So you’ve done it. You just bought your house… wait, what?
“What the HELL did I just get myself into?!?” might be going through your mind at this point. The reality that you just signed a contract putting you in great deal of debt can make one second guess their decisions. However, one can also believe they are drowning in 2 feet of water when looking at things from a certain perspective. Don’t be like Carlitos to the right and let fear second guess your position. Stand up. You’re not gonna drown, Carlos!
In the industry, we call this Buyer’s Regret. Its normal. It passes. Anytime you make a big purchase you tend to second guess yourself AFTER you fork over the cash. When this happens, remind yourself why you spent all that time analyzing your needs and why you decided to purchase a home in the first place: because it made sense! Purchasing a home is not a spontaneous ‘lets go to try on houses and see what happens’ kind of purchase. It is well though out, planned, and executed.
Now that we’re back on track, congratulations on your new home! Lets go over a few things that will make your homeowner experience as pleasant as possible. There are some things you should keep in mind about homes. Like your car, buildings and houses require maintenance to keep them working properly. You wont be changing the oil on your house, but you will need to have some items inspected on an annual basis:
Mechanical Components (Water heaters, Furnaces, AC units)
Structure (Walls, roof, foundation, pest control)
Many home owners neglect these simple maintenance procedures which later turn into expensive repair bills. Remember, YOU are the landlord now; if it breaks, YOU get to pay for it! “But I have Home Owners Insurance”. Well, you have auto insurance too, right? If your engine blows up due to lack of maintenance, the bill lands on you! Same is true with Home Owners Insurance. Make it a habit to check these components annually. A good time to have them inspected them is on the anniversary of your purchase.
How to Inspect Components
Inspecting the components in your home is not a terribly technical task. Usually you can find detailed instructions on the component itself. If that doesn’t suffice, there’s always the manufacturer’s website. I don’t claim to be an expert by any means, but you don’t need to be an expert to perform the maintenance for most components. As an example, lets go over the maintenance for a water heater.
The type of water heater you have will determine the kind of maintenance it requires. Most houses have your standard tank water heater, so I will assume you have one of those. These water heaters are tall, round cylinders, about 4-6ft, and can be located in the garage, kitchen, or exterior of the house. Maintenance on these units simply draining them completely. The reason water heaters need to be drained is because impurities in your plumbing system will accumulate at the bottom of your water heater tank, reducing its efficiency and potentially causing it to rust and fail prematurely. Check the tank itself for instructions on the procedure for your particular unit. But the basic process goes as follows:
Step 1 – Determine of your water heater is gas or electric and turn off the unit. The water heater to the right is a gas unit.
You can tell by the yellow gas line that goes to the burner.
Step 2 – Turn off cold water to the water heater. You will find two lines on top of your water heater. One is cold water coming into the unit and the other is hot water going to the house. Turn off the cold water so you can fully drain the tank.
Step 3 – Connect a garden hose to the hose bib located near the bottom of the water heater. Run the hose outside or wherever you plan to dispose of the water. Keep in mind that the water will be hot!
Step 4 – Open the hose bib to release the water in the water heater. After about 15-20 minutes, open the Pressure Release Valve, located near the top of the water heater. This will let air into the tank and allow you to fully drain the unit.
Step 5 – After the hose is done draining, close the hose bib, open the cold water line, and turn the unit back on. Done! Thats it. Simple, right?
Furnaces and AC units require a professional touch for some of their maintenance. However, most of the failures are due to something that you can easily keep an eye on: the filters! Check your appliance for service instructions and check the filters annually to avoid costly repairs down the road.
There’s nothing quite as dreadful as a clogged-overflowing toilet. Sure, there’s the plunger, but lets try to avoid getting there in the first place. Along with the drains in the house, try to make it a habit to use some type of liquid drain cleaner every few months. It will work MIRACLES in the long run. All of your GF’s hair that goes down the drain doesn’t always make it all the way out of your plumbing. Using a drain cleaner will clear out all that gunk and prevent it from becoming a serious problem. A tell tell sign is when you start getting slow drainage. That’s the cue!
Aside from the obvious wet spot from a roof leak, keeping an eye on the structure of your home can be somewhat challenging. If your home has an attic, it is a good idea to peep in once a year to look for any damage from pests such as termites or rodents. Your home is usually treated to a termite inspection prior to the sale. However, it is up to you to ensure it stays healthy while you own it, so monitor it once a year or have a professional inspect it for you.
Doing even a few of these will put you in great shape as a homeowner for years to come. The more often you do the ‘little things’ to keep your home healthy, the less you will be dealing with major repairs down the road. A healthy home is a happy home, a happy home means more money in your wallet when its time to upgrade to a bigger place. So unless you plan on living in your first home forever, do what you can to protect your investment!