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How to avoid home-maintenance horrors

Don Geu, kwELITE realtor, makes himself a cup of coffee in the kwELITE lobby. All guests are invited to enjoy a hot beverage when they stop by.

With years of experience in real estate and property management, kwELITE Realtor Don Geu has seen a lot – from the good to the bad and even the ugly.

There’s one story that still sticks out to him – a time a property owner hired someone unfamiliar to work on windows and ended up getting burned.

“(The guy) pulled five windows out before lunch on Friday … had a few too many at lunch, got arrested for DUI and thrown in jail. It rained heavily all weekend; it was a flip project, so the owner was not aware the windows were out,” Geu recalled. “By the time the owner found out, the floor, ceiling, drywall all needed to be replaced.

“Moral of the story: Hire someone you know and trust. Check on the progress daily.”

Working with a licensed kw realtor such as Geu can help clients avoid those types of pitfalls and find trustworthy, credible businesses to work with on things. Geu and kwELITE have a list of personally recommended vendors to help clients with the home-buying process, from home inspections and repairs to mortgage and title needs, among other things.

Geu has an easy recommendation for people looking at buying a home.

“A whole house inspection is always a good idea, but keep in mind the inspector is going to point out every possible flaw he can find to make sure that he notes everything. Most of these will be common everyday issues. depending on the age of the house it would be more uncommon for everything to be in perfect shape,” Geu said.  

“The items to be most-concerned with are the safety and or big-ticket items. Water stains on the ceiling point to a possible roof leak, was the roof fixed? Is it just cosmetic or is there mold that needs to be addressed? Go over the report with your agent and make informed decisions.”

There are two particulars Geu said to pay close attention to before closing on a property.

“Heating and air systems are big-ticket items to make sure they are working before you move in. Unless you are lucky enough to have a family or friend in the HVAC business, these are not the surprise issues that you want to come up,” he stressed. “That’s not to say don’t buy the house if the units are older because most of the older units will run for many years yet and newer units can go out tomorrow, but make sure you are budgeting for these when you put in your offer.”

Whether buying or selling a home, it’s important to know when you need to spend money on improvements. Geu said cosmetic repairs often cost minimal and it’s worth trying it out yourself. Structural, electrical, gas, plumbing and HVAC issues – he recommends those not familiar with those kinds of problems leaving them to the pros.

Whether or not you’re ready to buy or sell a home doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be keeping up with routine maintenance on your current property investment. Furnace filters are among the cheapest and easiest things to replace, but often overlooked.

“It’s not a matter of it MIGHT cause problems, it WILL,” assured Geu, noting his recommendation to use a mid-range filter as opposed to the pricier ones that ironically tend to clog a lot quicker. “Most newer HVAC units have sensors on them that detect air flow. When the filter is clogged bad enough to slow or stop the flow of air over the heat exchanger it will shut the unit down … Summer months without a good flow of air over the AC coil, the unit will “freeze” up and, again, a call to the repair person.”

Home maintenance is important – and will help pay dividends when you’re wanting to put yours on the market. Change the furnace filter often, clean the gutters, take care of those miniscule tasks that can hurt your wallet later if avoided.

“Take care of the little things that you can as they come up and try not to put them off until they get bigger,” Geu said.

Overwhelmed by where to start with the home-buying and selling process? Stop by kwELITE, 4471 41st Ave. Suite 202, and visit with Geu over a cup of coffee (also known as realtor fuel). Otherwise, call our office at 402-563-4663 to speak with him or any of our realtors.

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