Many new homeowners and renters think that the hard work is over once the paperwork is signed and everything has been unpacked. But lifting heavy boxes and making a hefty down payment is really the easy part. The real work begins once you move in and resume normal life in your new home.
There are many issues that will need to be addressed after you move into your new home or apartment. The scary thing is that many people overlook these issues and it usually ends up costing them a lot of money and frustration down the road. Tackle these projects soon after you move in and you will be doing yourself a huge favor.
Here are the top 5 things every new homeowner or renter must know:
#1. Getting Your Roof Inspected is Critical
If the roof on your home is more than 12 years old, you should get it professionally inspected. Problems with the roof such as leaks, faulty beams and uneven surfaces are often not detected until it is too late. Getting your roof inspected regularly and catching problems early on will save you a lot of time and money in the future.
Having the roof inspected is particularly important if you live in an area of the country that gets a lot of snow and rain. If your roof already has old shingles or lots of wear and tear, one large snowfall can quickly turn a small problem into a fiasco.
#2. Where Your Breakers Are Located
It is critical that you know where your breakers are located in case of an emergency or electrical problem. The electrical shut-off of your home should be a switch near the main breaker panel or it could be outside near a service entrance. The water shut-off valve will be on a wall that is facing the street. Keep in mind that these areas should be easily accessible. This means clearing away any obstacles that may inhibit you from quickly getting to breakers.
You will also want to map out your home’s electrical system by determining which outlets service which circuits and then labeling the breakers. Don’t trust that the previous occupanst labeled them correctly.
#3. Warranties Are Optional
Every homeowner (or new renter) needs to decide for themselves if they should purchase warranties on household items like appliances. It is true that warranties can occasionally be just as expensive as simply replacing a broken appliance. However, some homeowners think that the price of a warranty is justified simply for the peace of mind that it gives them. Warranties are also good because they can save you the hassle of buying new appliances or searching for a reputable company to fix something if it breaks.
#4. Keep Your Home Inspection Report Handy
Don’t make the mistake of putting your home inspection report in the back of your closet and forgetting that it even exists. Your inspection report is like a road map to your home. It highlights the best (as well as the worst) parts of the property and tells you exactly what needs to be fixed. View it as a handy maintenance checklist.
Don’t wait for a year or two to start tacking the jobs on the list. As soon as money permits, get started. Start with the most vital jobs first (like fixing the roof) and leave other jobs (like replacing the windows) for when you have more money.
#5. You Absolutely Need Homeowners Insurance
While many new homeowners may view homeowners insurance as an expense that they simply cannot afford, the truth is that you cannot afford not to have it. Homeowners insurance will protect you in case of fire, natural disaster or burglary. You will want to shop around for the right insurance provider and get multiple quotes before deciding on a policy to ensure that you are getting a fair deal.
You will want to purchase a policy that has ‘replacement coverage’ to cover property damage. This will provide you with the money you need to replace valuables if you are the victim of a burglary or rebuild your home if there is a fire.
You need to purchase flood insurance as well. Even if you don’t live near a flood zone, flood insurance is still necessary. It is estimated that about 40% of flood claims are made by people who reside in non-flood areas. A heavy rainstorm or runoff from road construction can quickly turn your basement into a swampy mess and flood insurance will provide you with the money you need to clean up the mess and get back on your feet.