Bankruptcy Can Save Your Home. So Take Care of it

Submitted by Jen Jones on Tue, 07/13/2010 - 3:25am

Bankruptcy Can Save Your Home. So Take Care of it

No one likes surprise expenses, especially when we're already struggling to get by.

Countless bankruptcies can be attributed to the use of credit to handle an emergency, especially when they involve our homes. Sure, emergencies involving the home are why we have home insurance but you still have to pay a deductible and more than likely, there are always extra costs you won't expect.

Plus, there is a ripple effect to having to take care of major home repairs. What if you have to stay home from work one day to meet contractors but your boss just doesn't want to hear about another one your personal issues impacting your monthly quotas? Think that doesn't cost you in the long run? Or, what if the roof damage led to rain and debris in your closet, making that outfit set aside for tomorrow's job interview look more like a dust rag than a job winner?

While there is very little you can do to combat the Wrath of God being inflicted on your home, you can engage in a number of fundamental tasks to prevent standard maintenance issues from becoming bankruptcy-worthy budget crushers.

Spending money on your home is a tough sell for those experiencing debt problems. There have been a number of studies released recently that suggest when it comes down to choosing what bills to pay when under financial duress, the majority of people opt to pay credit cards before their mortgage. However, since you can almost always save your home in a bankruptcy, it makes great sense to do all you can to preserve its value, especially in today's market.

For starters, get up on a ladder and clean those gutters.

Gutters? Really?

Clogged gutters lead to more roof and siding damage than fallen trees or other forms of direct weather damage. If water is forced to go elsewhere other than the downspouts, it will carve a path under the fascia and behind the siding. Water will find its way down and when it discovers a new path, it tends to follow it frequently. And in case you're not convinced of the damage water can do, Google "The Grand Canyon."

Poor drainage around your home can also lead to pest infestations, as termites and other critters like to be around things that are rotting, like the wood in your foundation, and also corpses. Provided you're not moonlighting as a coroner, then wet wood under your home should be your primary concern. Even if you have a crawlspace, put on some old clothes and as best you can, poke around under there to just check on things.

You don't need to be a home inspector to use a broom handle to knock on support beams to check their strength. Get a Maglight and scan under the house for anything that looks unusual. If you do suspect something, then it helps to spend a couple of hundred dollars on an expert's opinion. And even those with ongoing pest control installations are surprised to learn they have an infestation of some kind, so don't think a few cans of pesticide around the house make you immune to wood-destroying insects.

It's important to look for mushrooms, moss or other weed build-up along the sides and corners of your house. If water is collecting, the moisture augments the growth of such plants, possibly indicating poor drainage.

If you're not afraid of heights and can stay safe, poke around at the vents on your roof for damage, paying close attention to the runner "boots" and seals that surround their base. If cracked, they can become another source of water getting into places where it doesn't belong.

From the Law Offices of John T. Orcutt. Call today, +1-919-646-2654 for a free initial consultation.

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