Wednesday, December 6, 2017 / by Angela Hunter
10 Ways to Improve Your New Home Before You Unpack
If you thought home buying was stressful, just wait until the moving chaos sets in! The key to maintaining your sanity throughout the process is approaching it with patience, clear priorities and realistic expectations.
Feathering your nest takes a lot of hard work, but it’ll be much easier if you tackle these 10 tasks before settling in.
Remove popcorn ceiling
Removing popcorn ceiling is fairly invasive — you have to cover the walls, spray the ceiling with warm water and scrape off the junk. So, knock this off your to-do list immediately. Otherwise, you’ll be stuck covering every surface in your home to avoid the mess.
Plus, if your new home was built before 1980, that popcorn might even contain lead or asbestos. Hire a pro to test for asbestos, and purchase a kit to test for lead.
Identify and fix water damage
Nobody wants to find water damage in their new home, but the best time to make that discovery is before moving in — when you can replace damaged drywall, trim, wood or carpet without exposing your family to allergens and odors.
Hopefully the only bugs you have to worry about are silverfish and a parade of sugar ants. But even if you hear the nighttime scurry of cockroaches, fear not — you can easily eliminate most pests with store-bought sprays and traps.
The best time to use all those nasty chemicals is before you’ve moved in or unpacked. Call an exterminator if things get too buggy to handle.
Identify and repair termite damage
If you see signs of termite damage — tunnels in the wood, a sickly-sweet smell or a sawdust-like substance — remove the drywall to see how far the tunnels extend, remove and replace rotted wood, and vacuum up any debris.
Consult with your termite exterminator immediately if you see or suspect a living termite colony.
Clean the air ducts
Duct cleaning usually isn’t necessary, according to the EPA, but if you suspect that the previous owners had a mold or vermin problem, don’t take a chance. Hire a licensed professional before you’ve unpacked anything — blowing out the ducts can be quite messy.
Deep clean the floors
Vacuuming around furniture is a pain, but steam cleaning carpets and grout in a furnished home is even more of a hassle. While your floors are still a clean slate, rent a steam cleaner from the hardware store or hire a professional to do it for you.
Before you clean, though, make sure that you’re willing to keep any cracked tile or old carpet. It will be a lot easier to replace it now.
Paint the walls
Now isn’t the time to obsess over paint swatches. Choose a good, neutral color that you can live with — you can always paint over it later. Before you begin, thoroughly clean the existing coat of paint, fill any holes or imperfections with spackle, and protect the floor with painter’s tape and tarps.
Unclog the dryer ducts
A lint-clogged duct can make your dryer slow and inefficient, but it can also start a fire. That’s why you should clean your new one immediately, before moving in.
While you can remove some of the lint with a wet-dry vacuum, purchase a cleaning kit instead. Its long, flexible rod works with your power drill, and the included attachments can remove enough lint to knit yourself a sweater.
Unless your home is brand new, it’s going to need a thorough cleaning. Use gloves, a damp rag, a bucket, a dust mask and your cleaning product of choice to clean each room. Start with the bathrooms, then move to the kitchen, light switches, trim and walls.
This can take a while, so make it a cleaning party by getting your friends and family involved. Just provide enough pizza and drinks for the whole gang.
Clean out the garage
It might not seem like a priority, but if you wait too long to take care of it, your garage will quickly fill with boxes and bric-a-brac.
Use a blower or wet-dry vacuum to remove any dust and debris, and clean the floor with a garage-floor cleaning product and push broom. Now’s also a good time to paint or refinish your garage floor.