What should a Home Buyer do when they close on their home?

That day has come. You and your family have moved into your new home. Of course, before moving in, you had your utilities turned on, packed, and arranging movers. Now I’m suggesting very strongly four more items a homebuyer should do when they close on their home.

  1) Change out all smoke detector batteries.

Let’s face it; you won’t know when the batteries were last changed in your new home. Please don’t take any chances and replace them when you first move in. Smoke detectors almost universally use rectangular 9v batteries. After this, the recommended amount of time for changing out smoke detector batteries is semi-annually (every six months). There is an easy way to remind yourself to perform this critical maintenance action: Change out the batteries every time you set the clocks forward or back for Daylight Savings Time. 

     2) Replace the air filters

Replacing the air filters in your home is one of the best things you can do to reduce maintenance and failure issues. About the quality of the air filter you purchase, don’t waste your money buying a cheap air filter. They’re only marginally better than having no filter installed at all. You will never regret purchasing a decent quality air filter. The Home Depot and Lowe’s carry a large selection of sizes and generally will have what you need.

Here, in the Las Vegas Valley, the air filters are most commonly located in ceiling areas. The single most common reason for homeowners not changing the filters as needed is that it can be painful to perform this maintenance action. Luckily, I know of a trick that makes it more accessible.

Go to the thermostat. There are hundreds of thermostats out there, but almost all of them will have two switches or buttons. One for “System” and one for “Fan.” The fan switch or control will have two settings: “AUTO” and “On.” The normal position for the fan should be AUTO. But when changing out the air filters, you should switch the setting to “On.” This way, the filter stays in place, and you can easily swap it out for the new one. 

Extra advice – use a marker and put to date on the filter, so you know when the last time it was changed.

3) Change locks and codes. 

It’s always a good idea to change all locks upon taking possession of the title and moving in. Remember to obtain master alarm codes from the seller and if the front door has a programmable lock, make sure it is changed to a number unique to you. The garage door keypad code should also be changed. Most keyless exterior keypads for overhead garage doors will have the procedure for reprogramming the combination inside the keypad cover.  

4) Verify the settings on your irrigation system control panel. 

Be aware that the Arizona Water Authority can fine you for watering your lawn on days or when it is not allowed. Yes, there are specific days and times when you should be watering and particular days when you’re not allowed to be flooding. All of this information is on their website.

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