Pop Quiz: You’ve just closed on your new Southern Maryland home. What’s the first thing you want to do?
If you said, “move in,” you’re correct! Unless you bought a house that needs a lot of TLC, moving in is at the top of your to-do list. But take a deep breath and step back. There are a few things you should take care of first if you want to make sure the home is safe and in move-in condition. These projects are best done before you move in, when the home is empty.
Change the locks
There’s no way to know how many sets of spare house keys are floating around out there. Changing the locks should be a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised how many new Southern Maryland homeowners neglect this task. It’s quick, easy, and inexpensive – and you’ll get lots of peace of mind.
Popcorn is for movies
Ever wonder what genius came up with popcorn ceilings? They’re a product of the 19650s, concocted as a way to hide imperfections. Way too many houses are still plagued by them. They’re ugly and nearly impossible to clean.
Luckily, getting rid of your popcorn ceilings is a DIY project. According to Katelin Hill of ThisOldHouse.com, there are three ways to get the job done:
- Scrape off the offending surface
- Cover the area with drywall
- Cover the popcorn surface with plaster, creating a new texture.
ThisOldHouse.com offers walkthroughs of all three methods.
Paint the walls
Not many homes come with fresh paint on the walls, so most new homeowners have painting at the top of their list. If you’ll be laying new flooring and painting, do the paint first. You won’t have to worry about splashed paint running your floors. If you’re replacing them, you can be as messy as you like!
How are the floors?
Speaking of floors – if you need new floors and have the budget for it after closing, now is the time to get it installed. It’s easier to redo the floors of an empty home than it is to find a place to store all of your furniture while the floors are done. Even if you’re not replacing the floors, steam cleaning the carpets or buffing and sealing wood floors will be easier if you do it before moving in.
Fix what’s broken
Don’t live with the previous owner’s shoddy home maintenance problems! If something leaks, fix it now. Leaks are usually easy repairs, but if it’s a bigger deal, you’ll be glad walls and floors were ripped out before you moved in. Remember that the longer a plumbing leak goes unchecked, the larger – and more expensive – the repair will be.
Other necessary fixes – and they’re all easy – include tightening loose stairway banisters, checking the deck for safety, changing HVAC filters, dusting ceiling fan blades, finding the home’s fuse box and water shut-off valve, and putting new batteries in all smoke alarms.
If it’s an occasional creepy crawler or something creepier like bats, rodents, or reptiles, it’s smart to rid the home of pests before you move in. This is especially true if the process involves a toxic project.
Most pest removal techniques are DIY, but others will require a professional. For a non-toxic way to get rid of insects, check out Prevention’s “12 Natural Ways to Kill Bugs.” Traps and baits are often effective remedies for rodent infestations. Call a professional if it’s wildlife that has taken up residence in the home.
Make it safe for the little ones
What will your kids and pets see when they move in? Tour the home while it’s empty and look for possible hazards to pets and kids. Besides covering electrical outlets and latching cupboards, where do other hazards exist? Do you need gates to block stairways? Does the garage need shelves for storing chemicals, paint, sharp tools, and the like out of reach of little ones?
Then, walk around the outside of the home, noting what is planted in the landscaping. Some plants like oleander, foxglove, rhododendron, and lily-of-the-valley are toxic if ingested. Oleander, in fact, is toxic if the fumes are inhaled while burning the plant. If you have any doubts about the toxicity of a particular plant, check The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals’ large database of toxic and non-toxic plants.
Last, check the fencing for spaces large enough for a pet or child to squeeze through, and ensure none of the sprinkler heads in the irrigation are stuck in an upright position. That can be a tripping hazard.
We know it’s frustrating to slow down the moving-in process once you’ve closed on the house, but taking the time to ensure the home is safe and habitable can save you from safety hazards and inconvenience in the long run.
Hughesville MD Homes for Sale and Real Estate Services in Southern Maryland. You now have a search engine to help you with your Southern Maryland home search! And I’m ready to provide you with a custom home valuation if you’re considering selling your home. Let’s connect to discuss how I can help you. Contact Kimberly Bean at 301-440-1309
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