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The Hidden Cost of Home Ownership

For most people their largest investment is their home, so it makes sense to do everything that you can to protect your investment from deterioration, pests and wear and tear.

  • Protecting the structural integrity of your home.
  • Regular maintenance that will make you home more comfortable, safer and energy efficient.
  • A well-cared for home stands out in the neighborhood and that's important when it comes time to sell, making the sale easier and /or brings in a higher sales price


  • Protecting the structural integrity of the home-not the sexiest of projects but if you don't maintain and address these issues they could only get worse and may affect your safety and health.

    1. Check for mold under the house, at the windows, at the bathrooms, in the drywall and, if found, take steps to prevent re-growth.
    2. If you notice sagging or broken components of the structure, there could be a variety of reasons, repair these issues before they get worse, cost more, damage more or cause a safety issue.
    3. Replace old electrical wiring and grounded plugs through-out to prevent fire and electrical shock, especially in areas where there is water.
    4. If paint is cracking or wood looks wet at siding, eaves or floor check to see if soft and research where issue is stemming from and repair the symptom as well as the main issue.
    5. Termites, carpenter bees there may be some tell-tale signs, holes in exterior wood eaves or siding for the bees, termites you can look for droppings that look like sawdust.
    6. Test for lead and asbestos, yes you would be surprised how many homes in the bay area still have some asbestos in them. These may contribute to poor air quality in the home and should be addressed.
    7. Service your furnace and air conditioner, install a child-safe, auto reversing garage door opener, replace glass to tempered, clean out dryer vent and replace the lint catching flexible duct with a smooth, rigid duct.
  • Regular Home maintenance to avoid the above issues as well as save energy costs is like putting money in the bank. It's smart to limit the amount of energy you are losing from the house as well as fixing small problems before they lead to any of the above. The following are maintenance for your structure.

    1. Seal gaps around doors, windows and pipes and /or weatherstripping.
    2. Seal exterior gaps in the siding, around doors, windows and pipes.
    3. Repair any exterior cracks and patio or driveway cracks as soon as possible.
    4. If brick chimney check for any loose bricks and repair.
    5. Maintain the roof and ensure flashings are intact in good condition. Once a year, at least, check the roof and clean up debris on the roof as well as cleaning out the gutters. Extend downspouts away from the foundation and re-grade soil to direct water away from the house (soil should be down on foundation 8").
    6. Insulate the hot water heater and the hot-water pipes.
    7. Replace old toilets with new water saving toilets.
    8. Monitor the bathtub and shower grout and caulk, re-grout and seal as necessary.
    9. Yearly furnace/A-C, boiler and duct work tune-ups
    10. Keep up with the paint on siding, trim and decks.
    11. Insulate your attic or crawl-space.

    Did you notice most of these projects have to do with preventing water damage. The fact is water and moisture are the number-one enemy of your home.

  • Maintenance done on a regular (annual) basis will provide optimal longevity for your home as well as help prevent potential breakdowns or malfunctions of your systems.

    1. Inspect and check your irrigation system
    2. Check your water heater temperature, connections—clean out (don't do this if has never been done before and your water heater is older).
    3. Check under all sinks and make sure there is no sign of water.
    4. Vacuum out refrigerator condenser coils, check the gasket on the door.
    5. Check the oven temperature and replace lights in it and other appliances.
    6. Vacuum off smoke alarms and CO detectors.
    7. Change your furnace filters or clean.
    8. Change your range hood filters if has one.
    9. Clean your stove range burners.
    10. Check your chimney box, fill cracks have chimney cleaned if wood-burning.
    11. Check dryer and washer vents for plugs and connections.
    12. Test fire extinguishers, smoke detectors and CO monitors.
    13. Test the garage door to ensure the child-safety, auto reverse feature is working correctly.
    14. Clean out your dishwasher filter.
    15. Make sure you have the wrenches at your gas and water mains to shut off in an emergency.

Home Flipping Show What are Realistic Expectations

We all know that there is no way that a home, especially a full home remodel can happen in an hour or a week. However right there is a misconception, because it looks as though construction starts on day one when in fact you have pre-construction that can take from weeks to months.

Pre-construction that you don't see is defining the scope, choosing a team, drawing the plans, signing the contract and getting approvals and permits from your city.

Even when they show one week later…(that goes by in seconds) living through one week is a lot different than watching it in seconds however, the viewer gets the sense that it is no big deal. In fact, the entire project just took an hour so it all is no big deal.

In reality it could take, depending on scope a few weeks to months to years (for a custom estate). On average a kitchen remodel could take 3-4 months, a bathroom 6-8 weeks and whole house remodel 7-8 months (again remember we also have pre-construction) on average it take a whole house remodel project a year from thinking about it to actually starting construction.

The shows tend to focus on not the day to day work (they only have an hour) but on the cool shopping for products, looking at design, furniture and colors. These are a part of the process and are always fun though they are really a small part of the overall process and don't show what it is like to live without a kitchen, with the mess of drywall dust or waiting for an inspection.

During construction you will have highs and lows at different stages (it is called the Homeowners emotional roller coaster) and while you will have a schedule sometimes, due to unforeseen circumstances, it may need to be adjusted—doesn't mean you won't be on schedule at the end, but things happen.

These "reality" shows tend to create drama by exaggerating the unforeseen circumstances and tension. The reality is that the constant thing about construction and remodeling is that there are a variety of changes every day. Most the contractor will handle without you knowing (planning issues, items not being delivered on-time, unforeseen termite work etc.), if you are involved it is handled professionally and communicated effectively as we are all on the same team, wanting to have a good experience and giving you the home you have imagined.

In the end take these shows for what they are, entertainment. They can provide idea's for your home and show you new products and trends.