5 Tips For New Home Owners
No. 5 - Planning For Large Renovations?
Homeowners often envision the changes they are going to implement into their new home. These are normally cosmetic changes, like finishing a basement, knocking down walls, or building out rooms, renovations, etc. Your ideas and tastes in regards to the project, may change numerous times as you progress through the early home-ownership phase. Therefore, we recommend new owners take there time and get used to the home; at least a year or two before completing a major destructive / constructive project. We don't want to waste $$$$!
No. 4 - Home Energy Audit.
Home energy audits identify weaknesses in connection with the homes energy efficiency. The audit provides remedies on remediating these weaknesses and increasing the home's energy efficiency. The costs of this service varies from free to up to $1,000. Often times, utility companies will offer free home energy audits. Energy audits offered at a very low cost by private companies may be motive for sales, so be careful. Also, some audits are more detailed than others and may include diagnostic testing in the home, to more accurately pin-point flaws in the system. In general, a home owner should be able to get a great energy audit for under $500. It's a few hours of time for the auditor, so it's not a large undertaking.
No. 3 - Get The Locks Changes.
We recommend hiring a locksmith to change all of the locks in the home, and getting new keys made up. This should all be done before moving into the home. Don't wait! Who knows whom previous occupants; possibly occupants before occupants, gave key-copies to. Friends and even friends-of-friends could possess access to your new home - babysitters, service professionals, and even the new neighbors whom you barely know.
No. 2 - Just Replace The Damn Air Filters!
Just about every home we inspect has a air filter needing replacement. Replacing the filters regularly extends life of HVAC system and keeps energy costs down. A dirty filter impedes air volume needed for the motor to run efficiently. The motor has to work harder deceasing it's life and increasing the energy bill. The quality of air in the home will be better with a clean filter. Your health will be better with a clean filter. The air filters should be changed once a month or every other month, and a filter is normally well under $50.
Changing the air filters is an easy do-it-yourself task. Click here for this fun video showing this done.
No. 1 - Emergency Fund.
Homes are sneaky things with sneaky problems. These problems could come up when least expected (usually do), and lead to huge price tags. For example, the home could have organic growth (mold) behind the walls. This growth may have started years ago and slowly (or quickly) ate away at the wooden structure and wall system. Your home inspector identified the problem during a home inspection, which is great. However, if this growth would have not been identified and went unchecked, the costs to the new owner could be in the tens of thousands in connection with remediating the mold and damaged components. Areas prone to freeze-thaw, cold winters, and hot-humid summers (like Minnesota), are more prone to unexpected and costly issues with the home.
If you think you may already have a mold issue, this is pretty good article discussing mold growth in the home, testing, remediation, costs, and insurance information.