I have two goals for this post. First is to remind sellers to take care of the little fixes before listing their home. Maybe you are a procrastinator like “yours truly.” You know there are some small fixes that you have been putting off. That dripping faucet could be one, or maybe the shut-off valve for the toilet is frozen. Maybe there is a dual pane window that has lost its seal. How about the sprinkler that is broken or the high bulbs that are burnt out? What about those screens that the kitten shredded? My favorite is the broken water pressure regulator that gives you high water pressure inside the home. Guess what 120 pounds of pressure could do to your plumbing?
All of these items and more will show up upon inspection anyway and will need to be fixed. Plus, deferred maintenance makes the buyer worry that there may be more unseen
items that are lurking behind the facade.
My second reason for this blog is to remind you of a repair or modification that absolutely will arise on your inspection report, but is so important you should do it now whether or not you plan to sell. The modification I am thinking of is the damper clamp on the fireplace flue. This little $3 item could save your life. It is a retrofit that is now code in many cities. The flue is often kept closed when you are not using the fireplace, and of course opened when it is in use. With gas log fireplaces being so common and so easy to use, there is a danger that someone will turn on the fireplace without checking the damper. If it is closed then all the combustion gases will spill out into the living space and that could be deadly. The little C-clamp clips onto the damper, thereby insuring that at least a small sliver of space will always be there to let the gasses out. It is also possible to develop a leak in a connection when the fireplace is not on. This item comes up on nearly every home inspection that I attend for my buyers. You can install a damper clip in about one minute and you can purchase one at Ace Hardware for $2.99.
“I would never do that!”, you say? Don’t bet on it. You could light the fireplace and go out to the car, or into another room, and not realize what is happening. Or you could light it and kick back in your favorite chair for a quick siesta.
Everyone should also be aware that since July of 2012 it has been law in CA that homes must have a carbon monoxide detector in addition to the smoke detectors. That too could save your life so be sure to install one ASAP.