What Not to do as a New Homeowner

If you’re new to homeownership, you’ll definitely want to avoid these boneheaded but easy to prevent mistakes that could cost you big time.

1. Not knowing where the main water shut off valve is
Water from a burst or broken plumbing pipe can spew dozens of gallons into your home’s interior in a matter of minutes, soaking everything in sight—including drywall, flooring and valuables. In fact, water damage is one of the most common of all household insurance claims.
2. Not calling 811 before digging a hole
Ah Spring! You’re so ready to dig into your new yard and plant bushes and build that fence. But don’t – not until you have dialed 811, the national dig safely hotline. The hotline will contact all your local utilities, who will then come to your property – often within a day – the mark the location of underground pipes, cables and wires. This free service keeps you safe and helps avoid costly repairs. In many states, calling 811 is the law, so you’ll also avoid fines.
3. Not checking the slope of foundation soil
The ground around your foundation should slope away from your house at least 6 inches over 10 feet. This will make sure that water from rain and melting snow doesn’t soak the soil around your foundation walls, building up pressure that can cause leaks and crack your foundation, leading to mega-expensive repairs.
4. Not knowing the depth of attic insulation
This goes hand-in-hand with not knowing where your attic access is located. Find the ceiling hatch, typically a square area framed with molding in a hallway or closet ceiling. Push the hatch cover straight up. Get a ladder and check out the depth of insulation. If you can see the tops of joists, you definitely don’t have enough.
5. Carelessly drilling into walls
Hanging shelves, closet systems and artwork means drilling into your walls, but do you know what’s back there? Hidden inside your walls are plumbing pipes, ductwork, wires, and cables.
6. Cutting down a tree
The risk isn’t worth it. Even small trees can fall awkwardly, damaging your house, property, or your neighbor’s property. In some locales, you have to obtain a permit first. Cutting down a tree is an art that best left to a professional tree service. Plus trees help preserve property values and provide shade that cuts energy bills.