Two “Do’s” and One “Don’t”

You just closed on your new home, and can’t wait to put your “signature” on it.

What do you do first?

Smaller things, like paint and carpet — by all means. Other projects, like refinishing hardwood floors, are also best tackled before you move in, due to the smell, dust, and general dislocation.

However, my advice to clients contemplating bigger projects (opening — or closing — load-bearing walls; doing a major expansion, etc.) is to wait until you’ve lived in the house for a period of time.

That way, you can learn the home a bit better, and prioritize what your needs are. You can also obtain contractor quotes at your leisure, instead of doing a “fire drill” to line up everything right after you close.

Two other recommendations:

One. Until you’ve learned the homes’ mechanicals (furnace or boiler, water heater, a/c, kitchen appliances, etc.), consider getting an insurance policy to cover break-downs. Local utilities offer plans, as do companies affiliated with brokers (Edina Realty offers one through a company called HMS).

If nothing breaks, you’ve (wisely) spent a couple hundreds bucks on an insurance premium.

However, just one or two major malfunctions, and you’re well ahead. After a calendar year covering the full range of seasons and weather extremes, you’ll know whether to continue the policy.

Two. Don’t switch contractors, at least right away.

Your Seller likely gave you the names of the various contractors who have taken care of their home (if not, the neighbors likely use the same people).

You may want to consider staying with the same vendors, at least initially.

A least for awhile, it’s a good bet that the handyman who’s been patching the sidewalk; the irrigation company that’s been blowing out your sprinkler system every fall, etc. know your home better than you do.

That can save them time — and you money — when it comes to maintaining and fixing things.

About the author

Ross Kaplan has 19+ years experience selling real estate all over the Twin Cities. He is also a 12-time consecutive "Super Real Estate Agent," as determined by Mpls. - St. Paul Magazine and Twin Cities Business Magazine. Prior to becoming a Realtor, Ross was an attorney (corporate law), CPA, and entrepreneur. He holds an economics degree from Stanford.

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