5 Practical Tips For New Homeowners

Hi there, Holly here:

As a first-time buyer and now homeowner for about 5 years, I enjoy helping first-time buyers transition from renting to buying & owning their first home. That transition comes with some changes and in most cases, more responsibility. That’s what we’re talking about today - 5 practical tips for new homeowners. It may even be a refresher for homeowners who’ve bought and sold before too. So let’s dive in!

Quick summary of what's ahead:

#1 - Create a maintenance schedule.
#2 - Pay attention to what goes down your plumbing drains.
#3 - Regularly service / clean mechanical & appliances.
#4 - Take one project at a time.
#5 - Enjoy the process!

#1 - Create a maintenance schedule and be observant.

You can save a lot of money if you maintain your mechanicals well and catch things early on. When you’re renting you may not pay as close of attention to regular maintainance, but when you own your home,  you should. Coming up with a maintenance schedule to stay consistent can help.

  • Regularly changing furnace filters. The frequency varies by the size of the filter. Some smaller filters should be changed every 2-3 months, the larger ones can be every 6 months or even up to a year. If you have a hard time remembering, set a reminder on your phone. Yes, furnace filters can filter dust and air pollutants out of your air, but more importantly, they keep dust out of your furnace's inner components, allowing them to function more efficiently and last longer.
  • Regularity having a licensed HVAC contractor perform a furnace or A/C tune-up each season. This is extremely valuable as it protects the components of your furnace or A/C system (having an efficient furance can save you money each month on your utility bills). I recommend finding a contractor you like and sticking with them. That way as the years go by, they are familiar with your home and system and can proactively make recommendations when parts may need replacement.
  • Do both an interior and exterior inspection and observe changes to your property. Some key areas to watch for are #1 water (both inside and out) during rain, snow melting in the spring, humidity / condensation on windows, #2 moisture / venting - pay attention to your kitchen exhaust, bathroom fans, basement humidity... etc. It's not uncommon for older homes to have a few issues (that's part of owning a home), but understanding that can help you manage it effectively instead of for example a water issue turning into a bigger problem over time.

#2 - Take care of your plumbing drain lines.

  • What goes down your drains matters... starting with your sinks - grease and food can clog up your drain lines quickly. Even if you have a garbage disposal, it's not a good idea to put all food down it (personally I do not recommend garbage disposals as they often lead to back ups). Also, harsh chemicals for cleaning your drain lines can actually speed up the corrosion process in your drain lines. It may be a short term fix, but may actually cause greater long-term damage.
  • Toilet drains - don’t flush anything other than toliet paper down your toilet. Any other materials like wipes, baby wipes, etc. even if they say "septic safe" they are not, they do not breakdown like they should. Especially in rural areas if your home has a private septic system, these flushable wipes are one of the leading causes for back ups.
  • Shower / tub drains - If you have long hair like me, or even men with shorter hair, always have a hair catch at the base of the drain and clean it out regularily... Especially in older homes, the plumbing codes were different 60, 70, 80 years ago, it's not conducive for hair flowing smoothly, it often gets caught and will create a back up at some point.
  • If you are unsure of the drinking water quality, reach out to a local plumber to ask about installing a point-of-use reverse osmosis system for drinking / cooking water. That can be more affordable than a whole-home water filtration system for your drinking water.

#3 - Annually clean your appliances.

  • Keep your kitchen appliances fresh & clean and functioning property, pull them out once a year and do a thorough clean (refrigerator, range (self clean too if that's an option), microwave, dishwasher). Also, it's a great opporunity to make sure there are no unnoticed leaks or issues behind or beneath your appliances.
  • That goes for your washer & dryer too to make sure the exhaust vents are clear of debris and functioning properly.

#4 - If you’re doing home projects & renovations, select one project at a time. 

  • Unless you're doing a massive remodel before moving-in, projects that are taken in stride are less overwhelming than if you take on too much and end up cutting corners to get it done quickly.
  • Take your time and do one thing at a time. Don't rush through to get something done quickly that you'll end up needing to redo in a few months or years. If you aren't sure how to complete something, find a contractor or handyman to help advise. It's better to get advice than to do something twice and pay double the cost.

#5 - Enjoy the journey.

  • It may be your first and forever home, or it may be your first home of 3 more down the line. Enjoy the time at your first place, and be thankful.
  • The fact that you own a home is a huge accomplishment, and not something everyone has the opportunity to do. It’s something to be proud of.
  • Instead of always looking for the next greatest, be content in the moment and enjoy it. 

That’s all I have today! If you have a topic or question you’d like to have answered. Drop us a line, we’d love to address and help you out!

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