The Ultimate New Homeowner Checklist
Congratulations! You finally have your very own home! Now what?
If you’re serious about going from a new homeowner to a good homeowner, keep reading. We’re here to help turn your house into a home. While it’s tempting to put of doing some of these tasks until later, the sooner they’re done, the better. It’s easier to do things now vs. having some face-palming regrets down the line.
Security and Safety
Ensuring your valuables and family are kept safe in your new home should be one of your first priorities. Here’s a few things to do to make that easier:
- Change the locks. Chances are likely the previous owner (or someone they know) could have a spare. Even if the realtor changed the locks, it’s always a good idea to do it, again. Just in case.
- Hide an extra key in an outdoor lockbox. Thieves are savvy to the usual hiding places that people stash spare keys in so avoid the temptation to slide a key under the doormat or flower pot near the house.
- Reset the key codes for any garage doors, gates, etc.
- Test the fire and carbon monoxide detectors in your home. If there aren’t any, install some!
- Inspect the water temperature on the water heater, especially if you have children. Manufacturers tend to set them high so you want to avoid the danger of scalding water.
- If there are motion lights or other security lights, check to make sure they work and change the bulbs
- Make sure you have a fire extinguisher near your kitchen and on each floor of the house
Start your master maintenance plan NOW. This plan should include things like:
- Cleaning out your dryer hose and vent on annual basis (1 yr from your move-in date). Clogged dryer hoses and vents are a leading cause of house fires, something that a new homeowner needs to take into consideration.
- Change your HVAC filter(s) at least once/season (ideally, they should be inspected every month if the HVAC unit is being used regularly). Doing this will ensure you save on heating and cooling costs, and also prolong the lifespan of your system.
- Schedule HVAC maintenance for spring and fall with a trusted HVAC company like A-Abel
- Clean your fridge coils, annually. (Not all fridges have these but be sure to check!)
- Drain your water heart once a year
- Clean your gutters at least 2/year. It’s recommended to try for late spring and just before fall.
- If you’ve noticed any damaged or missing items (cracked panels, missing screws, etc), replace and repair them before they turn into more expensive repairs.
Prepare for Emergencies
As a new homeowner, you’re now responsible for any major emergency that happens to or within your house. Make sure you have a solid idea for what to do in various types of emergencies so that you’re prepared and ready if anything were to happen in the future.
- Know where main water shut-off valve is. Busted pipes aren’t uncommon and water damage can be incredibly pricey to repair – it may even decrease the value of your home.
- Locate the circuit box and label (or relabel) all circuit breakers. Don’t trust that the previous homeowner had everything labelled correctly. If you need assistance or have any questions, call a professional electrician for help.
- If you have gas, find the gas shut-off valve, too.
- If you have a sump pump, test it to ensure it’s working properly for when you need it.
- Have a list of emergency contacts handy and in an easy to find location – somewhere that other members of your household can find it. It should have the names and numbers of people like:
- A reliable Plumber
- A trusted Electrician
- Your insurance agent
- The Water utility company
- Your Electric/gas company
- Have an emergency supply kit built and ready to go. Include items like:
- Flashlights and batteries (1 for each member of your household)
- Non-perishable food and bottled water
- Blankets and warm clothing
Home & Mortgage Documents
If there’s ever a dispute between your mortgage lender or neighbor over property lines, you’ll want to be able to reference this paperwork. Keep copies in an easy to find and access location (like a filing cabinet or on your computer). The originals should be in a fireproof safe or safety deposit box. You’ll also want to keep information about:
- Lender contact information
- Property survey
- Inspection report
- Final closing documents
- Insurance documents