First-Time Homebuyer’s Guide
How to Take Care of Your New Home
At Hoffman Home Inspections, we see a lot of first time homebuyers here in Wichita who are incredibly excited about their new home but neglect it simply because they don’t know what to do.
Buying your very first home is making a huge transition from renter to homeowner. As a renter, your job was to treat a property gently and let the landlord know if any problems arose, but now you are the tenant and the landlord all wrapped into one. Naturally, this is double the responsibility but also double the freedom. Now you can paint the walls any color you want, hang up shelves, and completely re-landscape the backyard. However, you will also need to keep up with a few annual maintenance tasks that together can ensure the continued health and value of your home.
Taking care of an entire house can seem like a big responsibility, but it’s easy if you simply take it one task at a time. Home maintenance is made up of approximately three categories. There are regular maintenance tasks, regular inspection, and smart repair decisions when something does go wrong. Today we’re going to look at a comprehensive checklist on how to take care of your new home.
Maintaining your home means keeping it in good working order and preventing anything from taking unnecessary damage. Most homeowners take care of regular maintenance tasks once or twice a year on a predictable six-month schedule.
Your home has a number of different filters and each one controls some aspect of your quality of life at home. Your HVAC system may have a filter in the furnace, in the AC unit, and perhaps another one at the air intake vent. Some even have individual filters behind the room vents. Your water heater may have a water filter as will any home filtration unit. Your fridge also likely has a water filter. Change all of these approximately once every 6-12 months.
Water is not 100% clear when it comes in through your water main or from your well and non-water particles tend to sink to the bottom of your water heater. These form a sediment that, if allowed to sit and ‘cook’, will form a solid mass that can damage your water heater. Flushing your water heater every few months can clear out the sediment can significantly improve water heater efficiency power efficiency and extend the life of your water heater.
Piles of leaves may seem harmless but they can do some real damage to your roof and gutter structure. heavy gutters packed with wet leaves can break off and cause roof damage while clogged gutters can allow water to run over your walls which can cause serious water damage. Additionally, piles of leaves on the roof can form damp spots which will dissolve your roof shingles. The solution is to check on your gutter and roof every few months and clear them both of piled leaves.
If your home is in a region that freezes every year, wrapping your pipes in foam insulation or heat tape can save you hundreds of dollars in pipe replacements and water damage should water ever freeze in your pipes and cause a burst. Everyone should insulate hot water pipes as this can increase energy efficiency.
For homes with a working fireplace, don’t forget that these also need maintenance. Never let the fireplace fill up too much with ash before lighting a new fire and always make sure the flue is both open and clear of bird nests before lighting.
Finally, carpets take a lot of abuse over the course of a year. Many homeowners simply accept that their carpets will eventually get worn down and discolored but there is one way to significantly increase their appearance and lifespan: steam cleaning. Rent a steam cleaner twice a year and give your carpets three to ten passes until the liquid comes back clean.
Basic home maintenance is a great place to start on being a responsible homeowner, but it is still only a starting place. There are a number of maintenance issues that don’t require constant attention but should be inspected annually and managed carefully should repairs become necessary.
The first category of homeowner responsibility is regular maintenance and we spent some time covering the biggest items like filters, pipes, and gutters. Next are the other two responsibilities, smart repairs and professional inspections.
There are many things about your home that don’t need to be tended every 6-12 months but the will eventually wear out and need to be repaired or replaced. Knowing when to take action can help protect your home from damage and prevent future problems from occurring.
Plumbing doesn’t last forever. Pipes can last a long time and many can last for decades, but houses last longer. If your home has been standing for longer than 10 years, chances are that there are certain aspects of your plumbing that may need to be replaced. Iron pipes that rust, copper pipes that corrode, plastic parts that wear out, old rubber rings, when these things cause problems in your plumbing, it’s better to replace with newer better parts than try to repair the old corroded pieces.
The energy efficiency of your home relies heavily on your ability to keep the conditioned air in and the weather out, which means high-quality weatherstripping. Keep an eye on the edges of your doors and windows and replace the stripping if you notice that it’s loose, frayed, or if you can feel a draft when the aperture is closed. Weatherstripping generally lasts 3-5 years so your home may need new weatherstripping when you move in.
Never let holes or cracks in the wall go un-mended. These may seem like little problems, but every hole or crack is like a gap in your weatherstripping. Not only are you losing insulation, but it could also allow an avenue for insects. Patch any hole or crack you spot and worrying about numerous cracks naturally leads us to the next section: inspections.
Home inspections are something you should do approximately once a year because there are certain aspects of your home that only a professional is prepared to assess and repair if anything has gone wrong. They can also deduce from small signs whether or not your home is at risk for greater future problems.
Roofs have a lifespan of 15-30 years and need to be maintained every one to three years. Roofs regularly lose a few shingles at a time that need to be replaced and are particularly at risk of damage during storms. Your roof should be inspected once a year and at least once during your region’s storm season.
Siding is an aspect of the home that almost no one thinks about until they start noticing drooping, discoloration, or signs of insect infestation. Your siding should be inspected every one to five years and may need to be either power-washed or refinished to get the longest lifespan before reinstallation.
Finally, never neglect your foundation. Even if your home is not in an area notorious for shifting ground and foundation problems, a single flash flood can make the difference. Cracks in the foundation, cracks in the home, and uneven doorframes are all signs of a foundation problem that will need to be fixed ASAP. If you think there might be something wrong with your foundation, call for an inspection post haste.
Being a responsible homeowner is all about knowing when to maintain, when to inspect, and how to manage repairs if and when they become necessary. With the right approach, you can keep your house in beautiful condition for a very practical yearly budget. For more tips on taking good care of your new home, feel free to reach out to Hoffman Home Inspection as a resource. We’re happy to help.
See how Hoffman Home Inspection’s modern home inspection reports and easy scheduling make your life easier.
520 E 53rd St S
Wichita, Kansas 67216
Roofing License #19-009483
– General Home Inspection
– Aerial Roof Inspection
– Stucco Moisture Testing
– Sprinkler Systems
– Mold Testing
– Thermal Imaging
– Sewer Scope
– Radon Testing
– Drain Inspection
Mon-Fri: 8am – 5pm
*Last inspections start no later than 4:30pm
Sat: 8am – 1pm
*Last inspections start no later than 12:30pm
Home inspection areas (but not limited to): Andover, Arkansas City, Augusta, Bel Aire, Derby, El Dorado, Emporia, Goddard, Haysville, Hesston, Hutchinson, Kingman, McPherson, Mulvane, Newton, Park City, Pratt, Rose Hill, Valley Center, Wellington, Wichita, and Winfield. *Distance Fees Apply for Areas Outside of Sedgwick County
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