New Years Resolutions For The New Homeowner

   Once you buy or move into a home, it's easy to forget the things that really need to get done around the house. Unfortunately, houses don't take care of themselves. As 2004 begins, vow to be as good to your house as you'd like it to be to you. You donít want your house to leak in the rainy season and your house doesnít want you to ignore the shingles that need replacing.

Before You Close On Your New House

Get your home inspected by a credentialed home inspector, and get the property surveyed. If you have any doubts about the foundation, call in a contractor to check it out. Also consider getting pest, water and well inspections. Wouldnít you rather know there is a problem prior to buying the house or after you have moved in?

Take the time to imagine all your furnishings in the house. What will go where? Use a tape measure to be sure everything will fit. A house may look wonderful and have just the right price -- but if your king-size bed and dressers won't fit comfortably in the master bedroom, it may be the wrong house for you.

Once The House Is Yours

Donít rush to move in. Instead, take a day or a week to really clean out the garage, clean any overhead lights, paint or touch-up where needed, get additional electrical/cable/phone outlets added where you want them, and do clean all of the cabinets and closets. Rent a carpet shampooer or hire a professional to come in and clean any dirt and odors out of the carpets.

Learn where the water shut-offs are (both under sinks and toilets, as well as the house's main valve). Find the electric panel and mark which fuse goes to which rooms or outlets.

Install GFI (ground fault interrupter) outlets near any water source -- usually kitchen and bathroom sink -- and anywhere else you want one. When a circuit is overloaded, electricity to that outlet is automatically shut off.

Donít procrastinate on any small repairs such as fixing the bathroom grout, patching the hole in the wall, spackling any nail hole sin the wall, or replacing electrical outlets.

Change air-conditioner filters, and stock up on six or 12 filters so you will have no excuses for not changing them monthly.

Install smoke alarms and radon and carbon monoxide detectors. If you get them hard-wired, you won't ever have to worry about changing batteries. Make sure there is a smoke alarm near the bedrooms and hallways.

  Clean your gutters to prevent any future damage in the rainy season. 

Weekly Resolutions

Vacuum your carpets at least weekly to extend their life and keep them looking good.

As much as we all hate to get on our hands and knees to clean the bathtub, if you donít do it weekly it will only make your job harder. 

If you have wood floors, always leave shoes at the door so you don't track in dirt and other particles that will scratch the wood.

Buy quality cleaning tools from dusters, vacuums, mops and cleaning solutions so you'll never be doing a sloppy job.

If something breaks, repair it immediately. Little problems can turn into big problems if they're not fixed.

Take just 15 minutes each evening before you go to bed. Waking up to a clean living room and clean sink is so much nicer than waking up to a mess of newspapers, toys, mail and dirty dishes.


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