3 Seasonal Issues that Could Make or Break Your Competitive Edge

Many buyers try to get an edge on the competition by paying cash for properties and waiving home inspections, which is a very attractive proposition to any seller! However, if you fail to spot these seasonal maintenance issues and you waive your inspection, you could end up with a money-pit property on your hands. Of course, you can also leverage your knowledge of these seasonal spirit-breakers to get great deals on properties from sellers who have simply had enough of the season and are ready to get out.

1 Gutter Gloom

2 Shoo-Fly Frustration

3 Debris Distasters

As the temperature rises, insects come out from all the places they have been hiding. For most homeowners, springtime sunshine means a call to their local pest control provider. For investors, however, a certain type of housefly could be “the pest that broke the price in half” – if you know how to spot them.

We all know to be concerned if we see a house with a huge tree that has fallen right through the middle, but usually storm damage and associated debris disasters are more difficult to spot. Springtime is one of the worst times for debris- related damage as mud, leaves, and other natural materials wash off the roof and into the gutters under heavy rains and springtime thaws. Landscaping that involves bushes or trees close to the house often hide moisture problems associated with clogs or overwhelming run-off, creating a situation that breeds pests and can cause serious damage to basements and crawl spaces.

If you are looking at properties in areas of the country that experienced heavy ice, snow, and cold this past winter, you are probably going to be seeing some homes with nasty gutter problems. This is particularly the case in areas that have had unusually harsh winters and may not be accustomed to the maintenance issues and repairs that accompany long, wet, cold winters. When ice and snow sit on a roof for weeks or months, they not only imperil your shingles, the weight also can drag down gutters and even pull them loose from the house. When this happens, the owner may have no idea because the entire process is happening under a sheet of ice. When the metal pulls away from the roof, it often leaves a path for moisture to enter the interior of the home and creates a long, slow-leak situation that can cause tremendous property damage before it is detected. Lesson Learned: April showers don’t just bring flowers. They can highlight months’ worth of hidden moisture damage as well.

The “cluster fly” looks a great deal like a house fly but, unlike houseflies, cluster flies swarm. Perhaps most distressing to homeowners and residents, they like to do so in attics and around windows and are most prone to this behavior when the weather first warms up, the house goes on the market, and the flies, which have been lying dormant in the walls or under the eaves, wake up. Not only is this problematic for landlords, who may have difficulty getting rid of them, but it also can ruin a showing! Pest control experts say the best way to get rid of cluster flies is to seal up the cracks and openings that granted them access in the first place. Investors will tell you that a horrible showing and subsequent difficulty eradicating the perceived insect invasion often puts sellers in the mood to accept offers they would not have initially considered. Lesson Learned: Patience is a virtue, especially when it comes to outlasting insects that appear menacing but will not actually harm a home.

If you are hoping to snag a great deal on a property this spring, be aware that not all new moisture issues will be evident. A new leak may not have caused rot yet. Foundation problems may not yet have created cracks or tell-tale jammed doors or inexplicable drafts in windows. Drains and pumps installed to remove moisture may be slowly clogging but not yet creating visible issues. These issues will eventually manifest, and if you are not prepared to deal with them, they can be true budget-breakers. Lesson Learned: A debris disaster spotted early is a penny saved and a profit earned.

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