Just the other day I was speaking with a Realtor in Louisville, KY about how folks just don’t know much about houses (especially new first time home buyers) these days, and their ignorance could cost them lots of heartache and money over the coming years.

Now, I assume you got a home inspection before you bought your new house, and I hope you got a good one.  However, if you happen stumble across this post before that time comes, check out 5 Things you don’t know about hiring a home inspector for a little help with picking a good one.  Trust me when I tell you that we are not all the same.

My goal here is to tell you the things everyone should do when they buy a house and move in.  It won’t be an all inclusive list, as every home is different.  But this is not a list just for newbies; this stuff applies to every person who lives in a wood structure and doesn’t want it to fall apart (that would be you).  Some of these items will be things you need to address on Day 1, and others will be ongoing-forever-type-stuff.

Day 1

These are the things you do, or ensure have been done, the moment you take possession of your new home. Some are for your safety, and some are for the longevity of your new home.

  • Get a fire extinguisher

    A fire extinguisher is something everyone needs, but very few folks have.  I strongly recommend you get a small one like this and store it under your kitchen sink.

    Obviously you don’t want to play firefighter if something crazy happens and your house goes up in flames, but this guy just may help you save your kitchen from a grease fire one day.  Just get it, and know how to use it.

    kiddie-fire-extinguisher

  • Get a fire escape ladder

    This will only apply to you if you live in a two story home.  It’s a no-brainer to give yourself a fast route to get out of a burning house. Ladders like these: FIRE ESCAPE LADDER are a good option, as they break down and fit in a closet until needed. There are multiple options available, so do some research and find the one that fits you best.

    Fire Escape Ladder

    Fire Escape Ladder

  • Change The Locks

    Yes, it will usually cost a few bucks, but it’s not nearly as costly as getting all your stuff swiped.  Change the locks, or have a locksmith re-key them. You have no idea how many keys to your new house are floating around out there. It doesn’t matter if your home is a new construction or not. I promise you there are extra keys out there. It’s much better to be safe than sorry.

    And don’t buy cheap locks, as these most certainly fall under the “you get what you pay for” category.  Check out this guy’s Youtube channel.  It’s scary how quickly he can get through most locks. Here is a cool lock that you can add a PIN number to.  Great for small kids that lose keys: NEW DOOR LOCKS

  • Replace the toilet seat

    Some people take things to the next level and replace the whole toilet, and if you are dealing with old units that use a ton of water on each flush, that would be a good idea.  I’m partial to Kohlers Highline.  I’ve used them for years and they work great.  If a whole new unit is not in the plans, a new seat will help make it feel like you’re not using a public restroom.  Here is a soft close toilet seat.Kohler-Highline

     

  • Replace Your Sump Pump

    I know, I know, who would replace their sump pump before it quits?  Me, that’s who.  I replace my pump every 5 years.  Why? Because sump pumps are cheap, and the last thing I have time for is a panic attack when my sump pump quits during a storm, and the water starts rising.  A good sump pump is about a $140.00.  I like Zoeller pumps–made right in my backyard in Louisville, KY. This is the one I use:  The M53 Mighty-Mate.   Note* – I always rotate my pumps, and leave the old one on stand-by.  Anything with an electric motor can fail, and it’s nice to know I have a backup in case things get crazy some stormy night.  Fingers crossed it never happens.  If you can swing it, these water powered backup systems are really great as well.

    replace old sump pumps before they quit working.

    Leaving an old rusty sump pump in place until it quits on you is a big gamble. I highly recommend you go ahead and replace it once you move in to your new home.

  • Clean Your Dryer Vent

    According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, there are an estimated 15,500 fires, 10 deaths and 10 injuries every year due to clothes dryer fires.  Several hundred people a year are also subjected to carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning from improper dryer vents. The total damages come to nearly $100,000,000 yearly.  That’s one hundred million dollars a year. Sometimes, it’s a faulty dryer that’s the problem. But more often than not, it’s the vent.  Have you ever cleaned a dryer vent in your life?

    Also, unless your vent hose is semi-rigid metal or smooth wall vent pipe, have it changed out.  The foil connectors and those old plastic ones are a fire waiting to happen.  Here is a brush to help you get out all the old lint. 

    clogged dryer vent

  • Crack Open the Bubbly

    It’s not everyday you hit a life milestone.  Buying your home is a big deal.  You should take a moment and celebrate!

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Ben Hendricks

owner at ABI Home Services
Hi, I'm Ben, and I inspect houses.I grew up with a hammer in my hand, and have been a professional home inspector for 10 years.My blog is here for info about Home Inspections around the Louisville KY area, and just about anything construction related.
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