New homeownership can come with a price beyond the mortgage payments. In fact, the first five years can turn a dream home into a nightmare. Aside from the usual expenses often come a few unexpected ones that can sour your mood. With some, you’ll be glad you have homeowners insurance while others won’t even cause a ripple.
In general, homeowners don’t have to be reminded that things have a habit of breaking – at times unexpectedly – and if you can survive the first five years, you’ll probably be in for the long run.
Faucets and pipes can leak, toilets can run and concrete can crack. Whether your home is newly constructed, been around since the turn of the 21st century or longer, repairs are inevitable. Although some repairs can be extremely serious and costly, we’ve listed 5 of the most common from fairly minor to more concerning.
- Leaky faucets and pipes, running toilets
Even though your toilet flushes fine, it won’t stop running. Or, maybe one of your bathroom faucets drips day and night. While leaks are annoying, they can also be very costly. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the average household’s leaks waste more than 10,000 gallons of water each year; 10 percent of homes have leaks that waste 90 gallons or more per day. Worn-out toilet flappers, dripping faucets and leaking valves are among the most common types of residential leaks.
But, these are the easiest and least costly to repair. Leaky pipes are another story. Depending on the age of your house and whether your pipes run beneath the house or in the attic or crawl space, you could be staring a potential disaster in the eye. If you purchased an older home, the plumbing and pipes should be a main concern as the damage a burst pipe can cause is limitless – if above the ceiling.
Regularly check for wet, discolored spots on walls and ceilings. At the first sign of trouble, you may want to call someone with plumbing experience to give you an estimate to repipe the house. It isn’t cheap. The square footage of your home and your location will determine the cost – typically starting in the $6,000 to $7,000 range and up for larger homes.
- Peeling, cracked paint and siding
Keeping your house looking great is a high priority among homeowners. In good condition, exterior paint protects your home from wind, rain and insects. But, if the exterior paint is chalky, peeling or cracked, or caulk around windows and doors is failing, your home’s key structural components are at risk.
Small repairs, such as sanding and painting trim around windows and doors, can normally be handled by most homeowners. However, if you need a full exterior paint job, you’ll more than likely want to hire a professional. A good, licensed painting contractor could cost $2,600 to $7,500 to have a 2,400-square-foot house professionally painted, depending on your location and the amount of prep required. Of course, the amount can vary with the size of the house. Don’t forget – the longer you wait to repaint, the greater the likelihood that water and pests can damage your home.
- Jammed disposal
Here’s one that shouldn’t keep you up all night. According to the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors, the average household garbage disposal has a life expectancy of about 10 years if you treat it right – less if you use it a lot or don’t properly maintain it. Under normal conditions, if the disposal is jammed or clogged, you may be able to fix it yourself, following instructions in your owner’s manual.
On the other hand, if the unit grinds poorly of makes a loud noise, it may time to replace it. This should be done by a pro unless you’ve replaced a garbage disposal yourself before. Unlike with leaking pipes and deteriorating exterior paint, you can expect to pay in the neighborhood of $325 to $400 to have a mid-grade disposal professionally installed.
- Nail pops
What you’re looking for here is – are the walls of your brand-new home dotted with unattractive mounds? If the answer is yes – you’ve got nail pops. In most cases, drywall nail pops are common cosmetic defects that result when the lumber used to build the house dries and shrinks. This shrinkage often causes the heads of drywall nails to push the finishing compound loose, allowing the nail heads to “pop” out of the wall. Nail pops can often appear near the corner of a wall or on the ceiling.
This is not just a new house phenomenon as it can also occur in older homes as well over the years. Should your home still be under warranty, you should ask your builder to repair these blemishes, especially if the walls are textured.
However, if you need or want to tackle the job yourself and know what you’re doing, go for it. Simply use a punch to drive the nail deeper, then apply new finishing compound, sand and repaint.
- Concrete cracks
Concrete cracks can happen in any number of ways. Extreme weather, improper mixing, shrinkage during curing, pressure from vehicle loads and tree roots can all be responsible for the cracks that form in concrete driveways and slabs. Small or large – not only are these cracks ugly, but they can also allow water and insects to infiltrate and lead to potentially more significant damage over time.
Foundational cracks, sinking concrete or widespread cracking could indicate a serious problem requiring the services of a professional. Repairs could cost up to and in excess of $2,000 to fix.
Remember, no house is perfect, and no building material lasts forever. Repairs are to be expected and are a part of homeownership. Keep an eye on your home’s condition as small visible problems can easily become larger more expensive ones. By performing regular maintenance tasks, you can save yourself money and aggravation.
Have you ever bought a home that seemed to always need repairs? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section below.