So you’re a first time homeowner congratulations! Or maybe you’ve relocated to a new area. What if there’s an emergency, or what if something breaks? Do you know what to do?
Create a list of essential people in your homeowners’ network early, then you’ll have an easier time handling any problems.
Even if you have a home warranty that connect you with plumbers, electricians etc. Having others in your list is a good idea for possible second opinions or if you chose to forgo the home warranty in the future.
Maybe you’re the type who really likes to clean, you find it relaxing or rewarding. Even so, you’ll still want to think about finding a cleaner who’s worth the cost in case you’re ever in a bind, such as if a health issue, a deep cleaning, help with cleaning around the holiday’s when you entertain and have extra house guests.
Like cleaning, landscaping can be a home maintenance activity that many homeowners prefer to tackle themselves. Nonetheless, it’s never a bad idea to have a landscaper or two on call in case you need them. Allergies, recovering from a surgery, or any number of life events can slow you down, and in some climates, yards just won’t wait a week or two for you to get back on your feet.
In many areas, you’ll find high-school students with a truck, lawnmower, and weed whacker who operate their own small business in the summertime to earn money, and that could be completely sufficient for your needs.
House paint doesn’t last forever, whether inside or outside — but especially outside. To keep your house and fence looking nice and crisp, you’ll need to hire someone to touch it up every now and then. This is also a job you could potentially do yourself, but if you don’t have the ladders or the head for heights, it’s definitely worth contracting out, especially if your home has a funky Victorian paint job or some other specialized paint need.
A General Contractor
As a homeowner, there are always going to be little things that need attention here and there, possibly as soon as you move in. Chipped crown molding, holes in walls, broken windows, or doors that creak, whatever your issue, living with it might be fine for as long as you can stand it, but at some point, you’ll want your house to look as nice as it possibly can, even if that only happens right before you get ready to sell it.
Asking friends and family for referrals of ones they’ve used is a great start.
There are some emergencies that a general contractor can’t fix, so you’ll need to have some specialists on hand, too, in order to make sure your homeowner network has the right contacts in it. Water-related emergencies are a big one, so if you’ve got a clogged drain or leaky pipes.
Because water-related emergencies are usually acute (you can’t wash dishes with a clogged sink, and a leaky pipe can seriously damage the rest of your house), make sure you’re also asking questions about your plumber’s availability.
Do they make calls after-hours? Is there a cutoff time at night? How much is the after-hours surcharge? Maybe you’ll find one plumber for regular daytime emergencies and another for evening/overnight issues, but it’s never a bad thing to have several people on call when you really need them.
Like water-related emergencies, most electrical emergencies need to be dealt with immediately; they can be extremely dangerous and your house might not even be habitable until they’re fixed. And like plumbers, some electricians have more flexible hours than others, so it’s a good idea to have more than one on hand so that you can call for help no matter when you need it.
Composition shingles usually last more than a decade but less than 20 years, wood shingles last somewhere between 20 and 25 years, and asphalt shingles can last anywhere from 15 to 30 years.
The age of your roof should have been communicated to you during the purchase process to help you determine when you think you might need to replace.
One of the best but most unheralded perks of owning your own house is the fact that you can get to know your neighbors over time. Neighbors you know are usually good neighbors, and good neighbors are worth their own weight in gold. A good neighbor will grab your dog before the dogcatcher gets there when your canine has escaped and is ambling down the road. A good neighbor can also water your flowers when you’re out of town, spot you some eggs if you ran out, alert you to any suspicious activity happening on or around your property.
Some of your new neighbors will come introduce themselves, but you may need to take the initiative to go knock on their doors to meet them.
Your Real Estate Agent
Of course you aren’t ready to sell your house as soon as you move in, but keeping in touch with your agent is still a good plan. Your agent should be able to give you referrals for many or all of the vendors we’ve recommended you find in this blog.