For those who believe in absolute home comfort, here is a list of 11 things you must know before moving into a new home.
1. New homeowners should familiarise themselves with the neighbourhood – that is, other properties that are close by that may pose a risk, including vacant stands and tall buildings that may have a view into their property. This will allow you to take precautionary measures or at least plan for any eventuality.
2. Property owners should know their house perimeter or in simple terms, the fence surrounding their home. They should determine whether the fence has any weak points and attend to them immediately. Homeowners should also look at the trees surrounding the property, and whether they can be used to gain acess into the home. Also check any pedestrian gates that may not be functional as security deterrents.
3. Homeowners should determine where the nearest shops/retail facilities are, and their earliest opening and closing times to ensure that they can buy what they need in those first two days of moving in.
4. Know the suburb’s access control times, if there is such control in place. This will eliminate the frustration of not being able to leave or enter the neighbourhood easily.
5. New homeowners should know if and how the property is exposed to rain – roof leaks, dysfunctional gutters and drainage systems can wreak havoc in a short space of time. The sight of wet furniture and boxes sitting on a drenched patio are not fun to deal with.
6. Familiarise yourself with electrical supply including the position of the Distribution Board (DB) in case of a trip while plugging in your systems for the first time. While you’re at it, determine the position of the gas bottles in case any kitchen stove, fireplace or built-in braai issues arise.
7. Learn about the property’s water supply, from the outside control point to the hot water in the bathroom. A cold shower should only be by choice. And in case the sprinkler system comes on while you’re enjoying the garden, it’s best to know where the location of the control system is.
8. It’s important that homeowners know the position of their alarm panel and the security company’s contact details in case they accidentally set off the alarm or have a real emergency. Remember that electric fences would have their own panel, which is generally in a separate area.
9. New homeowners should investigate the integrity of the edge fall protection, which includes balustrades on balconies and handrails along the stairs.
10. Homeowners should determine the integrity of the physical security such as door locks and gates on the perimeter of the house and the internal gates.
11. They should also know, without a doubt, the best place to spend time with family in the new home on a summer afternoon. Find out whether the space is cosy. Is it below a large tree or on the patio? It is most likely the one place you’ll gather to enjoy family time even on a cold day.
Moving into a new home is exciting because we imagine how comfortable we’ll make it look and feel. There is also the mystery of corners we are yet to discover and explore. The only surprises we should prepare ourselves for are those pleasant ones that make us appreciate the choice we’ve made. – Welcome Mashinini