As a new homeowner, what should you do? Ever wonder what’s important after you move in?
Most likely your builder gave you a homeowner’s book or guide for your new house. Shortly after unpacking and settling into your new home, you should make a home maintenance checklist. There are many systems in a new home that will require checking and testing regularly. Some will need maintenance and repairs each year. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has a Home Maintenance Checklist that you can download from their website www.hud.gov. It provides guidelines for keeping your home dry, clean, well-ventilated, free from contaminants, pest-free, safe and well-maintained. This, plus your builder’s guide, should help you maintain your new home.
Next, protect your home from breakins. Make sure you re-key your new locks. If there is no glass in your front door, install a peep hole so you don’t have to open the door to see who is knocking. Secure sliding glass doors with a long stick in the track that will prevent the door from sliding open. Make sure all entrances to the home are well lit areas. As your new shrubs grow, prune them so noone can hide in them.
Make a wildfire checklist of items to pack in case of wildfire in Texas. Also, you will want to have a hurricane evacuation checklist, as Texas has a large coast. Keep an emergency first aid kit and survival kit in case of a disaster. Plan for services to be turned off (sewage, power, gas, electricity, water, telephones, and mobile devices.) The Federal Emergency Management Agency recommends stockpiling at least three days worth of food and water for your family. Their website www.ready.gov offers a list of items to include in a basic emergency preparedness kit, as well as guidelines on food and water storage and protecting yourself from airborne contaminants.
You should confirm that you have adequate insurance coverage, although if you went through a lender for a mortgage, they most likely confirmed your coverage. However, if you paid cash, you will be the only one reviewing your policy to make sure you have enough coverage.
Most new homes are very energy efficient. To save money on utilities you can still check your bulbs for necessary improvements. If you don’t have a programmable thermostat, you may want to consider changing yours out. Also, adding attic insulation and wrapping water pipes and water heaters can save on power bills. The U.S. Department of Energy has an online Home Energy Saver™ tool for homeowners at www.hes.lbl.gov that recommends energy-saving upgrades that are appropriate for the home, the climate and local energy prices.