Real estate agents tell us this time of year is the prime time to buy before the next school year begins in the fall. If you are on the hunt for a new home or have recently purchased one, there are several things you should do to get acclimated with and safeguard your new investment. Here are eight tips for new homeowners in Columbia, SC.

#1 Get the Appropriate Home Insurance Coverage

First things first, make sure your home insurance covers all recent improvements or additions and that you have a policy which includes “perils” such as flooding and sewage back-up. For South Carolina homeowners, being covered in case of floods due to severe storms and hurricanes should be a priority! So double check that you have the coverage you need.

#2 Locate the Main Water Shut-Off Valve

In case of emergency, like a pipe bursting, you need to know where the main water shut-off valve is in your home. Knowing where this lever is can prevent serious water damage to your drywall, foundation, ceilings, etc! The valve can usually be located in basements, under ground and covered by a metal plate (see image) or in a utility room.

#3 Locate the Circuit Breaker

As you hunt down that water shut-off valve, look for the circuit breaker box as well. This can be found in a closet, behind a door, in the basement or garage. Make sure to label the electricity controls with the corresponding rooms and sections of the home if this isn’t already clearly done.

#4 Inspect Attic Insulation

South Carolina summer months can be very hot and although you’d probably rather stay out of the attic, it’s worth the quick sweat to take a look at your insulation. If the insulation there is fiberglass, look for gaps and settled areas that may contribute to loss of cooled air and therefore higher energy bills. Contact a GPS insulation professional if you need assistance or insulation repair.

#5 Trim Tree Branches Away From the Home

If you have trees on your property, take a look at where the branches extend to. If they are touching the house or extending over the roof, we recommend having those trimmed away, a service Genuine Property Solutions offers in addition to tree removal as well. Contact us here for more details. Keeping the branches a safe distance from the house will prevent damages caused by high-wind storms.

#6 Clear the Gutters

Especially important for homes that have been sitting or not-so-well maintained by the previous home owner. Clogged gutters can lead to bigger problems such as roof leaks or water damage. We urge you to use extreme caution on ladders, however, and we offer our gutter cleaning services if you feel you’d rather leave that job to a professional.

#7 Check for Water Damage

This should have already been done during the home inspection before closing, but we suggest doing a thorough inspection yourself. Check under all sinks and look for spots on the ceilings. If you do find evidence of water damage contact a professional right away to ensure there isn’t an active leak going on and make any repairs needed to prevent further damage. Read more about the causes of water damage and our restoration tips in one of our earlier posts.

#8 Consider a Home Maintenance Plan

Genuine Property Solutions offers home maintenance plans which include regular assessment and repair of your entire property. By investing in a home maintenance plan, you’re investing in your piece of mind. Our customers who have chosen our home maintenance plans love knowing all aspects and functionalities of their homes are in excellent condition and are routinely being evaluated by professionals.

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For new homeowners, it’s vital to know your house and property inside and out and prevent problems before they arise. Additionally, taking steps like clearing gutters, trimming tree branches and investing in a home maintenance plan will help you avoid costly surprise repairs in the future! As always, contact us for any and all of your home maintenance needs!