Life is busy, and it’s hard to stay on top of all the little changes that occur in your home. The problem? From sagging gutters to peeling paint, what starts as a minor issue could quickly snowball into a major one.

Homeowners spend an average of $1,640 annually on emergency repairs — many of which could have been prevented. In some cases, the costs can be even more significant. Repairs involving concrete can cost as much as $36,000, while issues relating to structural integrity can surpass $100,000. This means that, as a homeowner, you can’t afford to ignore warning signs.
Whether you’ve just bought your place or have owned it for decades, here’s a look at some stand-out signs that your house needs help.

  1. Sagging gutters: Are your downspouts and gutters pulling away from your home’s exterior? If so, take it as a red flag that the gutters aren’t working as they should, which could lead to further damage and even safety issues down the road.
  2. Damaged gutter seams: Any place where two gutter sections meet is vulnerable to damage that could cause leakage and other issues. If you notice that any of your gutter seams look off, repair them immediately.
  3. Problems with the roof: A roof with missing shingles, damaged flashing, or water stains must be inspected. Likewise, discolored ceilings or an attic with moisture are indicators that your roof needs help./li>
  4. Foundation changes: Known for being one of the biggest-ticket repairs on a home, the foundation should always get priority attention. Here’s what you want to watch out for: bulging floors, cracked walls, wall gaps, door gaps, and cracked bricks.
  5. Flickering or dimming lights: When your lights aren’t working correctly, it’s more than an inconvenience; it could be a sign that the circuits are overloaded or the wiring is messed up, increasing the risk of an electrical fire.
  6. Slow drains: Is your water pressure weak? Have you noticed slow-flushing toilets and slow-draining sinks in your home? Are there nasty smells coming from sinks or pipes? All these warning signs warrant a sewer checkup to determine if something more serious is at work.
  7. Peeling exterior paint: Peeling paint on the outside of your home signals more than an aesthetic issue. It’s also one of the first ways you may find out you have an insect infestation or significant water damage. If you notice peeling paint on your house, find out what’s causing it.
  8. Warm outlets and light switches: Electrical outlets and switches should not be warm to the touch. If they are, there’s a good chance something’s wrong with your wiring. To avoid a potential fire, check your electric systems immediately.
  9. Weak or lined wood: Stay on guard for holes, lines, or fissures in the wood at your home. All these are signs of termite damage, which can be severe and expensive. Another telltale sign that termites are active is the appearance of dust or dirt at the base of wood. This could be wood shavings caused by termites.

As with most items of value, houses need ongoing maintenance and care. Thankfully, when you stay alert to what’s happening on your property, you can catch problems early before they become emergencies. If it’s been a while since you gave your property a good inspection, take the time to observe what’s going on, especially in the nine areas listed here. By paying attention to your home, you can take better care of it and save time, trouble, and money. If you aren’t sure where to start, hire a reputable home and termite inspector who can give you a professional and knowledgeable assessment of your home’s health.