One of a homeowner’s most important assets is something we usually don’t think about, but should. Giving your house’s roof and gutters some attention at least once a year will pay big dividends by extending its life and avoiding damage that can cost thousands of dollars to correct.
A sound, attractive roof is also a key element in a house’s appeal to a buyer when the time comes to sell.
Right now, when leaves are falling, is an excellent time to take a look at your roof and do any necessary maintenance. Small investments in preventive steps will pay off by saving big repair costs.
Look for overhanging branches or nearby trees that may be leaning, or that could fall on the roof in a storm. While an attractive shade tree nearby can help keep your house cooler in the summer, its branches shouldn’t extend over the roof.
Look for any missing or broken shingles, and have them replaced as soon as possible, before they result in a roof leak.
Also look for such telltale symptoms as rust streaks, especially where the roof meets a wall or chimney. These may be signs that flashing needs repairing or replacement.
Be sure your gutters and downspouts are clean and in good condition. When leaves or pine straw clog a gutter, rainwater overflows. Behind the gutter, that water can start to rot your house’s trim. Water that spills in front can damage landscaping, washing away mulch, topsoil and even plants. Spillover from blocked gutters can also splash on walkways, decks and patios, deteriorating doors and siding.
Cleaning gutters isn’t anybody’s favorite way to spend a weekend. But the modest investments of time or money needed to get it done are tiny compared to the cost of replacing rotted trim or siding.
When you’re checking your gutters, be sure all the downspouts are discharging their water where they’re supposed to. You don’t want to have puddles near the house that can cause moisture problems in the foundation or crawl space.
I have more to say about “green” ideas for managing rainwater on your property in an article from October 2014.
Even with careful maintenance, of course, eventually most roofs will have to be replaced. The exceptions are high-end but essentially permanent types such as metal, tile or slate. As long as any damage is repaired promptly, these roofs will last as long as the house does.
But for most homes, a conventional fiberglass shingle roof has a 20- or 30-year life span. You can tell by looking when a roof needs to be replaced. If in doubt, a professional roofer can offer useful advice.
I recently listed a 20-year-old house that had a roof rated for 20 years. A roofer who inspected it assured the owner that it was in good enough condition to last at least another couple of years. That gave the seller a solid basis – including a written assessment from the contractor – to answer any concerns from the buyer.
Have a question about buying, selling or any other real estate matter? Let me know and I’ll address it in a future article.
Michelle Clark is a broker with Intracoastal Realty, based at the Wrightsville Beach office. She is an Accredited Luxury Home Specialist, ALHS and also a Short Sales and Foreclosure Resource. Whether you are buying, selling, or investing, know that Michelle and her team will go the extra mile for you. To learn more about Michelle and Intracoastal, go to www.intracoastalrealty.com. You may contact Michelle at [email protected] or 910-367-9767. Like Michelle’s team on Facebook at www.facebook.com/MichelleClarkTeam.
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