Whenever the features list in a home or on the MLS states "No Maintenance!" remember this:
No maintenance is a misnomer!
It's easy to say that! Very little is not NO maintenance. A more appropriate phrase would be "Low Maintenance."
Take this house for instance.
It is a brick home and in recent years they wrapped all the wood work on the house with aluminum sheets and covers.
It is a beautiful job.
It was very impressive, and I say this sincerely.
But it has to be investigated, probably annually, for any movement, or cracks, or gaps, or separation.
Remember, what is under the aluminum is wood.
Wood will expand and contract with heat and cold.
Aluminum does not want to move so much.
This job is a multiplicity of seams, miters and intersections. So many spots are ripe for separation.
If there is any separation at all, water will get inside and stay there.
Look at the lower left corner.
There is a slight gap.
A closer look, at the cropped photo on the right, reveals movement and separation.
Fortunately this is near the ground and easy to see.
A lot of this work is high up and it is crucially important that it be examined annually by a critical eye.
Lifting that lower corner reveals what a little gapping can do.
This is an easy fix because it is only 3' off the ground.
But higher up this is a bigger deal.
And to say the house is "No Maintenance" is pie in the sky and inappropriate marketing.
That phrase is truly a misnomer!
While it might look good on the MLS or on a features list inside the home, it is not the best thing to say!
And it will cause a home inspector's antenna to raise!
Hint: a home inspector will look for two things - drum roll ...
1. The cracks or gaps mentioned above, and
2. The wrong caulking used! Like clear silicone! There are different caulking products made for different applications!
USE THE RIGHT CAULKING!
My recommendation: features lists need to be evaluated carefully. And what the MLS says is only as good as the interview with the seller or the author of the information. It may or may not be accurate! And No Maintenance will almost always mean Low Maintenance. So look around with a sharp eye!
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC
Based in Bristow, serving all of Northern Virginia.
Office (703) 330-6388 Cell (703) 585-7560