It can be very exciting to buy a new home. But a new home also brings many new responsibilities. Becoming a new homeowner will put a lot on your plate from additional financial responsibilities to ongoing maintenance. While you may hope to live in your home for years to come, when you move into your new home, there are a few things you should do right. Consider completing these simple tasks during homeownership's first few days.
Test Safety Alarms
Your fire alarms and detectors of carbon monoxide are essential safety devices that need to be operational. Make sure every alarm works properly before you move into your home. Simply press the "test" button to test these alarms. The alarm works if it beeps. Try replacing the batteries and testing again if you don't hear a beep. Fire departments recommend testing this devices once a month.
Starting with a clean slate is the best way to ensure your home stays clean while you're living in it. Before you move your furniture and other belongings inside, take the time to give the whole house a deep cleaning. It's also a great idea to call an exterminator to spray the home for pests before you move in.
As you clean your home deeply, make sure you also clean the appliances. Besides cleaning your oven and refrigerator, do not forget to pull the refrigerator off the wall to clean the coils on the back of the appliance as well. Then clean the dryer vent, lint screen, and dryer duct to the laundry room. Finally, replace the filter from the furnace and clean the outdoor HVAC unit outside.
Change All The Locks
It's a good idea to change all the locks on the house to make sure your family is safe in your new home. While previous homeowners may have given up their keys, you have no idea how many duplicates are in the hands of strangers from the keys of your home. It's a simple DIY project you can tackle in a few hours to install new locks on each door.
Look at the Attic & Crawlspace
It's important to get to know every inch of your home as a homeowner. This means entering the crawl space and attic to ensure that there are no leaks, bugs or molds in those spaces.
Find the Main Shutoff Valve
Start by finding your main water and gas shut-off valves, enabling you to shut down water or gas to the entire home in an emergency situation. This valve is located right after your meter near your home on most homes. Then check for isolated shut-off valves for those areas under each sink.
Find & Inspect the Electrical Panel
The electrical panel in your home will allow you to cut power to the entire house as well as various sections easily. This will be handy when you do home repairs or an emergency that requires you to shut down the power of your home. The main circuit breaker panel of the home is typically a gray metal box in the garage, basement, or closet of a utility room. Open the door to enter the panel. You will find the main breaker at the top of the panel. Rows of other breakers that control individual circuits are below the main breaker. The breakers often have labels telling you which section of the home they are controlling. If there are no labels, add each breaker to your own by shutting off to determine which part of the house they turn off and then make sure to label it for your own and future homeowners’ sanity!
Inspect the Condition of Your Water Heater
It is essential to inspect the water heater to ensure that it is in proper functioning order. Make sure that the heating element heats the unit and that the pipes entering and leaving the appliance are secure. Finally, take the time to drain the unit to avoid buildup of sediments, which may cause problems later.
Check & Test Your Sump Pump
If you have a basement in your home, it is important to check your sump pump. To ensure that your sump pump works well, pour a bucket of water into the hole and wait until the pump turns on. Older sump pumps can rust and seize, so make sure that your sump pump works before a major rainstorm can prevent future flooding.
Keep an Emergency Fund
Homeownership means that you must be prepared for anything. If your hot water heater leaks or your refrigerator stops working, you need to repair or replace those appliances. And that's not going to be cheap. For instances like this, having an emergency fund will enable you to have money set aside to take care of the issue immediately. Buying a home is a big investment, so it's a good idea to take small steps to increase your emergency fund. Simply open a separate savings account to create an emergency fund that will only be used in case of emergency, then add as much money as you can to that account with a goal of keeping $2,000 to $3,000 in the fund.