Life in Portland

What Not to Do As a New Homeowner

Don't let the excitement of owning a house cause you to overlook the basics in protecting your new investment. Here are five classic boo-boos new homeowners often commit - and a little insight on why each is critically important to avoid.

Not Knowing Where the Main Water Shutoff Valve Is: I am guilty of this one! When a pipe breaks or water starts bursting out of your fixtures, you can lose gallons of water (expensive in Portland!) in a matter of minutes. And as a new homeowner, water damage from soaking your drywall, floors, or valuables is not the best way to start! Make sure everyone in the house knows where the main water shutoff valve is located, so if the water ever starts spewing, everyone will be able to jump to action and shut it off!

 

Not Calling 811 Before Digging a Hole: First Spring in your new home? Time to plant new trees, and build new fences. You eagerly start digging a hole to house a new cherry tree...when, oops! You've broken through your sewer line and cost yourself thousands of dollars in repairs. Instead, you could have called 811, a free and accessible service, and the city will come out and mark the location of underground pipes, cables, and wires so you can avoid hitting them. 

 

Not Checking the Slope of Foundation Soil: With all the rain we get here in the Pacific Northwest, it is very important to make sure your foundation slopes away from your house at least 6 inches, to over 10 feet. Water can soak the soil around exterior walls, building up pressure that can cause leaks and cracks in your foundation. You should also make sure your downspouts are directing water to at least 5 feet away from your house.

 

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Not Knowing the Depth of Attic Insulation: Take a quick trip up into your attic - can you see the tops of the joists? If yes, then you definitely do not have enough insulation up there and are losing a lot of heat (and therefore, money) through your roof in the winter. The recommended insulation for most attics is about  10 - 14 inches deep, depending on the type of insulation you choose. If in doubt, another thick layer of a blow in insulation can only be a good thing to improve your energy efficiency!

 

Carelessly Drilling into Walls: Hanging shelves, closet systems, and artwork means drilling into your walls - but do you know what's actually back there? Hidden inside your walls are an invisible network of plumbing pipes, ductwork, wires, and cables. You can check for some of these and avoid costly repairs by using a stud finder - a $25 battery-operated tool that detects changes in density to sniff out studs, cables, and ducts. 

Thank you All Things Real Estate issue vol.4 issue.8 for sharing the content of this article.