What are the most-common house repair issues in Texas?
Home ownership has many benefits. It is an important source of building wealth, especially for investment / rental property owners. It gives you control over the place where you spend most of your free time. And, for many, it instills a sense of pride and belonging.
It can also be a huge hassle, especially with older homes.
It’s always a good idea to be prepared, and make sure you can afford repairs.
Cost: $4,000 – $30,000
You don’t have to live in Texas long before you experience your first severe thunderstorm.
The wind and hail wrought by severe weather are significant threats to every home’s roof. Eventually, every Texas house needs its roof replaced.
While roof replacement is sometimes covered by homeowner’s insurance if severe damage occurs in a single weather event, long-term wear and tear is not.
The durability and longevity of a roof depends heavily on the materials used to build it. Low-cost asphalt shingle roofs can last about 20 years and are most susceptible to storm damage; conversely, metal and slate roofs can last a lifetime, but are much more expensive to install and maintain.
While leaks are an urgent sign that roof repair is needed, an inspection is the best way to know for sure. Consider asking a roofer to take a look if you notice missing shingles, dips or sags, or curling and cracked shingles.
It’s difficult to estimate the out-of-pocket costs of roof repair offhand. They will depend entirely on the size and age of your home, and the roofing materials used. That said, an entire-roof replacement can run at least five figures.
2. Heating and Air Conditioning (HVAC)
Cost: $4,000 – $9,000
Home air conditioning and heating are essential to life in Texas. So much so, some cities require landlords to provide working air conditioning in summer months. For example, the City of Dallas mandates working A/C between April and November.
And as we learned in the record-shattering cold snap of February 2021, Texas winters can get bone-chillingly cold, too, making home heat essential.
That said, nothing can cause a Texan’s heart to sink quite like the realization that the air conditioner isn’t working on a hot summer day. While the repair is sometimes a relatively straightforward issue, the complexity of HVAC systems often means a very expensive solution. In Dallas, homeowners pay an average of $6,300 for HVAC repairs.
A great way to reduce these costs is to schedule annual maintenance for your air conditioner and furnace. Do your homework to find a trustworthy HVAC service provider, and ask about special rates for returning customers. A reliable provider should be able to offer you a maintenance plan for less than $300 per year.
3. Foundation Repair
Cost: $4,000 – $15,000
If a broken A/C is a Texas homeowner’s greatest fear, foundation problems might come in at a very close second.
Much of Texas land consists of “expansive” clay soils. In simple terms, the ground soil where we build our homes, roads, and businesses consists of dirt and clay that swells when it gets wet, and contracts when it dries out.
Texas has highly seasonal weather, with wet springs, hot summers, and dry winters. This means the soil around building foundations is constantly bulging and shrinking. All that movement is bad news for foundations, walls, windows, doors, and other structural elements.
It’s a fact: if you own a house or other building in most areas of Texas, you WILL eventually need foundation repair. It is never covered by insurance. Foundation problems are considered maintenance-related, and not caused by sudden events, like earthquakes (which, while extremely rare in Texas, are not covered by insurance, either.)
One way to reduce the impact of soil expansion and contraction on your foundation is to keep it wet, using a “soaker hose” surrounding the entire outside of the house.
Cost: $100 – $3,000
Similar to foundations, Texas driveways are susceptible to cracking as the soil shifts beneath them. Repair costs can also vary widely, from just a few hundred dollars to fill and patch small cracks and holes, to thousands of dollars for a complete replacement.
Like many home improvements, a new driveway can (but won’t necessarily) increase the value of your home when you put it up for sale. Regardless, it definitely will boost the curb appeal, pun intended!
5. Water Heater
Cost: $900 – $1,800
A water heater is essential in a modern home. There is a wide variety of options, including solar and hybrid. For our purposes, we’ll stick to the variety found in most Texas homes: the traditional tank water heater, powered by either natural gas or electricity.
Unlike many home appliances, tank water heaters are not known for a long working life. Most will fail within a dozen years or so, often lasting fewer than ten. This is because they are the workhorse of your plumbing. Water heaters are used daily and with multiple components that simply wear out over time. Because they are difficult to repair, it’s almost always more cost-effective to simply replace the entire unit when it fails.
If you live in the same house for a decade, chances are very high you’ll need to replace the water heater. Expect to spend around $1,300 on average in Texas.
Occasionally, a water heater failure can be catastrophic. A leak or rupture sending dozens of gallons of water spilling throughout your home. That can lead to…
6. Water Damage / Moisture / Drainage
Cost: $2,500 – $5,000
Your house is full of hidden pipes carrying pressurized water right now. Indoor plumbing is a huge convenience and necessity of modern life, but with it comes the risk of severe damage to your walls, floors, and furniture.
Pipes can leak or break due to age, a shifting foundation, or – as we saw in the February 2021 winter storm event – freezing. When this happens, it’s really bad news for homeowners.
More sinister, though, are the slow-moving and hidden problems caused by moisture behind your house’s walls, floors, and ceilings. Water can become trapped in the house’s structure through leaks, cracks, and poor drainage. Once inside, it quietly but continuously can wreak havoc, rotting away wood materials.
Upon discovery, the damage can be very expensive to repair. Moisture and drainage are the #1 issue inspectors will look for during a home’s pre-sale inspection. A red flag can scuttle your sale.
While water damage caused by a sudden, one-time event – like a burst pipe – is often covered by property insurance, moisture damage is not. You’ll be paying out of pocket to replace rotting lumber or drywall.
Cost: $50 – $100 / hour
If your house was built before 1990, it’s probably approaching the time when it will need major work done on its electrical system.
Older homes were designed for simpler times, when consumers used much less electricity. The demands of a modern set of appliances and electronics can overwhelm an aging electrical system.
If your house is old enough, it might not even have grounded (three-hole) outlets. It can be unsafe to use appliances with three-prong plugs in non-grounded outlets with an adapter. They may draw more power than the circuit can bear.
We can’t easily estimate what electrical repairs will cost. They range widely, from a simple light switch fix to tearing out and replacing every wire and circuit breaker. Hiring a licensed electrician can cost up to $100 per hour (and you should ALWAYS hire a licensed electrician to work on your power system).
Cost: $45 – $200 / hour
From clogged toilets to leaky faucets, plumbers stay busy in Texas 24/7. If you can’t fix it yourself with a plunger or wrench, it’s time to call a pro.
Besides those common, everyday problems, bigger issues can surface with older homes that have aging pipes. Homes built before 1960 that haven’t had plumbing replaced are going to need it sooner or later. Old iron pipes will rust and disintegrate over time.
We talked to an unlucky homeowner in Carrollton. His frequent toilet backup problems led a plumber to discover the entire pipe leading from the house to the city sewer needed replacement. The cost exceeded $10,000!
Cost: $330 – $3,000 for removal; $??? for repairs
Texas has the highest concentration of termites in the U.S., according to at least one pest control company. East Texas, the Gulf Coast, and the Rio Grande Valley region are especially susceptible because of their warmer, wetter climates.
If caught early enough, termites can be removed by a specialist with bait and chemical applications. The worst infestations require the entire house to be covered with a tent and fumigated. This will force you and your family to relocate for about a week.
That’s to say nothing of the embarrassment you must feel when your neighbors see your house covered in a giant striped tent, and realize your home may be ground zero for a termite outbreak!
Once the termites are gone, you’ll need to hire a contractor to take a look at any wood damaged by the bugs. They will see what needs to be repaired or replaced – another big expense.
Like most of the issues on this list, termite damage and control is not covered by most homeowner’s insurance policies.
Cost: $2-$4 / square foot (interior); $2,000 – $5,000 (exterior)
Painting the inside walls and ceilings of a house is an easy way to freshen things up before selling. The cost is relatively low compared to most other home improvement projects, and almost anyone can do it. (Expect to pay a fair bit more if you hire a professional, though.)
The exterior is a different story. It depends entirely on the size of the house itself and the type of walls it has. Many Texas homes use brick construction, so outside painting will be limited to eves of the roof and trim around doors and windows. Others that use wood siding may require a sprayer.
Because most exterior painting needs to be done at least in part while standing on a ladder, it’s a good idea to hire a pro.
Something else to keep in mind: for houses built before 1978, it is very likely that it has lead-based paint on the interior walls. Such paint is no longer used, because it is toxic and considered unsafe for children and pets. Even if it’s painted over several times, an old layer of lead-based paint will eventually need to be removed.
When you sell your house, federal law requires you to disclose the presence of lead-based paint to any buyer. If you don’t, you can face steep fines and possible legal action from the buyer. (If you don’t know whether your home has lead paint, don’t worry – the buyer’s inspector will find out for you.)
We spoke with a homeowner in Richland Hills. He was ready to sell his house when an inspector for the buyer found lead-based paint. This forced the seller to renegotiate. He reduced the final sale price by $15,000 to cover the expense of removing the paint for the buyer. Yikes!
Can’t Afford the Repairs? Don’t Have Time? We Can Help!
If you’re staring at mounting repair costs on your home and don’t have the time or money to deal with it, Local Cash Buyers has a solution!
We buy houses as-is, in any condition, regardless of repairs. We can buy your house, even if it has water damage, moisture problems, termites, lead-based paint, foundation issues, or a ruined roof!
There are no inspections, no appraisals, no fees, and no commissions. Because we pay cash, there’s no lender involved, so no risk of financing falling through. We can close in as little as 7 days and offer flexible move-out dates and moving assistance.
Fill out this contact form right now, or call us any time at 469-250-0018 to get your free, no-obligation consultation. We’re excited to help you sell your Texas house, fast!