First-time homeowners make up a large portion of our client base. As a result, we hear a ton of stories about mistakes made in the early days of homeownership. Like the guy who uninstalled his old dishwasher himself, caused a giant leak, didn't know where the main water shut-off valve was, water-damaged his floors, and broke the dishwasher. A bit of a disaster, to say the least.
There's a lot to think about when moving into a new house, from the mortgage to unpacking to decorating. Simple things often go forgotten, or new homeowners simply don't have the knowledge to take care of basic duties right away. Avoid unnecessary costs and common mistakes we've heard about time and time again by taking care of these 5 items. You'll be good for week 1!
1. Locate your main water valve shut off right away.
You’ll need to shut off your water supply from time to time in your home. If you have a leak, your plumbing freezes, or your dishwasher is wreaking havoc on your kitchen floors, to undertake any repairs you’ll have to stop the water supply. Know the location of your main water valve, along with every emergency shut off valve in your house. And of course, learn how to properly turn off these valves. Many plumbers will check your emergency shut-off valves at no charge, and can advise you on how to properly turn them on and off.
2. Introduce yourself to the circuit breaker box.
We’ve all had that moment: microwave and vacuum going at the same time, circuit breaker trips, lights go out. Locate the breaker box so you’re not in the dark if this happens. It’s also a good idea to figure out which fuses control which areas of the house, and label accordingly if the previous owner hasn’t already done so. If you take a stab at minor electrical work, like swapping out a light fixture, you won’t electrocute yourself. Good stuff, right?
3. Avoid uninstalling or changing appliances yourself.
As you learned from the dishwasher guy above, taking the DIY route for appliance removal can mess with your water, electrical and gas lines, and may damage the appliance beyond repair. If you’ve bought new appliances for your home, leave it to a professional to uninstall the old ones. They have the specialized tools and knowledge to carry out the job safely and properly. Same goes for other major system components in your home, like the AC units, furnace, and water heater. If you don't have the skills, don't try DIY-maintenance. It will very likely backfire in damage and high repair costs.
4. Change the locks and door codes.
If your realtor hasn't already done so, get a locksmith to change or rekey the locks in your home. You never know who has keys to the house, and if anything happens down the line, it'll be hard to forgive yourself! Also, remember to change the codes for your garage door opener.
5. Consider your garbage and recycling bin size.
The bigger your garbage bin, the more you pay in city fees. In the GTA, a small, one bag garbage bin has a yearly fee of $17.76. An extra large bin which holds 4.5 bags is a $411 fee. Big difference, right? If the bin sizes don't fit the needs of your family, order new bins on the city website.