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First Year of Owning a Home

Things to Check

Congratulations on becoming a homeowner! Your journey towards owning a home is a significant achievement, and as you settle into your new abode, it’s important to ensure that your investment remains in optimal condition. The first year of homeownership is crucial, as it sets the foundation for the maintenance and care your home will require in the years to come. In this comprehensive guide, brought to you by UCCU, we’ll walk you through essential tips and information on what to check within the first year of owning a home.

Inspect Your Home’s Exterior

To make sure your new home stays in great shape, start by giving its outside a good look. Check the roof, the walls, the gutters, and the windows for any signs of problems like wear or damage. Fixing small issues right away can save you from having to pay a lot more for bigger fixes later. Also, trim the trees and bushes around your house so their branches don’t cause any damage when strong storms come around. Taking care of these things can help your home stay safe and cozy for a long time.

Test and Maintain Your Home’s Systems

It’s like giving your home a check-up! Try out important things like your heating and cooling system, the thermostat that controls the temperature, the plumbing that brings water in and takes it out, and the electrical stuff that keeps everything running. Changing the air filters regularly helps keep the air inside your home clean and saves energy too. Also, make sure you know where the main water shut-off valve and circuit breaker panel are. It’s important to be ready in case of emergencies, so you can quickly turn off water or power if needed.

Check for Water Leaks

Water leaks can lead to extensive damage. Regularly inspect potential leak-prone areas, including sinks, faucets, and toilets. Survey your basement and crawl spaces for moisture. Promptly addressing leaks prevents mold growth and structural deterioration.

Inspect Your Attic and Basement

Visit the attic and basement to ensure proper insulation and ventilation. Inadequate insulation can lead to energy loss and discomfort. Proper ventilation is crucial to prevent moisture buildup and potential mold issues.

Assess Your Home’s Foundation

Examine your home’s foundation for cracks or shifts. Minor cracks are often due to settling, but larger ones might indicate underlying problems. Minor cracks are thin and usually less than a quarter-inch wide, often appearing around door and window frames. Larger cracks, wider than a quarter-inch or with vertical/horizontal displacement, could signify serious issues like soil movement or water infiltration. Rapidly growing cracks, difficulty opening doors/windows, and uneven floors are red flags. Consulting experts like structural engineers can provide insights and recommendations for stabilization. Regular foundation inspections, particularly in the first year of homeownership, are key to addressing problems early and ensuring long-term stability.  

Review Your Home Warranty and Insurance

Take some time to carefully go through the details of your home warranty and insurance policies. This will help you understand what kinds of things are covered and how you can make claims if you need to. Also, it’s a smart idea to keep the phone number and contact info for your insurance company handy. Being prepared means you’re ready for unexpected repairs or events that might pop up.

Inspect Your Appliances

Your appliances, like your fridge and dryer, are like the helpers in your home. It’s important to check on them to make sure they’re working well. Spend a little time cleaning out the lint filter in your dryer and also the coils behind your refrigerator. When these parts are clean, your appliances work better and might last longer too. Taking care of them regularly could save you from having them suddenly stop working.

Test Safety Devices

Your home has special devices that help keep you safe. They’re like the superheroes of your house! Test your smoke detectors, carbon monoxide detectors, and fire extinguishers to make sure they’re doing their job properly. If you hear a beep, that’s a sign that it’s time to put in new batteries. Also, think about what you would do if there’s a fire in your home. Having a plan for how to get out quickly and safely is really important.

Check Your Landscaping

Outside your home is like your home’s special outfit. Take a good look at your outdoor spaces and the plants around your home. If trees and bushes are too close to your house, they can cause problems. Also, keeping your lawn looking neat and fixing spots where water might get stuck are important. Good landscaping not only makes your home look nice but also protects it from water damage.

Create a Maintenance Schedule

Think of this like making a plan for taking care of your home on a regular basis. After you’re done with your first-year checks, create a schedule for when you’ll do certain things. Regularly cleaning out your gutters, changing air filters, and having experts look at your heating and plumbing systems are all part of this plan. When you stick to this schedule, you can catch small issues before they turn into big problems, and that can save you both time and money.

Let UCCU Support You

Owning a home is a fulfilling journey, and ensuring your investment remains in excellent condition starts with thorough checks within the first year. UCCU is here to support you every step of the way! By diligently inspecting your home’s exterior, systems, and key areas, addressing maintenance promptly, and creating a maintenance schedule, you’re setting the stage for a prosperous and enjoyable homeownership experience. Remember, your home is not only a place to live but also a valuable asset that deserves the care and attention it needs.