WE BOUGHT OUR FIRST HOME… NOW WHAT?
Home Improvement Expert Danny Lipford Offers Tips Every First-Time Homeowner Should Know
You've signed the paperwork and the keys are in your hands. Congratulations! You're a homeowner. More and more Americans are taking the plunge into homeownership, as existing home sales increased to 4.26 million in 2011 from 4.19 million in 2010, according to the National Association of Realtors1.
Before closing escrow, you likely had a professional inspection to ensure the foundation of the home is secure. It's one of the most important investments you can make as a new homeowner, and you should ensure a reputable company inspects the entire home, including the roof, attic, electrical system and plumbing. The inspector's report will list any problems so you can determine the costs associated with making the repairs. Often times, you can negotiate with the seller to pay for the inspection and sometime the repairs.
Now what? Home improvement expert and host of the nationally syndicated show Today's Homeowner, Danny Lipford, shares these important tips for first-time homeowners:
• Check the Detectors: Ensure the smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are properly installed and working before you spend your first night in your new home. Both detectors should be installed on every floor of the house and replaced about every ten years. If you've purchased an older home, take the safe road and replace the detectors with new equipment—both average around $20 each, which is a small investment to ensure your family's safety.
• Change Air Filters:Change your air filter immediately upon moving in and then about every three months or as needed. Choosing a filter can be confusing because some people think high efficiency filters block airflow. Filtrete Brand from 3M makes an entire line of them that are all specifically designed to maintain airflow and reduce stress on the system. So whether you need one that reduces odors, captures more airborne allergens and microscopic particles, or are just looking to help maintain the system, make sure it is clean. Dirty filters slow down airflow and make the system work harder to keep you warm or cool — and it wastes energy.
• Maintain Air Conditioner Drainage: Avoid stained ceilings and damaged floors by maintaining the air conditioner line and preventing clogs. Simply pour a cup of bleach into the drain line access every few months to kill mold and algae, which can otherwise cause water to back up and overflow in your home. If the drain line is already clogged, attach a wet/dry vacuum to the pipe outside and turn it on for a couple of seconds to remove the clog and keep the condensation flowing out as it should.
• Install a Water FilterDrainage: You may not like the taste of the tap water at your new home, or maybe is has a smell. Your tap water may contain contaminants such as VOCs, lead, microbial cysts and even pharmaceuticals. You should check your local water quality report and consider installing a water filtration system, such as the Filtrete High Performance Drinking Water System. It comes with a dedicated faucet to help reduce these contaminants as well as improve the overall taste and odor of your water.
• Inspect the Crawlspace: Avoid costly damage down the road by ensuring that your crawlspace is clean, dry, ventilated and accessible. Inspect the crawlspace for mold or termite damage every six months, as well as check for sewage line leaks. If you purchase your new home during the cooler months of the year, wrap any exposed piping to insulate and protect them from freezing. Also, if your crawlspace has a dirt floor, lay a heavy plastic cover down to prevent moisture and mold.
• Clean the roof gutters: The task of maintaining the home's gutters is often overlooked by homeowners. Clean them out upon move in and then at least twice a year. When they fill when leaves and debris, they become heavy and can detach and cause major damage to the home. They can also overflow and cause leaks in the home's interior, causing costly damage.
1National Association of Realtors:http://www.realtor.org/news-releases/2012/01/december-existing-home-sales-show-uptrend