Now that you’ve taken the big leap from being a renter to becoming a homeowner, don’t go uncorking that celebratory bottle of bubbly just yet.
The perks and freedom that homeownership bring also mean major responsibilities on the side. You can’t have one without the other.
And so you might ask, “What on earth should I need to learn more other than paying the bills on time?”
If you’re a bit on the defensive side, don’t worry; we totally understand (wink, wink). We won’t go insulting your intelligence but to save you embarrassment from classic boo-boos, we’re the ones who’s gonna ask these 7 dumb questions you – as a first-time homeowner– should ask.
1. Where is the main water shutoff valve?
You’ve almost emptied your bank account just so you can style your home’s interior like you’ve always dreamed of. But a burst or broken plumbing pipe can spew dozens of gallons of water in a matter of minutes.
Among all household insurance claims, water damage is one of the most common culprits. Staving off a major bummer like this doesn’t need MacGyver-ish cleverness – just make sure you know where the water shutoff valve is located and how to close it. A quick-twitch reaction can save the day – as well as your drywall, flooring, and valuables, too.
2. What’s 811 for, is it like 911?
Yes, nobody’s gonna stop you now from turning your backyard into a paradise oasis of greeneries or installing a vintage mailbox by your white picket fence.
But first, dial 811 – the national dig-safely hotline, a few days before your digging project commences. Somebody from the local utilities office will show up at your front door – as soon as you make the call, often within a day – to mark the location of underground wires, cables, pipes, etc.
This is a state-law requirement you have to abide to, not unless you don’t care hitting a line, being slapped with fines, or worst – force you to shell out for some costly repairs.
3. How on earth should I deal with my clogged toilet?
In the life of every homeowner, it’s not just clogged toilets you’ll encounter about; leaky faucets, blocked P-trap, faulty water heater. Sooner rather than later, you have to learn how to troubleshoot these minor issues so you won’t have to be totally helpless without your friendly neighborhood plumber.
With a clogged toilet, all you need are just plunger and auger to free your toilet with whatever organic matter or foreign object that’s clogging it.
Even a home repair rookie like you can get it back up and running in minutes, if you a little bit of guts and patience to do so.
4. It’s just a small tree. Would anyone be bothered if I cut it down?
Check with your locality first if you have to obtain a permit to do so. And even if you’ve managed to secure one, you don’t want to risk letting that tree fall awkwardly onto your brand new home, or worst, the neighbor’s.
If you can’t be stopped, just let a professional tree service handle the matter.
5. Is it safe to drill into the walls?
Yes and no. Yes, if you drill not more than 1 ¼ inches deep into it. No, if you drill through the no-drill zone: vertical locations above and below wall switches as well as horizontal locations about 8 inches to 2 feet from the floor.
6. Why should I keep receipts of home improvements?
There will come a time when the need or whim arises to sell the house and you can use these costs to increase your home value. Plus, it can help reducing your taxable income.
7. What are tax credits?
When you purchase Energy Star appliances or opt to install solar panels, you’ll receive tax credits as an incentive to conserve energy at home. Take advantage of its benefits and use that extra savings to fund your next home improvement endeavor.