Congratulations on making it through the long and stressful process of homebuying! If you are getting ready to settle into your very first home, you may feel overwhelmed as you navigate this last step. Some things need to be done immediately—like turning on utilities—but others you can start as you get settled in and through the next few months. Take a look at 8 things we think every new homeowner should do in their first year.
INVEST IN A HOME WARRANTY
A home warranty can be a lifesaver if a major appliance, or the HVAC system goes out in the first year of owning your home. Not every company or policy is created equal, so make sure you do plenty of research before deciding who to go with. We recommend asking your friends and family, or even your real estate agent, for recommendations.
START AN EMERGENCY FUND
Even if you do have a home warranty, it is still a good idea to start an emergency fund in the event something breaks that is not covered or even for a potentially bad financial month where your emergency savings could help you make all your payments on time until things improve.
TEST FIRE AND CARBON MONOXIDE ALARMS
This is something that should be done sooner than later. Just because you see smoke and carbon monoxide alarms installed, doesn’t mean that they are working. Replace all the batteries and set a reminder for six months out on your phone or in your planner to change them again. Be sure to test each alarm after replacing the batteries to make sure they are working as they should.
MAKE A PRIORITY LIST
If you had a home inspection, you may have a report full of small to medium things that need to be fixed. Go through the report and prioritize the things that are safety issues and most important to you and your family. You don’t have to do everything all at once, so take some time to research the issues, determine costs, and make a long-term plan.
START A FILE WITH RECEIPTS AND INVOICES
As you start to make improvements and repairs around the home, keep a file with receipts and invoices. If you were to try to sell the home, many improvements can be shared on the home listing to draw in buyers. Things like septic tank maintenance can be very important to a potential buyer.
HAVE A HVAC CHECKUP
HVAC maintenance is important to making sure your system doesn’t break down on you, especially during extreme temperatures. Have a professional come out and do an assessment and “tune up” to make sure it is in good working order. Don’t forget to replace the filter.
KNOW WHERE ALL YOUR SHUTOFF VALVES ARE
If you have a home inspection report, the inspector may have listed where the gas and water shut off valves are located. It is important to familiarize yourself with these so you can act quickly in the event of a burst pipe or a gas leak. You should let the other members of your household know where they are as well.
LEARN (AND LABEL) THE BREAKERS
You probably have seen the circuit breaker by now, but have you opened it up and check to see if it is clearly labeled? If the previous owners didn’t already label each one, it’s now your very important task to complete. You can essentially map your home by turning off all the circuit breakers and turning them back on one at a time to determine which lights, outlets, and major appliances are on each one. This information will come in handy one day.
Do you have any other tips to share with a new homeowner? Stop by our Facebook page and share with our Zippy Shell community. If you are getting ready to move into your new home, be sure to give us a call and we will provide you with a free, no-obligation quote. We look forward to hearing from you!