New Homeowner Checklist
Congratulations! Buying a home is exciting. Although as you unpack and your voice echoes off the empty walls, visions of the future can sometime cloud your judgment. Neighbourly understands how important a home is for you and your family, and we want to help you get to know your homes maintenance needs. The New Homeowner Checklist below will guide you as settle into your new home.
Deep Clean Your New Home
There is nothing worse than moving into someone else’s mess. Before you move your belongings inside, give the home a good deep cleaning if it needs it. This will be easier since the house is empty. While you’re working, you can also get a good idea of the home’s layout, where certain pieces of furniture can go, and where others may not even be able to fit.
Survey Your Landscaping
Look at the surrounding property and the landscape. Are there any trees that might fall on your home or power lines during a big storm? Are there signs of pests or diseases? Inspect the property and ensure water drains away from the foundation. If you have hardscapes, assess the joints or mortar for decay and future repairs. Wondering about that pine tree dropping needles or the dead spot in the lawn? If you’re coming up with more questions than answers, talk to your local Grounds Guys. They have the answers to all your landscaping questions and can tell you how to best care for your lawn and landscape in you’re new to the climate (if you moved to a new city or town).
Inspect and Get to Know Your Siding
Know how your home is sided and the maintenance that it will need. Is it wood, vinyl, composite or a combination of both? Homes need to be painted every 3-7 years. Look for signs of wood rot, water and pest damage. Even small problems can lead to bigger repairs if they are ignored. Need help? Talk to your local Five Star Painting. They can even put on a fresh coat of paint before you move in.
Inspect Your Roof
The roof over your head needs to be maintained. Don’t just look at it from the ground, crawl up there to have a look for yourself (just be careful). Look for missing shingles, potential leaks or damage from fallen tree limbs. While you’re up there, assess the condition of vents and chimneys. Ensure there is a tight seal around exhaust vents, the gutters are clean, and the chimney is in good condition. Better yet, hire a professional to do the inspection for you.
Check Your Keys & Shutoff Valves
First get the house re-keyed and have copies made to give to your family and trusted friends. This ensures you’re the only one with the current set of house keys or know who has copies. Next, you’ll want to locate all the shut-off valves for water and gas before a disaster happens. You’ll also want to locate the breaker panel for when you eventually need to diagnose any electrical problems. Ask yourself: Can I shut off the water in case of an emergency? Can I shut off the electricity in case of an emergency? And who will I call if I get locked out?
Inspect and Learn About Your HVAC System
Start fresh by finding and replacing all your air filters – they come in different sizes; so, make sure you buy the right ones! Does your furnace use propane, natural gas or electricity to heat your home? Inspect the condition of your furnace and make sure it functions property. And since you’re not likely an HVAC expert, contact your local Aire Serv for a move-in inspection.
Clean Your Air Ducts
According to Rainbow International build-up of dust and debris affects the efficiency of your furnace and degrades indoor air quality. We recommend removing the vent registers and using a flashing light to check for dust buildup. If you find dust, air duct cleaning is best left to experts with special equipment and techniques.
Learn About and Assess Your Windows
Your windows can have the largest affect on how your home maintains temperature. Some older homes suffer from lack of modern insulated glass. According to Glass Doctor, homeowners should know the R-value of their glass, a number used to determine its thermal efficiency. If you aren’t sure, call your local glass experts for an inspection and consultation. Replacing windows is an easy way to save money on your energy bill and improve the look of your home.
Inspect Your Plumbing
Know the condition of the plumbing system and know how it works. Try to answer these questions:
Does your home use a septic field, a holding tank, or is it connected to
- If you have a holding tank, when was the last time it was emptied?
- If you have a septic field, where is it located? How full is it? When was it last serviced?
- Do you have a well or does the water come from the city?
- Does your water pressure seem healthy?
If your new home has a holding tank or septic tank for sewage, find the local company who can empty it. Checking the water pressure from your kitchen sink or shower is sometimes a good indicator of your plumbing systems health. Determine whether you have hard or soft water by inspecting the faucets and showerheads. Are they caked with calcium and lime? If so, you may want to consider installing water filters or install a water softening system. Problems in your plumbing system can sometimes go undetected to an untrained eye. If you want a professional opinion, call your local Mr. Rooter for honest advice.
Assess Your Electrical System
The wires that run throughout your home need to be inspected for proper gauge and installation. Older homes use systems that can’t keep up with our modern needs and should be replaced. Ensure the outlets in your home can accept three-prong plugs and that outlets in damp or wet locations have GFCI outlets. According to Mr. Electric, new homeowners may have to replace outdated outlets to comply with modern building codes. Call your local electrician to request a job estimate.
Inspect Your Appliances
Ask yourself if you want to keep the appliances included with the sale or whether you should replace them. Sometimes custom cabinets can make appliance removal difficult, and sourcing a replacement that fits perfectly can be even harder. Perhaps now is a good time to upgrade to energy-efficient appliances? Mr. Appliance can help with appliance repair and replacement – giving you more time to pick out furniture or paint the bedroom.
Look Behind the Walls
Get down and dirty in the attic or basement. These areas aren’t the most pleasant to crawl through with a flashlight, but they give the best glimpse to a home’s bones. Inspect the foundation, the roof trusses and the condition of the insulation. Ask yourself these questions as you crawl around. Do you notice watermarks on the foundation, warped roof trusses, vermin damage or inadequate insulation? If cobwebs and musty crawl spaces give you the heebie-jeebies, call your local Mr. Handyman to talk about your new home.
Welcome to the Neighborhood!
A new home takes time to get to know intimately. Over the years, you’ll acquaint yourself with problems unique to your new home and your new climate. Taking time to get to know your home will help you keep it in great shape. Now is also a good time to consult a home maintenance checklist to develop good habits and know what it takes to maintain your new home. Often, life gets in the way of home maintenance, so instead of ignoring these problems, let the Neighbourly home service brands lend a helping hand. Locally-owned and operated, they have the equipment and the experience needed to help your house feel more like a home.