A home is often one of the most valuable assets a person has. Disaster-proofing your home is essential, even if you don’t live in an area with frequent natural disasters. There are many different types of disasters you might experience in your lifetime; taking the necessary steps to protect your home will give you the best possible chance of surviving these with as little damage as possible.
Secure Your Foundation
The foundation of your home is critical to its survival during a natural disaster. Knowing that your foundation is strong enough to withstand extreme natural forces will give you peace of mind. Many older homes and houses built more than two decades ago have foundations that will not be able to withstand an earthquake. You should secure your foundation by making sure it’s directly connected to the upper portion of the house. Connecting the two structures will do wonders for the strength of your foundation. If you are unsure about the strength of your home’s foundation, taking steps to get it professionally inspected is a wise choice.
Update Old Electrical Systems
Old electrical systems can cause numerous problems—even disastrous ones. One of the most dangerous problems associated with old electrical systems is that they are more likely to spark fires. The best way to know if your electrical systems require an update is to ask a professional electrician. You can even ask multiple electricians for advice and quotes as to how much a new system will cost. While updating your electrical systems might seem overwhelming and expensive, it will be worth it in order to ensure the safety of your home and family in a disaster.
Keep Your Trees Trimmed
There are more benefits than just aesthetic ones when it comes to trimming your trees. Keeping your trees trimmed will prevent branches from falling onto electrical wires or causing structural damage to your home in the case of a disaster and high winds. Taking the time to keep your trees trimmed will save you from often catastrophic consequences.
Secure Your Roofing
A damaged or compromised roof can cause all kinds of problems, especially during a disaster. Make sure to fix your roof if it’s leaking or in disrepair. There are several signs that can alert you to a possible leak in your roof. These include water stains on the ceiling, drips or moisture on the walls, water spots on your exterior walls under the roof line, moss or mold on an exterior wall, and missing shingles or debris in your downspouts. If you notice any of these symptoms, you should get your roof checked for a leak. Even if the leak seems small and insignificant, it can still be dangerous. Additionally, the material of your roof can affect your home’s disaster readiness. A metal roof is safer because it isn’t flammable like asphalt.
Water is one of the leading causes of disasters throughout the world. Whether it’s as dramatic as a hurricane or as common as a flood in your basement, you should invest in waterproofing for your home. Water damage can be hard to recognize because it often builds up over a period of months or years before it causes a major disaster. You should make sure to waterproof your foundation, roof, exterior walls, windows, and doors. Make sure these are free from structural damage and that any cracks are sealed from the elements. You should also make sure to keep your gutters and drains free from obstructions so that they don’t break or overflow.
For basements, exterior waterproofing is the best solution, although it’s expensive. This process will involve excavating the outside of your house down to the foundation, and then installing a waterproof coating or membrane topped by drainage panels.This helps to stop water from entering your basement.
Repair Damage Quickly
One of the best ways to protect your home from disaster is to repair any existing damage as quickly as possible. If you ignore or procrastinate these problems, the damage can increase over time and easily turn into a disaster all on its own. Common causes of structural damage to houses include water, improper drainage, roof damage, clogged or broken rain gutters, broken windows, and broken doors.
Complete a Home Hazard Checklist
In almost every home, there are certain health and safety hazards that the owners don’t even realize exist. Completing a home hazard checklist can help you identify common safety hazards within your own home. Common items on a home hazard checklist include anchoring pictures and mirrors, bolting bookcases and shelves to the walls, storing breakables in cabinets with a secure latch, securing hanging lights and plants with anchors, and removing furniture and debris from the outdoors. You should also make sure your smoke and C02 detectors have new batteries, know how to shut off your utilities, use a fire extinguisher, and check gas or electrical lines for leaks. After completing a home hazard checklist, make sure to follow up on items needing repairs or updates.
Invest in Insulation
Making sure your home has good insulation will help protect it from a disaster. In freezing temperatures, homes without good isolation can be infiltrated by cold air and wind. If your pipes are left without sufficient insulation the water can freeze, expand, and rip open the pipe, which will obviously cause a major leak. Adding enough weather stripping and pipe insulation can help prevent this problem. Pipe insulation is effective, affordable, and easy to install.
Prepare Emergency Equipment
It’s important to recognize that even if you have gone out of your way to disaster-proof your home, severe emergencies and disasters can still cause significant damage. In cases such as these, it’s wise to have emergency kits prepared ahead of time. Consider preparing basic emergency kits for each member of your family. A basic emergency kit usually includes items such as a three-day supply of water and food, a battery-powered or hand crank radio, flashlight, first aid kit, extra batteries, whistle, duct tape and plastic sheeting, toilet paper, wrench, can opener, maps, and back up cell phone with chargers.
You never know when a disaster might occur, so it’s always good to be prepared just in case.These are just a few ideas to help you get started in disaster-proofing your home. If you need extra help in your preparations, calling a professional contractor is always a good idea.
Read this next: Flood Recovery Tips to Get You Back on Your Feet
When starting a home renovation project, it is critical that you formulate and keep to a budget—after all, while everyone wishes they could draw from an unlimited supply of money, that is obviously unreasonable. Rather, depending on what room you are renovating, you should prioritize the changes you hope to make.
Of all the home renovation projects, remodeling your kitchen is by far one of the best home updates if you want to add value to your home. However, you still can’t renovate everything, especially since kitchen renovations tend to be pricey; you still have to prioritize or at least DIY where you can manage.
The first change you should consider is overall aesthetic appeal. Is everything matching? How is the flooring? If you don’t have $15,000 to do a full kitchen update, focus first on the elements of your kitchen that you can see. According to House Beautiful, this may include a fresh coat of paint on the walls and cabinets, granite countertops, and an updated floor. If you have more to spend, you will want to update your major appliances such as your fridge, sink, or stove.
Just like the kitchen, there is always plenty to do in the bathroom; however, there is not always enough budget to spare for a full bathroom renovation with a new shower, floor, vanity, toilet, and other bathroom fixtures. So, as previously stated, you must prioritize.
The two elements that can really make or break the aesthetics of a bathroom are its color scheme and lighting. You can make a bland bathroom into something luxurious with a pop of color and even a little DIY. So, if you are on a tight budget, the first thing you should do is repaint the walls, update the lighting, and add in more glass or tile fixtures to enhance the effects of your lighting and color. If you choose to update your glass, go for tempered glass. According to Community Glass & Mirror, tempered glass is safer because it breaks into small pieces instead of jagged shards.
Nothing makes or breaks the value of a home more than its curb appeal. That’s why, according to Dumpsters.com, the final most important renovation project is your landscape. If you can spare a couple hundred to get a professional landscaper on the scene, all the better. However, if you plan to do it yourself, make sure you research ahead of time the types of plants that work best in your area and how to keep them. If you feel uncomfortable doing your own lawn, at least practice good maintenance with what you have, and try to add in a couple potted plants or cobblestone walkway.
Now is the perfect time to start a home renovation project. However, when there is so much to improve, it can be difficult deciding what areas of the home you should focus on. In the end, make sure that you stick to your budget and prioritize the things that will add the most value to your home.
Read this next: How to Fund Your Next Home Renovation Project
A recession has many effects on the housing market, taxes, financing options, and more. If you’re hoping to buy a home in the middle of a recession, there are pros and cons to going forward with house hunting.
The Effect of a Recession
Recessions have large effects on the housing market. On the positive side, real estate prices are lower during a recession. Property taxes can decline. Many homeowners are more willing to lower their asking price, and banks are selling more foreclosed properties. Mortgage rates also tend to be lower.
However, you’ll need to shop around. Avoid homes that require extensive repairs—if a home was foreclosed, it may have gone several months without inhabitants or upkeep. Recessions can also negatively affect home values. Be wary of short sales and issues which can accompany foreclosures.
If you are able to make your payments, you shouldn’t worry too much. However, securing financing will be extra tough during a recession. Taking out a loan can be extra complicated, and the fact is interest rates can change significantly day by day based on the type of loan. Banks will be less likely to lend money, especially to those working in at-risk industries. Obtaining a mortgage can be difficult if the lender is unsure if you will still have a job the next day.
Look for a long-term financing option. A principal paydown will give your lender security and make the transaction easier. A loan term of 5 to 10 years at a low interest rate could be the way to go, even though it will most likely require a principal reduction of 10 to 20%.
A recession could be a good time to buy a house if you have 1.) stable employment, and 2.) lots of savings. You will have to be motivated to do your research and pay for inspections on your new home. In addition, you’ll need to be prepared for heavy losses if you find your chosen home is ultimately not the right fit for you. A recession entails an abundance of uncertainty, so having a nest egg is an essential.
If this describes you, then a recession might be the perfect time for you to purchase a new home. If you do not find yourself equipped with financial security, however, you may want to postpone your property search until more secure times.
A recession can be a scary, uncertain time. However, if you will be able to make your payments and finance the purchase, buying a home during a recession can be an excellent choice due to lower rates and extra foreclosures on the market.
Read this next: Mortgage insurance: Added cost to homebuying or smart way to get in?
Interested in Publishing on The Home Idea?
Send your query to the Publisher today!