Where The Sidewalk Ends And Trouble Begins...

Today, I continue my series on beating the inspection and getting your home to closing. If you missed the previous article, click here to read about outdoor lighting. I am working my way from the outside in. Let's look at your front sidewalk. It is where the buyer takes the first step towards reviewing and considering your home. 

Sidewalks are wonderful and useful and highly desired in a neighborhood. It sure makes for a pleasant visual when buyers visit an area in search of that ideal home. However, with the shifting soils in Texas, they often detract from a home's curb appeal if they go into a state of disrepair. 

A cracked sidewalk can also be the subject of a lawsuit. I asked my friend, Dean Hansen with Farmer's Insurance, if he could tell me about the cracked sidewalk issue from his perspective. This is his response:

A neighbor slips on my sidewalk and threatens to take me to court for damages. Does my homeowner policy protect me?

Yes. Homeowners insurance will pay for damages, if the accident is the result of your negligence. It will also pay for the legal costs of defending you against a claim. Also, the medical payments part of your Homeowners policy will cover medical expenses arising from an injury to a neighbor or guest. Your local agent can periodically review your policy limits with you when you are making coverage decisions and adjustments.

He even said that insurance companies may require the repair be made in order to provide insurance coverage. If you plan on selling your home, it is important to know this and take care of these sort of issues. It could cause a contract to fall out because the home can't be insured. 

Who Fixes What?

In many communities in North Texas, the city maintains the street sidewalk. Each community will have their own policy on maintenance of them. It can take a while to get resolved and the cost is set by the city. I live in Allen and recently went through this process. The city of Allen will pay up to half the cost and the owner pays the other half. They assess the walk and determine which sections of the walk are to be repaired. Check with your city to find out how you can get help.

The city did all the repairs - I just wrote a check for my portion. It was fun to watch. 

Word of Warning......

Be aware of this caveat when the city repairs your sidewalk: They are only responsible for the street sidewalks. They are not responsible for the sidewalk that leads to your home. They are not responsible for any damage that occurs to your sidewalk during the process of making the repairs to the street sidewalk. 

I learned this lesson! There was a sink hole beneath the center section of the sidewalk that connected to my personal walkway. When they removed that center section, my personal walkway sunk into the hole. The result was about a 6 inch drop off from the repaired sidewalk to my sidewalk. Eeeek!!

My beautiful sidewalk.......

The unexpected expense of having to repair my own sidewalk was not welcome. However, I love the result. I got a few quotes to get the sunken portion repaired but was told that the new section would never match the old section. I also got estimates on replacing the entire walk. There were some other cracks in the walk so a replacement was in order. I learned that for a little bit more, I could get the stamped concrete sidewalk so I bit the bullet. I got it replaced and got the stamped and stained walk. It looks awesome and is a bit more updated that the previous use of the aggregate walk. I love it. I hired Caraway Concrete to do the work. I think they did an awesome job. What do you think?