Purchasing your first home is probably one of life’s biggest achievements. With every mortgage payment that you make, you will be gaining equity in your property. Performing upgrades to the house and property will add even more equity to your investment.
Protecting your investment is as important as making the initial investment. So the question is, where to begin? If you ask 10 different people this question, you will get 10 different answers.
Assuming that the weather is good, you should walk around the outside of the house and identify any issues that might compromise the integrity of the structure. Trees and water penetration are the 2 main culprits that can cause serious structural damage.
Check to make sure that trees and larges bushes were planted far enough away from the home. Tree roots that grow over time can cause a foundation to crack and heave. Leafy vegetation has a tendency to retain water, which can cause rot if it remains in contact with wood siding and fascia. Tree limbs that hang over a roof can break off causing damage to the roof structure. They can also promote the growth of moss that will cause the shingles to deteriorate.
It is important to fix foundation cracks because they allow water to penetrate to the inside of the structure. Repairing these cracks using a pre-made mortar mix or Conproco (r) can be a quick, cheap, and easy fix.
It is also important to identify any areas that have a negative pitch, meaning that the ground is sloping towards the house. During a rainstorm, water collects against the foundation and has no place to go except down, and possibly into the foundation. Filling these low-lying areas with top soil will correct this issue. It is equally important to make sure that the home has gutters that are free of debris and downspouts that direct the flow of water away from the structure.
Check window and door seals to eliminate any outside air penetration. The best way to check that is to feel all the way around the unit on a windy day. If you can feel air coming in, you need to change the weather-strip on the doors and fill any voids around the windows with caulking.
Painting, both inside and out, is probably the cheapest improvement that you can make to a house. Not only does it protect the outer surface of the building material, but it can also greatly enhance the appearance and the value of the home.