What you may not foresee are some common misconceptions about the new homeowner experience.
There is something magical about turning the key in the lock of your new front door moments after knowing a house is yours. Your new life as a homeowner is about to begin. But what you may not foresee are some common misperceptions about the new homeowner experience. HouseLogic’s Kelley Walters points a few of these out.
New Homeowner Misconception 1: You Don’t Need Roof Vents
First of all, forget about the idea that since you live in a cooler climate, you don’t need roof vents. No matter where you live, ventilation is important, helping to suck hot, humid air from inside your house through your roof not only to keep you comfortable but also to keep you from incubating stale air. Even if you live with snow much of the year, if warm air lingers under your roof, it could cause the snow to melt just enough to easily refreeze at night, melt again, refreeze (you get the picture) creating ice damns
Walters likens a home warranty to a $500 bottle of wine — if someone else pays for it, why not enjoy it? She recognizes that sellers often throw in a home warranty as an incentive to help buyers feel more secure about having financial help for any unexpected repairs. But when that home warranty runs out and the company that backs it up begins sending you notes that it’s time to re-up, Walters advises you to resist the temptation to continue it. Instead, put that money into a home maintenance savings account. Coverage is often limited, and warranty companies are famous for the kind of red tape that can delay repairs for days and even weeks.
Cutting the lawn really short will permit you to ignore it for longer periods of time
Now that you’ve given up the apartment for a house with a lawn, don’t think cutting the lawn really short will permit you to ignore it for longer periods of time. “Grass blades collect sunlight,” says Walters. “Cut them too short and they can’t soak up enough to survive, which makes for brown, patchy and weeds galore. She says to save the grass as well as your home’s curb appeal by cutting your lawn no more than one-third the length of the blades at each mowing, with grass length staying around two-and-a-half and three inches tall.
New Homeowner Misconception 3: Flooding Water
Flooding water around your house is not necessarily going to be taken care of by the city or even by your homeowner’s policy. “The city fixes the public water lines from the road to your property, but you’re responsible for the main that runs from your property line to your dwelling,” says Walters. Another reason to sock some money away for a rainy day: a broken water main can soak you anywhere from $500 to a shocking $3,000 to repair. “If you alert your utility, and address the leak as quickly as possible, they may forgive all or part of the cost of the water that leaked.”
She cites the most common cause of water main breaks as tree roots intrusions into older pipes. clogging them and causing back-ups. “If you have mature trees with roots pushing up the sidewalk or driveway, that could be a hint that you might encounter a water main break — or sewer line break (yup, just like the water line, the sewer line on your property is your responsibility),” says Walters.
New Homeowner Misconception 4: I can do anything with my property
Just because you are free of all those renter restrictions doesn’t mean you can do anything you want to your property (unless, of course, you live in a rural area with a ton of acreage around you.) The paint colors and landscape plans you choose affect your neighbors and often must get the approval of a body of homeowners even if you do not pay a homeowner’s fee each month. You may have received a set of covenants, conditions, and restrictions when you moved in but gave them little thought in the giddiness of becoming a homeowner.
Building a structure in your backyard taller than your fence line, leaving a portable (let alone a permanent) basketball goal out on your driveway each night, hanging clothes outdoors to dry, and even how long a car can remain on your driveway all may be mentioned in that verboten list. Of course, it would have been best to study those rules before buying the house to make sure you went into this with both eyes open, but even if you didn’t, you are stuck with them now. Why are they in place? Because someone, somewhere decided what can wreck the neighborhood’s curb appeal, carrying the potential to lower property values. Breaking these rules could see you paying fines, leaving you with liens against your property or having to rip something out you just spent good money on.
More Tips for a Better New Homeowner Experience
More tips: (1) Invest a measly $15 in a manually operated snake to unclog pipes instead of pouring caustic chemicals down your drains. (2) Call your homeowner’s insurance company if a neighbor’s tree falls on your property, since your policy should cover tree damage caused by wind, water, and storms. (3) If you have a composite or split shingle roof, adding new shingles over existing roofing may be cheaper than replacing the roof entirely, but it’s not always the best course. “ A roof is like a cake of wooden sheathing beneath an icing of shingles. If the cake is spoiled, you can’t fix it (or even find out about it) by putting an extra layer of icing on top. If there’s damage to your roof, get a new roof,” says Kelly.
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Source: Houselogic.com, TBWS