What Not to Do as a Homeowner

If you’re new to homeownership, you’ll definitely want to avoid these boneheaded but easy-to-prevent mistakes that could cost you big time.

We know so well the thrill of owning your own house – but don’t let the excitement cause you to overlook the basics. We’ve gathered up a half dozen classic boo-boos new homeowners often commit – and give you some insight on why each is critically important to avoid.

1. Not Knowing Where the Main Water Shutoff Valve Is Water from a burst or broken plumbing pipe can spew dozens of gallons into your home’s interior in a matter of minutes, soaking everything in sight – including drywall, flooring, and valuables. In fact, water damage is one of the most common of all household insurance claims. Quick-twitch reaction is needed to stave off a major bummer. Before disaster hits, find your water shutoff valve, which will be located where a water main enters your house. Make sure everyone knows where it’s located and how to close the valve. A little penetrating oil on the valve stem makes sure it’ll work when you need it to.

2. Not Calling Before Digging a Hole Ah, spring! You’re so ready to dig into your new yard and plant bushes and build that fence. But don’t – not until you’ve dialed 811, the national dig-safely hotline. The hotline will contact all your local utilities who will then come to your property – often within a day – to mark the location of underground pipes, cables, and wires. This free service keeps you safe and helps avoid costly repairs. In many states, calling 811 is the law, so you’ll also avoid fines.

3. Not Checking the Slope of Foundation Soil The ground around your foundation should slope away from your house at least 6 inches over 10 feet. Why? To make sure that water from rain and melting snow doesn’t soak the soil around your foundation walls, building up pressure that can cause leaks and crack your foundation, leading to mega-expensive repairs. This kind of water damage doesn’t happen overnight – it’s accumulative – so the sooner you get after it, the better (and smarter) you’ll be. While you’re at it, make sure downspouts extend at least 5 feet away from your house.

4. Not Knowing the Depth of Attic Insulation This goes hand-in-hand with not knowing where your attic access is located, so let’s start there. Find the ceiling hatch, typically a square area framed with molding in a hallway or closet ceiling. Push the hatch cover straight up. Get a ladder and check out the depth of the insulation. If you can see the tops of joists, you definitely don’t have enough. The recommended insulation for most attics is about R-38 or 10 to 14 inches deep, depending on the type of insulation you choose. BTW, is your hatch insulated, too? Use 4-inch-thick foam board glued to the top. 5. Carelessly Drilling into Walls Hanging shelves, closet systems, and artwork means drilling into your walls – but do you know what’s back there? Hidden inside your walls are plumbing pipes, ductwork, wires, and cables. You can check for some stuff with a stud sensor – a $25 battery-operated tool that detects changes in density to sniff out studs, cables, and ducts. But stud sensors aren’t foolproof. Protect yourself by drilling only 1.25 inches deep max – enough to clear drywall and plaster but not deep enough to reach most wires and pipes. Household wiring runs horizontally from outlet to outlet about 8 inches to 2 feet from the floor, so that’s a no-drill zone. Stay clear of vertical locations above and below wall switches – wiring runs along studs to reach switches.

6. Cutting Down a Tree The risk isn’t worth it. Even small trees can fall awkwardly, damaging your house, property, or your neighbor’s property. In some locales, you have to obtain a permit first. Cutting down a tree is an art that’s best left to a professional tree service. Plus trees help preserve property values and provide shade that cuts energy bills. So think twice before going all Paul Bunyan.

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About thenoelteam

As a Broker with RE/MAX Alliance, I work energetically for my clients whether they are a buyer or seller. I help you achieve your goal of owning a home or getting the best price for your home in the shortest time possible. After graduating from UCLA with a degree in communications and finance, I was licensed in 1977 and since then I have sold over 3600 properties amounting to over $1 billion in sales. I currently rank in the top 10 in home sales for Colorado. I offer the same quality of service and superior communication to all clients, ranging from starter homes to multi-million dollar estates, commercial and income properties, relocations and foreclosures My goal is to provide you with the best representation possible whether you are buying or selling. Over the years, one of the things that I've discovered is that there is a difference in the way individual Realtors do business. For me, I have always felt that honesty and personal integrity are the foundations upon which a successful business and career are built and sustained. I have an extensive background and knowledge base in real estate, including financing, which has enabled me to provide outstanding, quality advice and service not found with many agents today. My commitment to communication creates a positive relationship between my client and myself that results in a successful property sale or purchase. My passion for real estate, commitment to my clients and personal integrity has helped me to achieve success placing me in the top 1% of all brokers in nationwide. In my career, I have earned a number of awards and received considerable recognition for my success but the most significant recognition comes from the fact that over 75% of my business comes from past clients. My success is a true measure of my client satisfaction.
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