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6 Things You MUST Know as a New Homeowner

You have finally settled into your dream home. You are enjoying hanging pictures and searching Pinterest for bathroom decor ideas. But in all your excitement, have you forgotten something? As an official homeowner, are there things you should know that you are unaware of? Michele Harmon Team is to provide you with the six most common mistakes new homeowners make and why they are critically important for you to avoid.

1. Know Where the Main Water Shutoff Valve is

A burst or broken plumbing pipe can spew multiple gallons of water into your home’s interior within just a few minutes and can soak everything in sight — including drywall, flooring, and valuables. Believe it or not, water damage is one of the most common of all household insurance claims. Quick reaction is key to preventing damage from plumbing issues. Before a disaster hits, locate your water shutoff valve, which is typically located where the water main enters your home. Make sure everyone is aware of where it is located and how to close the valve. A little penetrating oil on the valve stem will ensure it works when you need it to.

2. Call 811 Prior to Digging a Hole

You may be eager to plant bushes and build a fence in your new yard. However, do not start digging until you have dialed 811, the national call-before-you-dig hotline. The hotline will contact all of your local utility companies who will come to your property — often within a day — to mark the location of underground pipes, cables, and wires. This service is free, it keeps you safe, and it will save you from costly repairs. In addition, Texas law requires homeowners to contact 811 two business days prior to digging regardless if you are working in your own backyard. If you are hiring a contractor to do the work for you, it is the contractor’s responsibility to contact 811 two business days prior to digging.

3. Check the Slope of Foundation Soil

The ground around your foundation should slope away from your house at least 6 inches over 10 feet. This ensures that water from rain and melting snow does not soak the soil around your foundation walls. Built up pressure can cause leaks and can result in a crack in your foundation, leading to extremely expensive repairs. Although this kind of water damage does not happen overnight, it is cumulative, so, the sooner you do it, the better. While you are inspecting the slope of the foundation soil, make sure downspouts extend at least 5 feet away from your home.

4. Know the Depth of Attic Insulation

This goes hand-in-hand with not knowing where your attic access is located. Make sure you are able to find the ceiling hatch, which is typically a square area framed with molding in a hallway or closet ceiling. Push the hatch cover straight up and get a ladder. Check out the depth of the insulation. If you can see the tops of joists, you do not have enough insulation. The recommended insulation for most attics is about 10-14 inches deep, depending on the type of insulation you choose.

5. Avoid Carelessly Drilling into Walls

When you are hanging shelves, closet systems, or artwork, you are 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 of this with a stud sensor, a battery-operated tool that detects changes in density to find studs, cables, and ducts. However, stud sensors are not foolproof. Protect your home by only drilling 1 ¼ inches deep. This is 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 is a no-drill zone. Stay clear of vertical locations above and below wall switches — wiring runs along studs to reach switches.

6. Consider Leaving Trees to the Professionals

When it comes to cutting down trees, the risk is not worth it. Even small trees can fall awkwardly and cause damage to your house, your property, or your neighbor’s property. For safety purposes, consider leaving this task with a professional tree cutting service. 

Michele Harmon Team pledges to provide quality service that goes beyond the closing table. If you are looking to buy, sell, or even if you simply have questions about your role as a homeowner, we are always happy to help! Give us a call at 713-818-1330 to discuss any and all of your Real Estate needs. Your home truly is our business.

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