Leaky basement? Adapting to this rainy year.

Wow what a winter we’ve had. 

If you haven’t had water in your basement or crawl space before, this may have been the year that you did. In fact, if you have a crawl space instead of a basement and you haven’t looked in it lately, it would be a good idea to check it during or after the next heavy rain and see if it is dry. 

I’ve gathered some resources for you for moisture issues and I may post more of them in upcoming newsletters, but feel free to email me if you need the whole list sooner rather than later. I am not an expert in these areas; most of what I have learned is gleaned from listening to hundreds of home inspections over the years. I like to learn something new at every home inspection. 

First the basics. Keep your gutters clean and your downspouts unclogged. Go outside in a heavy rain and look at how they are flowing. Are the gutters overflowing? All the water should be flowing down the downspouts without backing up or spilling over. This can mean cleaning your gutters and downspouts more than once or twice a year. If your downspouts are disconnected from the storm sewer, the water should be directed away from house, first touching the ground at least 4 to 6 feet away from the house or going into a “drywell” in the ground or other storm management system.

www.theconservationfoundation.org rain garden design

Some people use rain gardens or beautifully arranged pebbles to guide the water away from the house. 

If your downspouts are still connected to the storm sewer, and you suspect they are backing up or broken, you might try checking out Grumpy’s Drains. One of their specialties is clearing rain drains, the drains that go from your downspouts to the street or storm sewer. 

Another drainage company my clients have gotten help from in the past is Ability Plus Drainage (Greg Brimhall). They, like many drainage contractors, get very busy at times like these and can be challenging to reach and schedule with.  But keep trying. This company is very knowledgeable and can sometimes design creative solutions that are more affordable than a complete waterproofing job, including french drains and other methods.

If keeping stormwater away from your house doesn’t do the job, many contractors will recommend a sump pump. These have a variety of features, and sometimes more than one is needed, so do the research before having one put in. Other steps may include sealing the foundation from the exterior, which usually involves digging down to get access to the foundation. 

Keeping water out of your basement or crawl space is an important step in preventing mold in your home and resolved basement moisture problem is a plus for resale. Check with me for a list of contractors for this or other projects. I’d be happy to help. 

Spring Forward, Now?

The year may just be coming to a close, but it’s never too early to look ahead if you’re planning on selling your home. Here are a few small tips to help get the most value out of your property. These are all tiny fixes that could end up being a huge selling point, and are not too difficult to implement on your own.

Check out the list, and get in touch with me! I can help you get your house in the best shape possible before hitting the market.

1. Repaint the Exterior and Interior of your home
Making a great first impression is key to snagging any deal, and that saying goes for your home’s exterior paint as well! If the color stands out from the rest of the neighborhood, paint it a neutral shade. Follow the same rule for the interior; subdued color will allow them to picture their own style in the home.

2. Replace Front Door

One of the most reliable updates you can do (and see the most value recouped), is a door update. A fresh new coat of paint, or an entirely new door will raise the curb appeal. Switching out old and flimsy doors will be a welcome, albeit subtle, difference that buyers will appreciate.

3. Repair/Replace Door Bell
While you’re at it, don’t forget the doorbell! Having one with a friendly crisp chime will signal to buyers that your house has been well taken care of.

4. Replace Window & Door Screens
Torn screens do not add to a positive experience for buyers or sellers alike. While completely replacing everything might be overkill, screen repair patches can do wonders for those tears.

5. Landscape
Landscaping is also on the list of items that may affect a buyer’s first impression. Trim the shrubs, clear out pathways and driveways of weeds, and you’ll surely make a buyer feel welcome.

6. Deodorize
A fresh smelling home should also be a priority. You may be used to the smells of your home, so grab a friend’s opinion. If there are overpowering smells, start cleaning.

7. Fix Drips
Dripping faucets can be a tell-tale sign for the buyer that there might be more concerning issues, so grab your wrench and start tightening those pipes.

8. Clean and Replace Light Fixtures
Get a head start on making your home feel cozy and welcoming by switching out harsh light bulbs. Don’t forget to dust and clean your light fixtures too!

9. Fix squeaky Hinges
Grab some lubricant, such as white lithium grease, to get those squeaky hinges in tip-top, non-squeaky, shape.

10. Update Kitchen
A full update may be out of the budget, but fresh paint, new handles, and fixtures could add immense value to your home.

Inside Appeal: Cost vs. Value

As we transition into fall, and the weather gets chilly, we will be spending more and more time inside our homes. So this month, we’re focusing ourselves indoors to discuss home improvements you can do inside to get the best return on your investment. It’s always important for homeowners to make sure they’re putting their money in the right place. So the first question that comes to mind for many is, will this renovation pay off?




magazine has tracked the cost of a variety of common home improvement projects, and calculated how much of that cost was recovered when the home sold. The numbers are in for 2015: Move over kitchen and bathroom remodels, because the attic bedroom is stepping up to the plate. Raking in a whopping 103% cost recouped, with a job cost of $55,318, attic bedroom remodels are number one on the list for midrange indoor projects in the Portland Metro Area this year.


Attic bedroom remodels can be a smart investment; they increase living space without increasing the home’s footprint, and the basic structure–roof, floor and wall–already exists. Functionality of the home is increased, which can be very desirable to potential buyers. Though attics may have quirks, like sloped walls, and zoning laws/building codes should always be adhered to, an attic bedroom remodel is still nearly half the cost of an addition.

If you have any questions about whether or not remodeling is right for your situation, please think of me as a resource. I would love to chat with you!

Cost vs. Value 2015: The Runners Up (Midrange Portland Metro Area)

  • Window Replacement (wood): 97.3% Cost Recouped – $11,606 Job Cost
  • Minor Kitchen Remodel: 94.4% Cost Recouped – $19,672 Job Cost
  • Window Replacement (vinyl): 87.3% Cost Recouped – $10,582 Job Cost
  • Basement Remodel: 78.9% Cost Recouped – $67,807 Job Cost

Curious what home improvement projects bring in the worst return on investment? Below is a list of the lowest cost recouped on a project:

Cost vs. Value 2015: The Main Offenders (Midrange Portland Metro Area)

  • Home Office Remodel: 47.3% Cost Recouped – $29,899 Job Cost
  • Sunroom Addition: 48.5% Cost Recouped – $77,590 Job Cost


Source: Remodeling