Real estate column: Congrats on your new home; now what?
So there you have it, you just bought your new home. Congratulations! Now that you’ve settled in, placed your furniture, unpacked the boxes of items you actually use and tossed the ones you don’t up in the rafters or in the crawl space, now what? Besides the obvious — you know, having your friends over for a housewarming bbq and sending pictures to your family — there is so much more to think about.
Let’s face it, summer is over and reality is kicking in; it’s time to make sure the house is ready for you to live in long term, the following are a few tips to help get you started.
Locks and codes: Go change the door locks and garage code. This is a simple thing to do that may keep you from having an unwanted visitor. Are you sure that the former owner told everyone who had a key or a code that they have moved? This is an inexpensive and simple thing to do.
Water: Time to do your own inspection of that plumbing. Water is the worst enemy for a home and it can create major issues. Take some time and go down into the crawl space to inspect your water lines. Check for any little leaks or condensation on the pipes. Check your timer on the recirculating pump to make sure it is operating properly. If it is not and is running constantly, it can cause pinhole leaks in copper piping over time. Go through each of the sinks and look for evidence of a leaking sink or drain and tighten the plumbing, or better yet, pull out the P-traps and clean them thoroughly. Lastly, make sure you know where the main shut-off valve is in the house. You just never know when you’ll need to turn it off.
Electrical: Make sure you take some time to know where the electrical panel is and what breakers control what. If it’s not marked, take some time with a partner and identify each breaker by labeling it. Check around the house for any exposed wires that may cause a fire hazard.
Efficiency: One of the best ways to save money is to make sure that your house is as efficient as possible with the little things. Take a look at your water heater. What is the temperature set at, is it at 140 degrees or 125 degrees, which is a nice comfortable temperature? Think about putting a water heater blanket over it to retain the heat. Check your windows and doors for drafts and replace the seals as necessary. Take another trip to the crawl space and see if all of the insulation around the foundation is installed properly and covering the floor joists next to the vents. If your house doesn’t have one, install a programmable thermostat. If it does, make sure it is operating according to your lifestyle, not the previous owner’s.
Making a list, checking it twice: Make a list for the seasons. Think about what to do make your home ready for winter, like blowing out the sprinklers, putting away the patio furniture, making sure the snow melt works, switching out summer and winter tools. Spring, summer and fall are the same: Tune up the mower, remulch, trim the hedges, clean the gutters, touch up paint and stain, etc. There are tons of easy things to do to keep the home up that will help retain its value as well as keeping it looking and operating at its best.
Who knew? Who knew you moved? I still am getting Christmas cards at my last house from more than nine years ago. Take some time and send out emails, texts, cards, whatever you want, letting people know you have moved and give them your new address. It’s not just for your family and friends — what about the motor vehicle department, your bank, your doctors, accountant, etc?
Buying a home is always exciting. It opens up a new chapter in your life and lets you put your own personality into something. Take a little time to protect it so you can continue enjoying it for years to come.
Sean de Moraes’ real estate column appears on the first Friday of each month. He is an agent with Roaring Fork Sotheby’s.
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