Original article from SF Chronicle
You signed what seems like hundreds of papers. You’re holding the keys to your new home. The door is open—and now it gets real. Being a homeowner isn’t just a title—it’s also a responsibility, and there are a few new habits you’ll need to develop to keep your home in tip-top shape.
Don’t be intimidated, though. The benefit of creating and staying on top of a few key habits means that the work will never feel overwhelming. The effort is well worth it, too: The benefits of caring for your property go beyond the physical improvements. As your personal retreat, you can feel more peace of mind in your home when you know you’ve given it some TLC. Not to mention that taking the time to improve your home can truly pay off in the long run and can help you avoid claims or costly repairs. Plus, staying claim-free helps you qualify for ongoing homeowners’ insurance savings.
1. Focus on home decor that pulls double-duty
As you add furniture, art, and more personal touches to your house, the space will truly start to feel like your home. Prioritizing multi-functional products like a pull-out couch or ottoman with storage space can help you limit the clutter—and there’s a link between minimizing excess items and boosting your mental health.
Some decor choices can even improve your physical health: Many popular house plants also serve as air purifiers. For example, the incredibly low-maintenance Snake Plant filters indoor air by removing up to four toxins and converting carbon dioxide into oxygen. That makes this the perfect accent to add to your living room or bedroom. It doesn’t need much direct sunlight or water to thrive, either!
2. Make sure your insurance protects your needs
There are new, unique insurance needs with every home and for every family. With Allstate, you can customize your homeowners’ insurance to make sure your special belongings (like musical equipment or sports gear) are covered.
Crunched for time with the move? Allstate lets you get a new policy online in just minutes, so you can show up to your closing well-prepared with proof of insurance. With additional discounts when you bundle other policies—like auto, motorcycle, or even boat insurance—getting peace of mind comes with the added benefit of saving more money.
3. While you have a blank slate, create an organized foundation
If you are moving from one home into another, it can be tempting to quickly sort items into the designated rooms as quickly as possible to get rid of those moving boxes. If you can, press the pause button before totally unpacking so that you can first set a game plan for organizing. Add closet organizers, assemble storage shelves, hang up coat racks in the garage—and so on. By putting everything away in the right place the first time, you are setting off on the right path. Not to mention the peace of mind that comes with knowing exactly where to find the things you need.
4. Learn climate-specific maintenance tips
If you’re moving to a new geographic area, this is a good time to study up on what to expect from the coming seasons.
Moving to a colder region? Learn how to winterize your home to avoid any unpleasant surprises like burst pipes or clogged gutters.
Headed south? Read what you can do to prevent pest infestations or to maintain your new pool.
Putting down roots in a flood plain? Install check valves in sewer traps, reinforce lower-level walls with flood-resistant materials, and customize your insurance policy to include flood insurance.
5. Add or update safety monitors
Smoke and carbon-monoxide detectors save lives, so functional ones should always be part of your home. Follow installation guidelines to ensure these safety monitors are appropriately placed throughout the house and perform monthly tests. (Tip: Set a recurring reminder on your email to test the alarms.)
For added security, burglar alarms or home-monitoring systems are relatively inexpensive and quite effective. With Allstate, you can even get a discount on your policy by adding security alarms, fire extinguishers, and safety monitors.
6. Assess landscaping and head-off concerns
To have peace of mind in your home, aim to evaluate threats to your property or exterior before a storm hits. If you had an inspection performed on your home before closing, start by reviewing those notes and the areas of concern that may have been flagged. Often something like the landscape sloping toward the foundation isn’t a deal-breaker while you’re buying a home, but it is worthwhile to examine once you’ve moved into the place.
While looking at landscaping, prioritizing concerns close to the house—such as branches that could cause roof damage if they fell or bushes close to the home that create a safe haven for pests. Weather-related incidents are among the leading causes of homeowners’ insurance claims, so taking the time to mitigate potential problems before they turn into actual problems can help you avoid a headache later.
7. Get to know your neighbors
Getting to know your neighbors isn’t only about being social, although developing friendships with those nearby can be a pleasant perk. When you have other people looking out for you and your home, you can feel peace of mind even when you’re away.
Start by exchanging phone numbers and letting others know you’re available to help with tasks while they are out of town, such as picking up the newspaper or taking out the trash. In most cases, the favor will gladly be returned—and you can also ask them to inform you as soon as possible if there are any questions or concerns with your house.
8. Put household check-ups on the schedule
Once you’re off to a great start in your new home, keep the momentum going by scheduling regular do-it-yourself assessments of your home: Check the landscaping, test the smoke detectors, declutter anything that isn’t bringing you joy and so on. Not only will this help give you peace of mind knowing that everything in your home is under control, but it could also help you save money by avoiding claims on your homeowners policy. Allstate offers claim-free discounts up to 18%¹.
Although responsibility is always part of the equation as a homeowner, you should also feel pride and comfort. So, check these tasks off the to-do list and then start planning that housewarming party with peace of mind.
It's still a great time to buy! Contact me to get more information on any of the homes we currently have listed. Homes are moving very fast in our current market, so if you see something you’d like to visit, please Contact Me to get started - Tracy Curtis, Coldwell Banker Realty [email protected] or call 415-910-0599.