When moving into a resale home, there some things that you will want to take care of. This list focuses on things related to the house, rather than all of the administrative issues like change of address notices, setting up utilities, telephone, television, etc. The Home Set-up section deals with things that are done just once. The Home Maintenance Program deals with regular activities.

1. Smoke detectors – Install or replace as needed. (Usually one on every floor level near a sleeping area.) Smoke detectors should be replaced every 10 years, and it is difficult to know how old the existing smoke detectors are. We recommend replacing them all.

2. Carbon monoxide detectors – Provide according to manufacturer’s recommendations, typically in every sleeping area.

3. Locks – Change the locks on all the doors. Deadbolts improve security and may reduce insurance costs.

4. Heating and air-conditioning systems – Have these inspected and serviced. We recommend setting up a service contract to ensure the equipment is properly maintained. It makes sense to protect your investment in these expensive systems.

5. Main shutoffs – Find and mark the main shutoff for the heating, electrical and plumbing systems. You need to be able to shut things off fast in the event of an emergency.

6. Electrical circuits – Label the circuits in the electrical panel, so you can shut off the right fuse or breaker quickly.

7. Wood burning appliances – Have the chimney inspected and swept as needed.

8. Outdoor air-conditioning unit – Make sure there is at least 3 feet clear around the air conditioner. Cut back trees and shrubs as needed.

9. Clothes washing machines – Use braided steel hoses rather than rubber hoses for connecting the washing machine to the supply piping. This reduces the risk of serious water damage due to a ruptured hose.

10. Clothes dryers – Use smooth walled (not corrugated) metal exhaust ducts to vent clothes dryers outdoors. Keep the runs as short and straight as possible.

11. Fire extinguishers – Provide at least one on every floor. The fire extinguisher near the kitchen should be suitable for grease fires.

12. Fire escape routes – Plan fire escape routes from the upper stories. Obtain rope ladders if necessary.

13. Safety improvements – If your home inspector has recommended any safety improvements, these should be taken care of immediately. This often includes electrical issues and trip or fall hazards, for example.


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