After my oldest son bought his first house, he told me that when he was growing up, he always thought I did chores around the house because I was bored. After he bought the house and became a homeowner, though, he realized it wasn’t because I was bored…it was because there was always something that needed done.
You only buy your first house once, and it’s a learning experience. The odds are, when your inspector went through, you were given a list of things that could use improvement. Here are a few other things I recommend doing after you start to get settled.
1. Find Your Water Main Valve
Learn where the main water valve shutoff is. When that first pipe bursts, you’ll be glad you know exactly where you have to run. And the electrical shutoff, too. That will be in the breaker box, which the former owners or the inspector should have pointed out to you.
2. Put Your Drain 6ft away from your house
Unless it’s running downhill already, you want the water that drains off of your gutters to drain out six feet away from your house. Pooled water and a foundation don’t get along.
3. Check the insulation in your attic
Get up in your attic and check the insulation. Spread it out if you need to, or add more. You’ll be amazed at the amount of money you’ll save with good insulation.
4. Replace your furnace filter
The last thing the folks that sold their house to you were thinking about is a tiny little project like that. Invest in some filters, and figure out which ones will work best for you. Don’t forget your water filters in the fridge to assure that you have clean air and water for your new home. Check out the 5231JA2002A water filter to see if it works with your fridge.
5. Wrap your exposed pipes in insulation
They’re probably in the basement, if you have one, or maybe the garage. Wherever they are, buy some foam insulation covers and wrap them up. Throw a thermal blanket over your hot water heater, too. The more insulated it is, the less heat it’ll lose (and the more money you’ll save).
6. Seal your windows
Old houses are drafty, and if they’ve got old windows, those will be drafty, too. In the winter, be prepared to seal them up with some removable caulk, or big sheets of see-through plastic. They’ll keep your house a little warmer.
7. Check for leaks
When you get your first big rain or snow thaw in your new house, check all over for leaks. Check every inch of the ceiling you can see and make frequent trips down to your basement. If you have a sump pump, make sure it’s working.
8. Fix it yourself
Don’t be afraid of fixing things in your house. You don’t even know the amount of money you’ll save by taking the time and learning the skills you need to fix things yourself. That said, make sure you do plenty of research before you try to do anything you haven’t done before. And take it slow.
9. Know when to call a professional
At the same time, don’t be afraid to call in a professional. I’m pretty hesitant to mess with electricity, myself—one shock was all I wanted—so I’ll pony up the money on an electrician if I need to.
10. Expect to spend money
Projects cost money. Don’t expect to try and remodel your bathroom on the cheap. And make sure you’ve got the money budgeted before you even start. Remember, your house doesn’t care how much you just spent remodeling the bathroom—the basement will still flood if it wants to. Have money put back for emergencies.
Image courtesy of Vichaya Kiatying-Angsulee / FreeDigitalPhotos.net