ATLANTA (FOX 5 Atlanta) - Owning your own home is an important part of the American Dream. In addition, home ownership has a documented tendency to create what is called the “wealth effect” by slowly appreciating in value while you are slowly paying off any mortgages.
But along with the benefits comes responsibility, and among the many obligations of ownership is the unexpected expensive repair.
FOX 5 real estate expert John Adams stopped by Good Day Atlanta to share some tips on how you can avoid some of the most expensive home repairs.
1. Foundation repair
One of the most important systems in your house is the foundation. And if it develops problems, be prepared for an expensive repair. Foundation repairs typically run between $5,000 and $10,000, but can be much higher in some cases.
Most often, foundation problems are the result of water undermining parts of the foundation, causing cracks to appear or forcing a replacement of the foundation itself, usually at great expense.
Avoid this repair by closely inspecting your foundation inside and out before you purchase, then making sure surface water is diverted away from the house. Gutters are a key problem area to watch.
2. Replacing a HVAC system
Heating and cooling your home is not an option for homes in the southern U.S. So when your HVAC system wears out, you largely have no choice other than to replace it.
Unfortunately, these systems are not designed to last more than 15 years, and eventually they simply must be replaced.
On an average one story home of less than 2,000 square feet, replacing the furnace and air conditioning is likely to cost you $5,000 to $7,000.
Neglecting your HVAC system can shorten its service life dramatically, so have it serviced at least in the spring and fall of each year. And never lease a replacement system.
3. Repairing water-damaged walls and ceilings
Water under pressure is piped throughout your home. That is what we call convenience. But if that pressure begins to leak out into your home, it can cause tremendous damage to floors walls and ceilings, not to mention furniture and possessions. That is what we call expensive.
Replacing a wall or ceiling with crown molding in just one room can easily cost upwards of $1,500, and if we start replacing floor covering and furniture, the costs can skyrocket.
Some of the most common causes of water leaks are burst water pipes and leaky roofs. So routinely examine your roof and ceilings for damage or leaks, and replace rubber washer hoses with stainless steel braided hoses that are burst proof, and always be on the lookout for small leaks under systems attached to your water supply.
5. Removing a tree
Over the past 10 to 15 years, the cost of taking down a tree in the metro Atlanta area has skyrocketed. And to make matters worse, estimates often vary wildly, making it difficult to know how to proceed. A typical cost for removing a large tree can be several thousand dollars, depending on the size and location.
Furthermore, there is a widespread belief by many that tree repair companies routinely tell homeowners that a tree must be removed, when in fact it is perfectly healthy.
John Adams' advice to avoid the cost of tree removal is to make absolutely sure that the removal is necessary. Get multiple estimates and seek advice from tree experts who are not engaged in the tree removal business.
The bottom line is, for most Americans, owning a home is the best investment they ever make. But along with the benefits comes responsibility. Plan ahead for high cost repairs and avoid them whenever possible.