The First-Time Homeowner’s Guide To New Responsibilities
So you’ve just signed the mortgage on your new home. Congratulations! You’ve just signed up for a massive amount of responsibility.
Yes, your new home may be a joy to live in, but it also comes with a boatload of new chores and potential problems. But never fear! If you develop a system now, you’ll find that you can manage your home’s needs properly. Here’s what you need to know.
First things First: Protect your Space
No matter how perfectly you manage your home’s maintenance needs, disaster is always possible. A fire or a home invasion can trash your space and rob you of valuable possessions and invaluable memories. While nothing can make an experience like this easy, a good insurance policy can go a long way towards making it less traumatic. Invest in a good homeowner’s insurance policy, and make sure that it covers all the disasters relevant to your space (for instance, most policies don’t cover floods by default, so anyone in a flood-prone area will want to go out of their way to get this coverage).
A good homeowner’s insurance policy will cover a huge variety of potential problems, from burst pipes to stolen jewelry – in fact, your jewelry and other possessions may be covered even while outside of your home!
Routine Maintenance to Schedule
Your can rest easy when you have homeowner’s insurance, but it doesn’t release you from the obligation to care for your home! Make a list of care that your home will regularly need, and set up a schedule for getting it. You may want to tweak this schedule based on the age of your home – good places to turn for guidance are the current owners (or your home’s builders), trusted contractors, and internet forums. But this list should get you started:
- Monthly tasks: Check your HVAC filters.
- Four times a year: Check your water softener. Check your smoke alarms (you should change their batteries once in awhile – every one or two times you check them).
- Twice a year: Check your water heater.
- Every year: Check your drainage (make sure outside water flows away from your home, not into your space). Inspect your roof. Flush your hot water heater. Winterize your AC (before winter, of course). Test your sump pump. Get your chimney cleaned. Check your caulking and grout. Check for plumbing leaks.
Repairs can’t wait
If you spot a problem during one of your routine checks or maintenance tasks (or, for that matter, at any time), act fast! Little issues can become big problems if left alone, so make sure that you invest in small repairs so that you don’t have to break the bank for big ones later on. If you’re on top of your home’s needs, you’ll eventually find professionals you trust, and can rely on them for more maintenance advice.
Of course, even with proper maintenance, disaster is possible. But if you care for your plumbing system regularly, a huge water disaster is less likely – and if you have homeowner’s insurance, you won’t have to pay out of pocket for the water damage repair specialists and mold remediation experts. So follow these tips, and enjoy your new home with a little less stress!