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Charlie Glahe WIN Broomfield

5 improvement projects to tackle sooner, rather than later

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Home inspection services are great at finding the big faults and flaws of a home you own or may be interested in, but if you don't listen to the advice of the inspector, there are some little problems that could very easily become big ones. Aside from resale value, a home should be a safe, comfortable place, and if water is leaking into the basement or poor wiring is causing sparks to fly from the outlets, it'll be hard for anybody to get a good night's rest in that house. Before putting a home on the market or even considering sending an offer, make sure the house you're interested in is free from some of these small issues with big consequences.

1. Improper water drainage
Everybody knows that a flooded basement is a homeowner's worst nightmare. With nowhere to go, the water may ruin precious items in storage or even create the perfect environment for an infestation of mold. But it's not always hurricanes and rain storms that flood basements. State Farm explains that the distance of downspouts from the foundation of a home is critical for proper drainage. Gutters that spill even a normal amount of rainwater right at the base of a house aren't doing very much to protect a homeowner's investment at all. Consider a minimum distance of 10 feet from where your foundation begins and your downspouts end.

2. A neglected furnace
While it only comes once a year, winter and the heating costs that go along with it can be the most costly parts of home maintenance. It's not enough to assume that once a furnace is set up, it's good to go for life. Furnaces require a little love and care just like any other appliance in your home. Check for dirty vents that could be blocking the air intakes and move any and all furniture a good distance away from the furnace itself.

3. A cheap front door
You might be thinking, "Why worry about that? If it opens and closes, it's good enough for me!" Unfortunately, your front door says a lot about the overall security of your home - as any home inspection business will say - and skimping on the cost of one could have dire consequences down the road. Consider upgrading to a steel or fiberglass entryway. And, as a bonus, see the cost offset by up to 73 percent from the increase in your home's resale value, according to Hanley Wood's 2001-2012 Cost vs. Value report.

4. Inadequate wiring
Most people want a home that looks like a pristine antique, but if it was built in the first half of the 20th century, odds are that the wiring inside the walls is from that time as well. A family of that period would be shocked to see how much electricity we use today and the electrical wiring of most old houses just aren't fit to supply the demand we place on them, HGTV explained. If your appliances aren't getting enough juice or you see smoke or fire coming from your wall outlets, that's a sure sign that some serious work needs to be done.

5. Harmful gases
Words like "radon" and "carbon monoxide" have become something of buzzwords in recent years, but their new notoriety is for a good reason. Radon is a radioactive gas that can enter your home from the soil and penetrate all the way to the top floors, BobVila.com noted. In addition, carbon monoxide can be as toxic as radon and has the added threat of being colorless, odorless and tasteless to humans. Both gases can be tested for with simple kits and alarms found at local hardware stores, but consider having a professional home inspection company perform a full sweep of the home in question just to be safe.