HOME OWNERSHIP RESPONSIBILITIES

 

Once you have successfully purchased a home, you get to enjoy the privileges and responsibilities of home ownership. These responsibilities include protecting and maintaining your home.  Remember that it is an investment which will increase in value if it is properly protected and maintained.

 

PROTECTING YOUR HOME

EMERGENCY NUMBERS

Identifying and clearly posting all emergency numbers will make you more prepared for any situation that may arise.  Important numbers to know include: police, fire, and hospital.

FIRE SAFETY

Every home should have working smoke detectors and fire extinguishers.  Smoke detectors should be located outside each bedroom door, and in or near the main living area.  A fire extinguisher should be located near both the kitchen and the main living area.

It is a good idea to have a fire-hazard inspection done of your new home.  Often the local fire inspector will do this free of charge.  If not, you can do this yourself.  Thoroughly inspect your home for frayed electrical cords, overloaded electrical systems, and clutter in the basement or attic.  If problems exist, remedy them as soon as possible. Be sure to check and change the batteries in smoke detectors at least once a year.

 

 

THEFT SAFETY

To ensure that your belongings are adequately protected, you may want to change the locks on all the doors.  This will offer additional protection, in case there are any additional keys existing.  Also, make sure all windows and doors have functioning locks.

As an additional safety measure, you may want to collect all of your important documents in one place that can be securely locked, such as a safe, or lock box.

 

 

INSURANCE

Homeowner's Insurance

Most lenders require the purchase of homeowner's or hazard insurance before or at the time of closing.  If not, it is important that you buy homeowner's insurance to protect you and your home.  Homeowner policies can include personal liability coverage (in case someone who is injured on your property tries to sue you), as well as coverage against fire, theft, and certain weather-related hazards. Some policies will allow you to pay for coverage of the contents of your home, as well.

It is important to know if your policy includes an inflation rider or not.  If it does, then your coverage will automatically increase with the value of the home.  If it does not, you will need to check each time you renew the policy to make sure that the amount of the policy covers the current market value of your house. This will ensure that you are reimbursed for the full amount of any damage that may occur to your home.

 

Mine Subsidence Insurance

 Damage due to the movement of the ground surface as a result of collapse or failure of underground mines is not covered by homeowner's insurance. Mine Subsidence Insurance protects your home from this kind of damage. Such damage could include: cracking of foundation walls and floors, cracking of brick veneer, tilting of the home, and in the worst instances, collapse of the house

This insurance is only necessary if your new home is located over or near an area that has been mined.  You can discover if your home is located in such an area and order the necessary insurance by calling the local mine subsidence office.

 

Mortgage Life Insurance

This insurance will pay off the remaining mortgage amount in the event of the borrower's death.

 

Home Warranties

Home warranties typically cover major built-in appliances and mechanical systems in your new home.  It is becoming more common for sellers to purchase one-year warranties either on their own, or at the buyer's request.  You, as a buyer may also choose to purchase a warranty for your new home.  This can usually be done through the larger realtors in your area.

Warranties can grant you additional piece of mind if appliances and systems are older, but do not assume that a warranty will cover all repairs.  Most warranties will help to cover only a portion of repairs. Very few cover the entire cost of repairs, or replacement. Be sure to read the fine print before purchasing.

MAINTAINING YOUR HOME

SEASONAL HOME MAINTENANCE CHECKLIST

It is a good idea to carry out the following maintenance tasks in the fall and spring in order to prepare for the winter and summer.

FALL MAINTENANCE:

 

 

 

Outside:

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Check weather stripping and caulking around windows and doors. Replace or repair as needed.

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Check for cracks and holes in house siding. Fill with caulking as necessary.

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Remove window air conditioners, or put weatherproof covers on them.

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Take down screens (if removable). Clean and store.

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Clean, repair, and install storm windows and doors.

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Drain outside faucets.

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Remove leaves from gutters and drain pipes to prevent clogging. Frequently check gutters and drains in the fall.

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Check roof for leaks.

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Check sealing around vents, skylights, and chimneys for leaks.

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Clean chimney flue. Remove obstructions. Make sure flue closes properly.

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Inside:

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Replace or add insulation where necessary.

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Get heating system serviced. Change furnace filter.

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Drain hot water heater and remove sediment from the bottom of the tank.

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Clean the burner surfaces, and adjust burners.

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Check all faucets for leaks.

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Check and clean the humidifier.

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Clean refrigerator coils.

 

SPRING SCHEDULE:

Outside:

bulletCheck weather stripping and caulking around windows and doors, especially if you have air conditioning.
bulletCaulk and repaint any cracked or peeling paint.
bulletRemove, clean and store storm windows and doors.
bulletPatch or replace all door and window screens.

Inside:

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Replace air conditioner filters.

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Clean dryer vents, stove hoods, and room fans.

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Check seals of refrigerator and freezer.  Clean refrigerator coils and burner surfaces.

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Clean fireplace.

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Check basement wall and floors for dampness.  Remedy as necessary.

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Check for leaky faucets.

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Check attic for proper ventilation.

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Clean drapes and blinds.

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Change batteries in smoke detectors.

 

SAVING MONEY BY MAINTAINING YOUR HOME

To Save Money by Keeping Cold Air Out and Warm Air In:

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 seal or caulk cracks to stop air leaks

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 pack rags around pipes

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 block spaces below doors with door sweeps or thresholds

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 put foam gaskets in electric outlets and wall switches

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 tighten door hinges

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 keep doors closed

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 close shades and curtains at night

 

To Save Money When Heating with Gas:

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turn thermostat down when not at home (not below 55 degrees)

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clean or replace furnace filter frequently

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service furnace annually

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use high quality fuel

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utilize heat from the sun by opening curtains on sunny days

 

To Save Money When Using Water:

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fix leaky faucets right away

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wrap hot water pipes with insulation

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insulate hot water tank, if it is in an unheated area

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drain two gallons from hot water tank once a year

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do not wash dishes under running water

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take shorter showers, turning water off while soaping

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wash only full loads of laundry and use cold water

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keep water temperature set to 125 degrees (if you have a dishwasher set it to 140 degrees)

 

 

IN CONCLUSION

The home purchasing process is by no means an easy one.  Hopefully, this guide helped to explain the components of the process, making it more manageable.  However, the home buying process is different for each individual, so remember to remain flexible, and never hesitate to ask questions of the knowledgeable people helping you through the process.  Do not stop asking questions until YOU thoroughly understand the answers.

Best of luck to you in your pursuit of home ownership.

 

 

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