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Seeking Advice From The Previous Homeowner Previous Page | Next Page


Try Angie's List!

The best source of information for the continuing maintenance of your new home is the previous owner. Hopefully, before closing takes place, you spent some time with the previous owner going through the house room by room to become familiar with all the aspects of the house. Most important would be the basic systems such as the roof, the electrical, the heating, the plumbing and the foundation. In addition, the previous homeowner can give you the names and phone numbers of contractors and other professionals (electricians, plumbers, roofers, carpenters) who have worked on the house and what they did and when they did it. You should try to obtain construction information such as wiring diagrams, blueprints or remodeling plans. It is important to know who picks up the garbage or trash and when they do it. You should also know who the fuel oil supplier is and when fuel oil is delivered, if you have an oil burning heating unit. You should be familiar with the location of the main shut off valves for water and gas, the main electrical switch, the fuse or circuit/breaker box, and the operation of the hot water heater thermostat.

Making Necessary Repairs

The pre-inspection report you requested before buying the house will give you information related to repairs that may be needed now and in the very near future. There are minor repairs to the house that you will be able to perform such as replacing a broken window, caulking tile in the bathroom, weather stripping or painting. For typical repairs, you’ll need to have the following basic tools:

· Straight blade and Phillips screwdriver (or combination screwdriver with interchangeable tips)

· Slip joint pliers

· Handsaw

· Hammer

· Wall Scraper

· Tape Measure

· Flashlight

· Plunger (one that works for both sinks and toilets).

Other repairs will require the services of a contractor. You will need to know how to find a contractor who is reputable. Here are a few guidelines you can follow to help you make the right selection:

1) Talk to people in you neighborhood to get the names of contractors suitable to do the repairs that are needed. You should also use local publications to put together a list of contractors.

2) Arrange to have the contractors visit you for an interview and a discussion of the work that needs to be done. Ask the contractor for the address of a property where you can see what work has been done.

3) Get free cost estimates from the contractors. Ask them to give you an estimate in writing in the form of a firm bid with a date that work will be started and completed.

4) A contract specifying what work is to be performed, all material and labor for the project, when payments are due, when work is to be completed etc., should be signed by you and the contractor you selected. It’s important to hold back about ten percent of the payment until after the work is completed.

5) The contractor should be required to obtain the necessary permits and make sure the work is inspected, if required by local government.

6) Be sure the contractor has liability insurance that includes bodily or personal injury, and property damage.

7) The contractor should provide a reasonable time of guaranteeing the work that is to be performed. Thirty days is normal, but the type of work performed should be considered. Manufacturers’ warranties could apply for a product that was installed by the contractor.

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Table of Contents | Homebuyer Course Start Page | Get Credit Score | Understanding your Credit Score

Budgeting To Buy a Home | Neighborhoods | Find Your First House | Inspect Before You Buy | Shop For a Mortgage Loan | Mortgage Home Loan Process | Credit Score and Credit Report | Home Mortgage Loan Closing | Being a Home Owner

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Edited and suplimented by Mory Brenner, Esq. For more information read our terms of use and privacy policy.