Our house was built in 1953 and had been very well cared for by the elderly couple we purchased it from. But I wish someone would have told me what to do before moving in! Here is my list of 11 things you should do before moving in.
I do believe that most of the things on my list are also important for owners of brand new homes as well. Also, PLEASE FOR THE LOVE OF PETE, get your home inspected by a professional. Your realtor may recommend someone but you can also find home inspectors online.
In Portland, we have sugar ants. EVERYWHERE! They are super annoying and very hard to get rid of. Before moving into your home if your inspector notices ANY pests, hire a professional, and get rid of the threat before you unpack your belongings.
If you see moss on the roof remove it immediately. Insurance companies frown on moss and may require you to have it removed before they will insure you. Sounds crazy I know, but moss is very damaging to the integrity of your shingles.
UPDATE THE ELECTRICAL
You don’t have to worry about this so much if you purchased a brand new house. Like I stated before my home is an old geezer and needed some serious attention.
The electrical box was knob and tube, which is very old school. We had the panel upgraded (at the previous owner’s expense) and I changed all the light switches and electrical outlets. Making sure to add the GFCI outlets near any water sources.
Also, take the time to check all the light fixtures and replace them if needed. I replace all the light fixtures on the upper floor over the first year we lived in the house.
HAVE THE FLOORS PROFESSIONALLY CLEANED
You may think that the previous owners cleaned the floors before moving out. Not true. Most homeowners will rent a machine and attempt to steam clean the carpets themselves.
If they had pets, it’s more than guaranteed there will be pet dander and hair embedded in the carpet.
Luckily for me, our house has all hardwood so I just had the floor re-finished.
HVAC CLEANED AND MAINTENANCE
Our HVAC resembles something that you might find on a submarine. Hell-a old and worn. When moving into an older home, determine what type of heating you have, and have it inspected and cleaned accordingly.
Again more than likely if you are moving into a new build then you don’t have to worry about this. However, an old house sucks up paint like nobody’s business. I have painted every square inch of the upper floor including the ceilings, baseboards, walls, doors, and trim.
Here’s an important tip: install crown molding after you paint the ceilings. Have the crown molding company paint the crown molding prior to installation. Yes, it’s more expensive, but will save you so much in time and sanity later!
CHECK THE WATER QUALITY
I’m going to take a guess and say that you never thought of this one? Am I right? I have a cousin who could not drink the water at our previous residence. It would physically make him sick! That’s why I decided that it was important to check the water at our house.
Make sure to purchase a kit that tests for bacteria, lead, pesticides, nitrates, chlorine, hardness, and PH. Also if you find that your water sucks, buy a reverse osmosis water purifier. Worth its weight in gold!
CHECK FOR RADON GAS
Here in Portland, we have a very high number of homes that are affected by Radon gas. Radon is a naturally occurring gas that is radioactive, odorless, and colorless. It is estimated to cause 20,000 lung cancer deaths a year. Which makes it the second leading cause of lung cancer deaths overall.
Have you ever woken up and not known where you are. Pretty frightening. Needless to say, waking up to an emergency in a new home could be more than frightening, it could be tragic. You must set up a safety plan and have all the right tools and products to protect you.
WATER LEAK ALARMS
RADON GAS DETECTORS (IF APPLICABLE)
BATTERIES FOR ALL SMOKE DETECTORS
SIT DOWN WITH YOUR LOVED ONES AND GO OVER AN EVACUATION PLAN AND EMERGENCY PROTOCOLS. IF THIS IS THE ONLY THING YOU DO, I WILL BE ELATED. AFTER LIVING THROUGH A FIRE AND A FLOOD AND MULTIPLE EARTHQUAKES, I CAN’T TELL YOU HOW INVALUABLE THESE PLANS AND PROCEDURES CAN BE.
MAKE A HOME BINDER
A home binder is an essential part of any homeowner’s belongings. It’s a place to keep all the information about your appliances, warranties, evacuation plan, plat map, vendors names, insurance information, contact information for municipal offices, contact information for service technicians and so much more.
Having a home binder is a one-stop-shop for all things in your home. I also keep all receipts for appliances and work done by plumbers and such. It is really like having Bio about your home. In case of a disaster, it will serve you well with the information you are going to need to replace your belongings.
Tip’s for the home binder: Take pictures of EVERYTHING! And by everything I mean everything. After our house flooded the insurance company would not replace and fix some damage to the drywall in the garage because they said it was like that prior to the flood. Had I taken pictured of all the walls and areas I could have proven that it needed to be fixed.