serious elements. This exposure naturally creates wear and damage. However, the impact that the particular damage has can be mitigated by regular maintenance. Issues to notice:

– Leaky roof: If you have constant water drips, it’s a sign of something.

– Extensive water damage: If there are sections in your ceilings that appear to have puffy or sprawling water damage, get on the phone and get a professional in there.

– Worn shingles: Shingles are meant to help water navigate down and eventually off your roof. If they are worn down to the nail, the moisture and liquid will begin to seep in to the actual structure. This can create the above problems, along with other damage.

Major housing renovations are tough on anyone’s wallet, and it’s important to keep an eye out for any issues that are even somewhat preventable. It can go a long way to be on top of problems before they become irreversible.

Griff Haeger loves peanut butter and fixing things. When he’s not teaching his neighbor how to use a ladder, he writes about air conditioning equipment.

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