14 Common Household Problems to Fix Before You Move In
Lots of preparation awaits you after you buy a new home. This can involve finding a new school for your children, researching healthcare professionals in your new city, or changing your address with different institutions. One thing that is often ignored in this chaos is the state of your new property. The story doesn’t end after getting the keys to your new home, rather, it starts there. Your new home needs some looking after before you move into it. Something as small as a bug problem can start bugging you more after you move in.
Things like these need to be taken care of before you actually arrive at the new home with your family and belongings. If you tend to ignore issues like these after moving, it can cause inconvenience to you and your family. Think of the constant buzz of people coming to repair the issues you report, the fumes of paint if you painted the home after moving in, and so on. In addition to that, there are some problems, ignoring which can expose your family to hazards. So it’s not about convenience alone. Let’s look at the problems you should be fixing before moving into your new home:
1. Fire & Burglar Safety
We know these cannot be called common household problems. But we needed to list it first because many tend to ignore it. They can be a major safety hazard if not attended to before moving in. We aren’t talking of fire and theft insurance alone, but fireproofing and theft-proofing your home before moving in. Living in a house that hasn’t been secured in these two domains is a risk every day. This is especially true if you’re moving in winter, as 40% of fire fatalities happen in this season. In the hustle of moving in and unpacking, you might keep on procrastinating these tasks. Install a fire extinguisher, store fire blankets in your home. Call your family together, and practice fire drills. For theft safety, change the locks on your door at least a day before moving in.
2. Faulty Heating And Cooling
Before you move in, repair or replace your heating and cooling systems. An older heating system can act as a health hazard as old heating systems lead to carbon monoxide poisoning or fire due to gas line leaks. Better to ask the previous homeowner about the last time they got the heating and cooling system replaced. If their furnace is over 15 years old, call over the professionals and install energy-efficient systems. It is better to install new cooling systems too. But if you don’t want to install a new air conditioner, you can clean the condenser and evaporator coils, and replace only the filter. Also, make it a point to clean the outdoor equipment of debris.
See also: Winter Home Maintenance Tips
3. Window Drafts
Your new home might look perfectly fine. The windows might look as good as new, but are you sure they will keep the cool air out? Drafty windows fail to keep chilly winds out of the home, using up more energy from your heating system in the process. If you change the heating system but failed to change drafty windows, your efforts are futile.
An easy way to check for drafts is by taking a candle near the windows, if it blows out, you have your culprit. Apart from the chilly winds, such windows open doors to pollutants. Call over the professionals and get new windows installed before moving in. You sure don’t want the drilling sound and scraps of the waste left behind to irritate your family. So do it well prior to moving in.
4. Damaged Appliances
Sometimes sellers include appliances in their home sales. If you’re celebrating the fact of landing a home with appliances already present in it, maybe you need to reflect on the deal. Have you checked if they function properly? Don’t rely on the seller’s word, have a look yourself.
Try switching on and checking the functioning of every appliance on the property after you seal the deal. If any appliance is malfunctioning, get it repaired or order a new one.
The last thing you want is surprises after moving in – like finding out that the refrigerator, dryer, dishwasher, or oven doesn’t work. It can take ages to get faulty appliances to get repaired or newly-shopped appliances to be delivered. Why face inconvenience when you can solve all issues weeks prior to moving in.?
5. Pest Control
Pest control involves spraying the home with pesticides. Having this service done after moving in means toxic fumes for your family. Moreover, remnants of chemicals sprayed will stay on your furniture, sheets, and curtains. Why encounter issues like these when you can get pest control done before moving in?
Chances are that pest infestation was already pointed out by the inspection officer who inspected your property after you bought it. Trust the inspection professional’s word and call a local pest control service. Check if the technicians you approach have licenses. It’s important that the company you hire follows Integrated Pest Management techniques.
If there are no pests or bugs, check for termites and call for termite treatment service before moving in. Once this is done, install door sweeps at the base of all doors. Seal any openings under the doors, around the pipes, cracks in windows with caulk. This helps to pest-proof your home.
Also See: How much does a Pest Control Costs
6. Structural Concerns
Fixing structural issues should be a priority because moving into a home with evident structural damage can be risky. Go through the report you were handed after the home inspection. Prioritize repairing major damage like faulty wiring, drywall, or sloping floors. Cracks in chimneys, uneven gaps on windows and doors, bulging on walls are some obvious signs of structural damage. You can identify how much mending your home needs even before receiving your home inspection report. These are foundation problems, procrastinating their repairs will only multiply your troubles. Conducting repairs after moving in is both risky and inconvenient. So, call for professionals to repair structural damages as soon as they come to your knowledge.
7. Leaking Roof
Issues with seams, damaged roof tiles, or mere neglect can cause a leaking roof. If you’re buying an old property, there are high chances of roof damage due to weather. Small holes, cracks, or leaks are easy to repair with a tarp or roofing cement. But if the damage is intense, it’s better to replace the roof.
You can attempt this feat yourself with the help of DIY videos. However, it’s a job best left to the professionals since they recommend the right material and carry the appropriate equipment. Getting these repairs or replacements done before moving in is important. You don’t want roofers distracting you as you unpack after the move.
You’ll be occupied by a hundred things after moving in. A leaking water valve is enough to add to your concerns. Check the bathrooms, kitchen basin and under the sink for any leaks. If it’s a small leak, you can grab some handy tools and solve the problem. But if you come across incompatible piping materials, faulty fixtures, damaged waste lines, it’s time to call a plumber. It won’t cost much to replace a fixture. It sure will cost more if you want to replace the plumbing entirely.
If the house is old and the previous owner did not change the plumbing system for more than 30 years, it’s better to replace everything since PVC piping survives only 25-40 years. Do this well before you move in with your family as going without water supply while plumbing repairs are in progress will be tough.
9. Kitchen Remodeling
Most homeowners renovate their kitchens before listing their property on sale. This increases the market value of their property. But if your seller didn’t do so, consider remodeling it before moving in, especially if the house you are moving to has a 15-year-old kitchen. A major reason to do this is to make your kitchen energy efficient – through installing solar water heaters, adding skylights in the ceiling, and changing the old electrical appliances.
If energy efficiency is not on your mind, but your kitchen has broken tiles, missing doors, broken cabinets then it’s better to remodel it. Remodeling a kitchen takes anywhere between 3-5 months, depending on the complexity of the kitchen. So start renovating months before moving into your new home. Though you can stay in your home during kitchen remodeling, the activities are going to disturb your daily routine.
10. Peeling Paint
Older homes often come with fading or peeling paint. They need a fresh coat of paint both for visual appeal and maintenance. Painting the exterior of your home is necessary to prepare the walls against damage caused by the weather. Painting upkeep and caulking protect your house in the long run. Do this before moving in or shifting your furniture inside.
Painting while staying in the home is harmful to your family, not to forget the stubborn paint all over your furniture and appliances. Yes, even if you covered everything, some paint is going to make its way to your favorite furniture. If you’re in a hurry to move in, go with a single neutral color for the entire house. You can make changes to the paint later after you have settled in well.
11. Faulty Wiring
Take your home inspector’s words seriously if they have mentioned an out-of-date electrical system. An insufficient electrical system is a common problem in older properties. Such electrical systems can be hazardous if not attended to in time. Signs like dimming lights, stained outlets, buzzing sounds are clear indications of faulty wiring. While replacing an electrical panel takes no more than 4 to 8 hours, house rewiring can take as long as a week. If your move is scheduled soon, call an emergency electrician and get the wiring fixed immediately. This way, your family can move into a safe environment.
12. Drainage Problems
You really need to get the sewage line replaced if the property you bought is more than 50 years old. But if you notice damaged downspouts or clogged gutters, it is a good idea to install a new system of roof gutters. Water stains in the basement, mildew in the attic, and deposits on walls are signs of a poor drainage system. This poor system causes visual damage to your yard and landscaping. It also causes an increase in bugs around the house. Fix all drainage problems before moving in, so your belongings are not exposed to water or stink of mildew. If you decide to postpone fixing drainage problems, the condition will worsen and cost you more in the future.
13. Poor Ventilation
While visiting your new property, if a musty smell welcomes you, you need to relook at the ventilation. Poor ventilation leads to moisture that damages interior walls and harms structural elements. Apart from that, poor ventilation in homes causes a carbon dioxide buildup, exposing the residents to headaches and fatigue. So it is necessary to solve the problem before your family moves into the home. To do this, you can install ventilation fans in bathrooms with no windows. Installing extractor fans and attic vents doesn’t take long. Or you could just open all the windows to let in enough light and oxygen. If nothing works, consider installing a home ventilation system.
14. Elevator Access
We know this doesn’t fall under household problems. But it needs to be considered to save a blunder on your moving day. If there is restricted elevator access or a breakdown, carrying your packed belongings is a challenge, especially if your new home is in a high-rise apartment. To prevent such problems, talk to the management of the housing complex you are moving to. Let them know your moving date and enquire about the functioning of the elevator. If the elevator doesn’t work, arrange for external storage for the time being. You can do all this only when you plan this well before moving in.
Get to work and solve each of the common household problems mentioned above to make your move smoother. No one likes last-minute hurdles. Planning in advance helps you be in control of your move. The moment a problem comes to light, fix it or call the professionals, as it will make your move-in day less stressful.
How Long Does It Take To Repair Structural Damages?
It usually takes 1-3 days to repair structural damage to the foundation. But it depends on the size, age, and complexity of the property. It will take longer if you want to be present to supervise every move the repairmen make. Appointing professionals to supervise is going to lessen your load and fasten the repair work. Don’t attend to structural repairs in a jiffy since it involves the foundation of your home.
How Much Does A Pest Control Service Cost?
The cost of pest control depends on the size of the house. For a three-bedroom house, it will cost you $130 and for a larger four-bedroom house, it will cost you around $170. Charges increase if you go for a combined building inspection and pest control – costing you around $300 to $700 on an average. Even if it doesn’t fit your budget, it’s important to call an exterminator if you spot a termite or bedbug.