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At this time of year, it's a good idea to do a careful inspection of the exterior of your home. Winter can be tough on roofs and chimneys and can take its toll on windows, walls, foundations, gutters and decks. You may have to hire a specialist to help with repairs.

Here's a checklist:

Roof. Do you see any shingle-shift? Any cracked or missing shingles? What about nail-pops? All will need to be addressed.

Chimneys. If you have a masonry chimney, check the joints between bricks or stones. Have any fallen out? Is there vegetation growing out of them? Each signals water infiltration.

Exterior Walls. Whether you have wood siding, stucco or brick, look for trouble spots, especially under eaves and near gutter downspouts. If you have wood siding, check for openings, damaged areas or knots that have popped out, making way for carpenter ants, woodpeckers and other animals.

Foundations. Examine the foundation from top to bottom for masonry cracks. If your basement is leaking, this could also be due to a foundation issue.

Windows. Check that any caulking and weather stripping you have in place has remained intact. If you experienced condensation inside the glass on double- or triple-glazed windows during winter, there's a problem with the weather seal.