Serving Mid, Western and Northern Michigan,
Kalamazoo, Lansing, Grand Rapids, Traverse City
Thursday, May 2nd, 2019 by Amanda Waldmann
Yesterday marked this year’s recognition of “New Home Owners Day,” and it really is a cause for celebration. Just the amount of paperwork alone is a reason to throw a party. But the work doesn’t stop when you sign the closing papers - really, that’s just the beginning. Let’s go over some tips to make your transition to home ownership a smooth one.
1. Change locks and codes
This has nothing to do with repairs but is good practice. Get your locks rekeyed as soon as possible and change any garage door or other access codes. Check the locks on your ground level windows for good measure, too. If you’re going to set up a security system or video doorbell, do it early. The time around taking possession of a house can be a vulnerable one - between new residents the neighbors don’t know and people like movers and contractors, it’s easy for someone with bad intentions to sneak in.
2. Organize repairs and renovations
You should’ve gotten a report from your home inspection detailing what needs to/should be fixed in your new home. Now is the time to figure out what you can fix yourself, what you need to call in experts for (ahem, like waterproofing), and what isn’t vital for the safety and comfort of your family and can be pushed back.
Any renovations you need or want to do should be figured out as well - maybe you need another bedroom in the basement immediately and are planning to put an egress window in, or maybe you just really hate the carpet. A “musts/shoulds/woulds” list comes in handy here to prioritize time and budget. You must add an egress window, you should repair those torn window screens, you would like to replace the carpet.
3. Look for seasonal changes
If you closed and moved in recently, this is likely the first time you’ve seen your new house without snow. This is a great time to check your gutters and downspouts (and clean them if necessary) and watch for signs of water in your basement. Check for abnormalities on your roof, as well.
It’s good practice to give your home a once over at each season change, but it’s especially important in your first year. Things like gaps in insulation might not be noticeable until the first cold snap, so be conscientious and save yourself a headache (and some money).
4. Learn the quirks - and monitor them
The first few months in a new house are...weird. There are sounds you don’t recognize and you just don’t have any base levels for a frame of reference. There might be small cracks in the foundation that are totally normal, or they might be a sign of future problems. One way to track that is to put a small piece of masking tape on each end of the crack and write the date on it. Check it every month - if the crack stays the same, it’s probably fine (concrete can develop hairline cracks as it cures and settles) but if the crack expands beyond the tape, it’s a good time to call us to check your foundation.
Establish baselines with your thermostat as well. If you notice that over time you’re setting it higher and higher (or lower and lower) to maintain a comfortable temperature, and the weather isn’t doing anything crazy, you might have an insulation issue.
With a few simple tasks and checklists, you can make the transition into your new home a smooth one. And if something comes up in your basement or crawl space that you don’t know how to handle, you can call us.
Congratulations on your new home! Don’t forget to forward your mail.