6.27.2012

10 Things Every New Homeowner Should Do

Happy Wednesday everyone! Hope you are all enjoying your week so far. I'm in Columbus, OH right now enjoying some intense volleyball competition between 12-year-old gals, so I have a guest post from Country Girl for you. Enjoy! :)

Country Girl is a 27 year old with a deep connection to her rural roots. She works full time as an environmental planner, works on the family farm and blogs on occasion too. When she’s not cutting wood or going for crop tours, she muses about personal finance, being a new homeowner and living out beyond where the blacktop ends on her blog. You can get a hold of Country Girl at centsofacountrygirl@gmail.
com.

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10 Things Every New Homeowner Should Do

There are about a million lists out there in the world wide web that outline what a prospective home owner should keep in mind when buying a house. Usually these lists advise things like: save 5% of the price for closing costs, get property insurance, don’t overspend on furniture, and on and on. All pretty solid advice, but what about once the deal is done and you’re basking in the glow of new homeownership, then what?

I’m getting close to the first anniversary of my first home purchase (I’m going to celebrate by painting the deck – happy anniversary, house!), so I thought I’d offer some tips for new homeowners, based on my experience as a new homeowner. Here are 10 things you might want to consider doing once you get possession of your new abode:
  • Change the locks. This was one of the first things I did when I moved into my house. Remember in health class when a teacher told you that you’re sleeping with everyone else your partner have ever slept with – buying a house is bit like that. You have no idea who might have a key to your house. I know the guy I bought my house from has a couple of (crazy) exes, so changing the locks was a high priority after I moved in.
  • Change ALL the batteries in the smoke and carbon dioxide detectors. Trust me, nothing will make you jump out of better faster than a carbon dioxide detector beeping about low battery at 2 AM. Better yet, buy all new detectors.
  • Learn and label your fuse/panel box. Make sure you know how to change a fuse and have a few extras on hand for when you plug in the blender while using the microwave and blow the fuse. Labeling the fuses/breakers is important as a new homeowner too. Maybe you’ll get lucky and they will all be clearly labeled or maybe your panel box will be like mine: haphazardly labeled in what appears to be Sanskrit.
  • Take pictures of the flowerbeds or gardens (if it’s summer/fall). A picture reference will come in handy in the spring when your looking at a flower bed and trying to figure out what’s a weed and what’s supposed to be there.
  • If appliances came with your house, find and read the manuals. I gathered up all the manuals left behind for my appliances and found any missing ones on the internet (thanks google!), put them in a binder and flipped through them. When my water softener started acting up, I knew exactly where the manual was and was able to get the problem solved without much trouble. If your manuals don't have the answers, a website like www.partselect.com can help you figure out what's wrong, get you a deal on just the part you need, and show you how to fix it yourself.
  • Stock up on flashlights and put one in every room. Nothing is worse than trying to fumble your way around an unfamiliar house, in the dark, in search of a flashlight.
  • Map where your septic tank is (or, sewer/water lines). The septic tank at my house was pumped and inspector as part of the conditions of the sale. I measured and drew a diagram to show exactly where the septic tank is relative to the house. Chances are I won’t be pumping the system for another three-four years so it’s important to have a good record of where the system is so I don’t have to spend an afternoon trying to find the tank when it’s time for a pumping.
  • Locate the edges of your property. If you’re lucky, you might find survey stakes, but otherwise, you may have to put your own in based on a legal survey (which you hopefully got done as part of the sale). It’s important to do this before you start knocking down trees or put a shed up in the back corner of your lot.
  • If you got a washing machine with your house, clean the washing machine before putting any of your clothes in it. My first load of wash ended up with rust stains because I neglected to clean the washing machine. Turns out the machine had been sitting a while and had a bit of rusty water in the lines.
  • Stock up on mix and snacks so you can offer something to all the people who will stop in to see your new place and congratulate you.

Do you have any new homeowner tips to add? Anything you wish you’d done when you moved into your new place?

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