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Redsfaithful
01-16-2012, 05:00 PM
So I just bought a house. 1500 sq ft, 3 level, in Bexley, an inner ring suburb of Columbus with good schools. Honestly could see myself living here satisfied the rest of my life, I like it that much.

That being said, I've always rented, and haven't paid any attention to maintenance or anything in the past, since it was never my house. I'd like to do things right now, so I'm wondering what advice people might have here on RedsZone.

I've bought a couple of Black and Decker home books:

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1589234170/ref=oh_o00_s00_i00_details
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B005GNKJJI/ref=oh_o00_s00_i01_details

But I'm wondering about general checklists, things to watch for, and anything people might want to pass on that they wished they had known when they first bought a house.

bucksfan2
01-16-2012, 05:19 PM
What year was the house built? A lot can depend on that.

My house is about 7 years old and I have noticed that the toilets are starting to break down. That has been really my only issue with the house so far.

Also make sure that your roof drains all drain away from your house and don't pool which could lead to water in your basement.

Redsfaithful
01-16-2012, 05:23 PM
House was built in 1939. Roof was new in 2008 and good gutters, home inspection did say one gutter could use an extended downspout, which I will take care of soon.

reds1869
01-16-2012, 05:25 PM
If I ever moved back to Columbus Bexley would be one of the first places I looked. Beautiful community; I hope you love it!

RANDY IN INDY
01-16-2012, 05:26 PM
Congrats!:beerme:

George Anderson
01-16-2012, 05:40 PM
Since I am sure you got a home inspection report before you bought the house I would say any potential big house maintenance problems you may have don't exist. I am very familiar with those reports and they don't miss much.

Roy Tucker
01-16-2012, 05:45 PM
Roof, windows, and HVAC are the big ticket items. If your house was inspected, they should be OK. Keep an eye on the roof. Caulk your windows. Replace filters in the HVAC. Consider getting a maintenance contract on it. Find out who a good HVAC firm is in your area before you need them.

Explore around the house extensively with a flashlight. Make sure you know where the water shutoff valve is, where the breaker box is. Look around in the attic and the crawl spaces. Looks for any kind of trouble spots (leaks, holes, critters, etc.) so you don't get surprised.

Start small with indoor stuff. Painting rooms, maybe wallpaper, learn how to replace faucets, replace light fixtures. Expand from there. Lots of books on all this. Find out where a good local hardware store is. Get to know the guys there. You will spend time and money there eventually.

Cut your grass. Plant some flowers. Your neighbors will love you for it. Put a bird feeder out (cheap entertainment). Get to know your neighbors.

Roy Tucker
01-16-2012, 06:26 PM
Buy a shovel and a rake.

And a snow shovel and a bag of de-icer so you don't kill yourself when the driveway glazes over with ice.

Buy a toolkit with hammer, saw, screwdrivers, tape measure, assorted nails and screws.

Get a couple flashlights. Keep one in your nightstand. Buy some candles.

Consider getting a hand-crank radio for when the power goes out. Think about a portable generator if you have spare money (haha, a homeowner with spare money, that's rich).

If you have a garage door opener, know how to unhook it when the power goes out. Otherwise you can't get your car in/out.

Prune your trees. Know when brush pickup is.

Wave to your mailman and garbage guy and say hi so the mail person will bring your mail to the door if it doesn't fit in the mailbox and the garbage man will put lids back on your cans.

Don't tell the neighbor kids to get off your lawn. Otherwise your windows will get soaped.

Vote.

GAC
01-16-2012, 06:48 PM
That's one helluva list your wife has made out for you Roy. :mooner:

Actually, the only universal tool he really needs is duct tape!

http://hartmanarena.com/images/content/images/rgreen.jpg

It usually takes the extra wide to cover the wife's entire mouth when she starts going off on her to-do list.

Oh yeah... if you have a furnace, check the filters too.

Johnny Footstool
01-16-2012, 06:59 PM
For home maintenance, yes, invest in a couple of books you can use if the power goes out. For regular stuff, youtube is your best friend. You can find dozens of videos explaining how to do everything.

Change your locks. Add deadbolts and plates if you don't already have them.

For the flashlight you keep by in your nightstand, invest in one of those giant, 10-pound maglights that put out a billion lumens.

Get a wet/dry shop vac. You will use it when your basement floods, or when a pipe breaks.

Get a 2-step stool, a 6-foot ladder, and an extension ladder long enough to allow you to reach into the gutters or hang Christmas lights. Don't worry about climbing onto the roof -- just don't ever do that yourself.

Clean the dryer exhaust, at least from the outside. Tons of lint gets stuck in there.

Contract with an HVAC company. Schedule time in the early spring to have them check your AC, and time in the early fall to have them check your furnace.

Invest in good furnace filters, and replace them as often as recommended. The cheap ones don't work well enough.

Paint, wallpaper, re-carpet, etc. right now, before you get fully unpacked. I know it's a hassle, and you want to get settled in, but it's a million times more difficult to do it later. Now is the best time.

Get room-darkening, insulated drapes. They really reduce your heating/cooling bills.

Buy high-quality tools, especially a powerful cordless drill/screwdriver.

GAC
01-16-2012, 07:01 PM
Oh yeah. And most importantly, before you start playing the handyman, make sure you have these two items handy....

https://encrypted-tbn2.google.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcRmwFZzGT4FR606N09KUjePmPodN5yud KLLJrTf9WMwwHGovxhRSQ


http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41P83BC0inL._SL500_AA300_.jpg

REMEMBER..... stop, drop, and roll! :D

On a serious note, and as far as tools go, I'd start out very basic even though you may be tempted, being a new homer, to go hog wild.

Get a a basic set of combo wrenches and ratchet/socket set, pliers, screwdriver set, hammer, drill.

If you buy it all at once then you won't have an excuse, in the middle of a project, to stop and make a Lowes run (take the road that has a pub on the way). :mooner:

GAC
01-16-2012, 07:03 PM
Owners manuals and how-to books are for suckers. C'mon, where that's adventurous spirit men? Be bold and daring, and not afraid to go where no man has gone before! If you have pieces left over that's what that Folgers can on the work bench shelf is for. :p

westofyou
01-16-2012, 07:07 PM
Buy a shovel and a rake.

And a snow shovel and a bag of de-icer so you don't kill yourself when the driveway glazes over with ice.

Buy a toolkit with hammer, saw, screwdrivers, tape measure, assorted nails and screws.

Get a couple flashlights. Keep one in your nightstand. Buy some candles.

Consider getting a hand-crank radio for when the power goes out. Think about a portable generator if you have spare money (haha, a homeowner with spare money, that's rich).

If you have a garage door opener, know how to unhook it when the power goes out. Otherwise you can't get your car in/out.

Prune your trees. Know when brush pickup is.

Wave to your mailman and garbage guy and say hi so the mail person will bring your mail to the door if it doesn't fit in the mailbox and the garbage man will put lids back on your cans.

Don't tell the neighbor kids to get off your lawn. Otherwise your windows will get soaped.

Vote.

Get at least two fire extinguishers, by a hacksaw and WD40 start a rag box you'll need them, stud finders are nice and learn as much about plumbing as you can

My house is 108 years old, the older a house is the easier it is to understand how it works

UCBrownsfan
01-16-2012, 07:32 PM
For home maintenance, yes, invest in a couple of books you can use if the power goes out. For regular stuff, youtube is your best friend. You can find dozens of videos explaining how to do everything.

Change your locks. Add deadbolts and plates if you don't already have them.

For the flashlight you keep by in your nightstand, invest in one of those giant, 10-pound maglights that put out a billion lumens.

Get a wet/dry shop vac. You will use it when your basement floods, or when a pipe breaks.

Get a 2-step stool, a 6-foot ladder, and an extension ladder long enough to allow you to reach into the gutters or hang Christmas lights. Don't worry about climbing onto the roof -- just don't ever do that yourself.

Clean the dryer exhaust, at least from the outside. Tons of lint gets stuck in there.

Contract with an HVAC company. Schedule time in the early spring to have them check your AC, and time in the early fall to have them check your furnace.

Invest in good furnace filters, and replace them as often as recommended. The cheap ones don't work well enough.

Paint, wallpaper, re-carpet, etc. right now, before you get fully unpacked. I know it's a hassle, and you want to get settled in, but it's a million times more difficult to do it later. Now is the best time.

Get room-darkening, insulated drapes. They really reduce your heating/cooling bills.

Buy high-quality tools, especially a powerful cordless drill/screwdriver.


I agree with most of what Johnny said. 2 exceptions.

Buy the cheap furnace filters, the expensive ones have caused me extra HVAC repairs as they tend to limit airflow and wear down your units quicker. With an old house your airflow most likely won't be effecient with adequate return air.

Buy either cheap or good tools, cheap to learn on, good once you know you want it.

TRF
01-16-2012, 08:04 PM
http://www.ahs.com/homeowners/

Home warranty. I have friends that swear by this. I haven't done it myself, but i am considering it.

SunDeck
01-16-2012, 08:05 PM
Make sure you have good ladders- a 24 foot extension, a six foot folding ladder and a little one, a two or three stepper. Most homeowners have extension ladders that I wouldn't trust- get a good one that you aren't extending all the way every time you use it. They are much more stable when extended only half or so.

I second Roy's advice on getting to know the place. Get in the crawlspace if there is one, if you have a basement look up and see where all the wiring is going. If the house was built in '39, you may have a few generations of electrical stuff going on, so make a note of the kinds of sheathing you see on the wires, which helps you to know how old it is. It will also give you an indication of how much messing around previous owners have done. Make sure your service is adequate- at least 100 amps, but 200 is best (but unlikely, given the age). Also, get to know the breakers and what they control. Know how to shut off your entire panel.

Crawl around the attic and look at all the wiring there, too. Inspections are all right, but look at the fine print and you will see they only inspect what they can see. Pull up the insulation, look at the junction boxes and make sure they are all closed. And speaking of insulation, make sure you have enough. If you can see the rafters, then just roll another layer perpendicular to them.

Inspect the eaves and the roof for proper ventilation. Most houses that age do not have good attic ventilation. It's not a deal killer because those houses are not as air tight as newer ones, but ideally you will have a way for air to move into the eaves and out the highest point of the roof. So, if your new roof had vent caps, you should also have eave venting as well.

Get to know the plumbing. That age house may have some galvanized pipe, but for the most part you should see copper supply lines. Tighten all the valves, read up on the kind you have and if you're really ambitious learn how to pull them and replace them.
You probably have cast iron waste lines. They last about 80 years and eventually you may see pitting on the outside, which indicates their end of life. Easily replaced by a plumber with PVC. How fast do your drains run? Old drain lines can be as small as 2 inches, which is pretty small, so if you are ambitious you can learn to run an auger down to the public sewer (or just call Roto Rooter). I do mine once a year. Inspect all the goose necks on your sink drains. Sometimes you will find that the chrome plated ones are in bad shape. Easy job to swap them out with PVC, requiring only a hacksaw and a pair of channel lock pliers.

Seal all the holes in the foundation. Helps keep the rodents out (although I live next to the woods and have some to accept mice in my attic as a regular nuisance). Make sure your inspection also included a termite inspection. Make sure you don't store wood next to the house and make sure that you have a few inches of space between the top of the soil and the sill plate (where the foundation meets the walls).

OK, this last one is really important- make sure you have ground fault interruption outlets in places where there is water- bathrooms, around the kitchen counters, any outdoor or garage outlets. I also pull the cover plates off of all switches and outlets that don't look original because I trust no previous home owners when it comes to electrical installations. I look for wire nuts that are too small, sharp bends in the wires or an indication that someone just jammed the stuff in as quickly as they could. Good electricians make neat installations.

George Anderson
01-16-2012, 08:11 PM
http://www.ahs.com/homeowners/

Home warranty. I have friends that swear by this. I haven't done it myself, but i am considering it.

I got one when I moved in and it was kind of a waste of money. There were alot of things they wouldn't cover that I thought they would and I also think there was some type of deductible.

Hoosier Red
01-16-2012, 08:55 PM
House was built in 1939. Roof was new in 2008 and good gutters, home inspection did say one gutter could use an extended downspout, which I will take care of soon.

Find a good handyman. The one in my neighborhood is so cheap, my wife and I call him before we even think of doing anything on our own.

Good luck, and whenever anything breaks just remember it's the joy of home ownership.

15fan
01-16-2012, 09:33 PM
I'll echo many of the sentiments on here already.

Annual HVAC contract & service twice a year. Make sure you're prepared for power outages ahead of time.

A dehumidifier can be your best friend if you have a basement or crawl space.

I'm a big fan of gutter guards.

Programmable thermostat.

Find yourself some help that you aren't afraid to enlist when you need to outsource. Yard work, painting, carpentry, electrical, plumbing, etc. There's always too much for one person to do. Quickly figure out what you (1) are good at and (2) enjoy, then outsource some of the other things.

Remember that nothing in a house fixes itself. Ignoring it doesn't make it better. If you can get ahead of the curve, more power to you.

Also, get to know your neighbors. Their homes were likely built about the same time as yours. They can tell you about things they've run into as well as who they have used for various projects. Both of those things can save you money and aggravation while you live the American dream.

Finally, there are two things that you always want to replace too soon rather than too late: your hot water tank, and your furnace/AC. When one of those goes out, it's baaaaaaaad news.

westofyou
01-16-2012, 09:48 PM
AC.

Dang glad I don't have to deal with that, my converted for oil coal furnace is bad enough

GAC
01-17-2012, 05:49 AM
Being new to the neighborhood, get to know your neighbors. They can give you some sound recommendations, may know someone, when it comes to hiring someone for a project you might not be able to do for yourself.

I've been fortunate enough, over these many years, to have a lot of buddies in construction. So earlier in my life, when I hired them to do a project that I didn't want to attempt, I asked them if I could be their "assistant" solely for the purpose of learning. That's where I gained a majority of my experience.

Also...

A majority of you know that my family incurred a devastating house fire almost 6 years ago. Do not cut corners when it comes to your home insurance. Thank God I had a premium plan from a major company. Yeah, it cost me a little more per month (not a great amount); but they treated me like gold. I don't think you'd get that kind of treatment from an independent agent. We had one prior to switching, and there was no way he would have been able to do what this other company did when we had the fire.

919191
01-17-2012, 09:16 AM
I agree with TRF about an AHS home warranty. I have had those twice- got me a furnace in my old house, which I upgraded with an additional payment, and in my new house it got me an air conditioner repair and a water heater. It paid for itself. sadly, i let it expire while having a 30 year old Lennox furnace. My fingers stay crossed.

Redsfaithful
01-17-2012, 04:34 PM
First, just wanted to say this is a great thread. So much good advice here that I'm going to take action on.

On the subject of home warranties, I have one for the next year (I think real estate agents try to get that from the seller in most cases?), but I'm not sure I'm counting on it to do much from what I have read online. I'm sure it depends on the company.

My water heater is from 1992 and the furnace is 1994. I'm debating whether to just replace the water heater now or wait the year and if it dies letting the warranty company handle it, assuming they wouldn't try to exclude it somehow. I have a family friend who could replace it a little cheaper than normal, so I'm factoring that in also. The furnace I figure could have 5+ more years maybe, so I'm just planning on keeping an eye on it, and maybe start saving money to replace it.

George Anderson
01-17-2012, 04:42 PM
First, just wanted to say this is a great thread. So much good advice here that I'm going to take action on.

On the subject of home warranties, I have one for the next year (I think real estate agents try to get that from the seller in most cases?), but I'm not sure I'm counting on it to do much from what I have read online. I'm sure it depends on the company.

My water heater is from 1992 and the furnace is 1994. I'm debating whether to just replace the water heater now or wait the year and if it dies letting the warranty company handle it, assuming they wouldn't try to exclude it somehow. I have a family friend who could replace it a little cheaper than normal, so I'm factoring that in also. The furnace I figure could have 5+ more years maybe, so I'm just planning on keeping an eye on it, and maybe start saving money to replace it.

Wait a minute, you mean you are going to pay someone less than union wages?? I thought from dealing with you on other threads, doing something like this to you is very wrong. ;)

medford
01-17-2012, 04:43 PM
That's one helluva list your wife has made out for you Roy. :mooner:

Actually, the only universal tool he really needs is duct tape!

http://hartmanarena.com/images/content/images/rgreen.jpg

It usually takes the extra wide to cover the wife's entire mouth when she starts going off on her to-do list.

Oh yeah... if you have a furnace, check the filters too.

Uh, aren't you missing the other essential tool? WD-40?

Redsfaithful
01-17-2012, 07:00 PM
Wait a minute, you mean you are going to pay someone less than union wages?? I thought from dealing with you on other threads, doing something like this to you is very wrong. ;)

Paying the price he quotes me, the savings comes from getting the hot water heater wholesale so far as I know. A consumer/business relationship isn't the same as an employer/employee, but I gather you already know that from the emoticon.

George Anderson
01-17-2012, 07:13 PM
:D
Paying the price he quotes me, the savings comes from getting the hot water heater wholesale so far as I know. A consumer/business relationship isn't the same as an employer/employee, but I gather you already know that from the emoticon.

Nah, I kinda figured I caught ya using "scab labor" but I know you would never, ever do that. :D

Roy Tucker
01-18-2012, 12:12 AM
A comment about contractors....

Ask what the discount is if you pay cash. It can be significant.

Scrap Irony
01-18-2012, 12:31 AM
Check your water heater at least once a week for leaks.

We just got through paying through the nose (just under $1,000) because I hadn't checked it for a couple months.

GAC
01-18-2012, 05:43 AM
The furnace I figure could have 5+ more years maybe, so I'm just planning on keeping an eye on it, and maybe start saving money to replace it.

Have a furnace company come in and inspect it, and even service it if needed. The cost is usually pretty minimal. That way you'll know where you stand and have a better idea.

Roy Tucker
01-18-2012, 02:59 PM
If you are waiting for the water heater or furnace to die before replacing, I can guarantee you that will happen at the most inopportune and inconvenient time.

And you will be without hot water or heat for days. That is no fun.

As Barney Fife says, nip it in the bud.

LoganBuck
01-18-2012, 03:06 PM
Make sure you have good homeowners insurance, and theft policies. Evaluate them regularly. Make two copies of an inventory of possessions. Keep one on hand, and one at another secure location. Should the first copy be destroyed, stolen or lost. Make sure your policy covers damage from broken glass, not just replacing broken glass. Not all policies do.

Remember to change your furnace filters regularly, I choose the first day of every odd numbered month. (Of course, I have asthmatics with allergies living with me). Filters can be purchased by the case from a LOCAL hardware store much cheaper than the chains, just figure out what you need, and ask them to order them for you, you can save almost half.

Have both a home defense and emergency plan worked out. Fires, floods, severe weather, power outages, bad guys, etc, etc. Think about all of them.

If you have a basement with a sump pump does it have battery backup?

George Anderson
01-18-2012, 04:28 PM
If you have a basement with a sump pump does it have battery backup?

+10000

Redsfaithful
01-18-2012, 04:57 PM
If you are waiting for the water heater or furnace to die before replacing, I can guarantee you that will happen at the most inopportune and inconvenient time.

And you will be without hot water or heat for days. That is no fun.

As Barney Fife says, nip it in the bud.

This is what my gut was telling me, I think you are right.

Looking into contracting with an HVAC company also, thanks everyone.