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Things you must do when purchasing an existing house

Moving into a new house whether it is new or an existing homes is usually exciting event. There are many things to do such as change your address, let everyone know you moved, sometimes the kids need to switch schools, setup all the utilities, and the list goes on. Nevertheless, to protect you and your family there are things you must do in order to keep you safe and secure in your new home.

  1. Althought the previous owners gave you all the keys to your house you should still change out all the locks. First, you don't know how many others keys are still floating around out there. At some point in time most people may have given there neighbors a key to their house to look after while they were away on vacation or even a close relative. In the end you really don't know how many keys are out there and what the intentions are for someone who still has a key. The same would apply if you have a secure fenced in area which is locked. So don't forget to change your locks!
  2. Most homes today that have a garage are equipped with a garage door opener. Most garage doors are opened with a hand held garage door opener and some cars have the door opener built into the cars control. In addition many can be opened with the use of a key pad mounted adjacent to the garage door. Once again how many people have the codes or an extra garage door opener that can use it to gain acess into your house. Have all the codes changed in the hand held garage door opener and keypads.
  3. Smoke detectors. Here one just about everyone forgets about. If they push the test button and the alarm goes off all is ok, right? Wrong! It is recommended that all smoke detectors be replaced ever 10 years whether they still test ok or not. This is the estimate life expectancy of a smoke detector. Furthermore, it is also suggested that a smoke detector be installed in every bedroom and in the hallway outside the bedrooms. For those detectors that are tied to an alarm system I would recommend contacting your monitoring company for their recommendations. Smoke alarms are relatively cheap and are easily replaced unlike someones life. Change them if the previous owners cannot provide documenetation as to the age of the smoke detectors.
  4. Depending on where you live in Florida your home may or may not be connected to a public sewage system. If not your home is probably on a septic tank. There is one distinct difference between the two. With a public sewage system you pay a monthly fee and the City or County is responsible for maintaining it should anything go wrong. With a septic system there is no fees however the home owner is responsible for maintaining the system. Having the septic tank pumped out and inspected runs about $300 - $400. Most people who purchased a home with a septic tank rarely have the system pumped and inspected prior to closely. Therefore once you close on the property it is best to have the tank pumped out and inspected for any other problems they might find such as roots clogging the drain fields or leaks in the system. The only exception would be if the previous owners provide you with a recent inspection report indicating the tank has been pumped and inspected and is in good working order. They can also recommend how often the septic tanks needs to be serviced. A lot depends on the number of people living in the home and number of bathrooms. To replace the fields for a clogged septic tank system can run $6000-$8000. A properly maintained septic tank can last many years without any major repairs.
  5. The bathrooms have enough germs as it without adding more so why not start with new toliet seats. Who knows what has been spilled on the seat let along if anyone used them that may have had a contagious disease.