real estate

5 ways your house can make you go broke

Wallet buster: You overlook small repairs
Wallet buster: You overlook small repairs © Lisa F. Young/Shutterstock.com

Skip out on a few bucks' worth of maintenance, and you might set yourself back thousands in the long run.

Inadequate upkeep is a common homeowner pitfall, but one of the most frequent mistakes people make is that they don't replace air conditioning filters regularly, says Claude McGavic, executive director of the National Association of Home Inspectors in Bradenton, Florida.

By failing to change out the filter, a homeowner could shorten the life span of the air conditioner. Replacing a unit typically runs thousands of dollars.

"It's a major, major expense, and it's all because of a $2 part," McGavic says.

Ignoring a persistent leak under the kitchen sink is another common problem. People sometimes use a bucket to catch drips instead of calling a plumber to repair the leak, McGavic says. If the bucket overflows, the water can warp cabinets and trigger mold and mildew growth.

Homeowners also need to be vigilant about warning signs in their homes, McGavic says. When wiring is older, flickering lights can signal an electrical problem that could eventually cause a fire. Or the sudden appearance of tiny specks that resemble granules of pepper around the house can indicate termites.

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