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What to do ASAP as a New Homeowner

by Houselogic

It’s finally yours. Your very own home. You can paint the walls whatever you like. Heck even knock out a wall! There’s no landlord to fight you.

But if you’re serious about developing good homeowner habits (so your home makes you richer, not poorer), you’ll use this worksheet the minute you close on your home — if not before. Easier to do now than suffer some head-slapping regrets later.

Security & Safety

These are the very first things you should do after buying a house (for obvious reasons):

1. Change locks. Spares could be floating around anywhere.

2. Hide an extra key in a lockbox. Thieves look under flower pots.

3. Reset the key codes for garage doors, gates, etc. The former owners might’ve trusted half the neighborhood.

4. Test fire and carbon monoxide detectors. Who knows when the last time was. Definitely install them if there are none.

5. Check the temperature on your water heater, especially if you have young ones, so it won’t accidentally scald. Manufacturers tend to set them high. (but the best temperature setting for hot water is 120 degrees).

6. Make sure motion lights and other security lights have working bulbs.

7. Put a fire extinguisher in the kitchen and each additional floor.

Maintenance Planning

Start your master maintenance plan (and good home-keeping habits) by setting reminders in your calendar to do these basic maintenance tasks:

8. Clean out the dryer hose and vent yearly. Clogged ones burn down houses. And you don’t know the last time the previous homeowner did it.

9. Change your HVAC filters at least once a season. You’ll save on heating and cooling — and your unit will last longer. (While you’re at it, go ahead and stock up on them, too.)

10. Schedule HVAC maintenance for spring and fall.

11. Clean your fridge coils at least once a year. It’ll run better and last longer. (Don’t see any coils? Lucky you! Newer fridges often have coils insulated, so there’s no need for annual cleaning.)

12. Drain your water heater once a year.

13. Clean your gutters at least twice a year.

14. And if all items on your inspection report were not addressed, make a plan to fix them — before they become bigger and more expensive repairs.

Emergency Preparedness

You really really don’t want to be figuring any of this out in a real emergency. Do it now. You’ll sleep better and be less likely to ruin your home.

15. Locate the main water shut-off valve. Because busted pipes happen to almost every homeowner at least once. And water damage is value-busting and pricey to fix.

16. Find the circuit box and label all circuit breakers.

17. Find the gas shut-off valve, too, if you have gas.

18. Test the sump pump if you have one. Especially before the rainy season starts.

19. List emergency contacts. You already know 911. These are the other numbers you often need in an emergency. You should have them posted where they’re easy to see.

Your utility companies

Your insurance agent

Plumber

Electrician

20. Assemble an emergency supply kit. Some key items are:

Flashlights and batteries

Non-perishable food and water

Blankets and warm clothing

A radio, TV, or cell phone with backup batteries

Home & Mortgage Documents

In case there’s a dispute with your mortgage lender or a neighbor over property lines, or if you’re a bit forgetful about due dates.

21. Store copies (the originals should be in a fireproof safe or safety deposit box) of important home documents so they’re readily available. Go paper, cloud, or better, yet, both.

Lender contact information

Property survey

Inspection report

Final closing documents

Insurance documents

22. Set mortgage and other bills to auto-pay so you’re never late.

Times have changed but Watkins still fully invested

by Mississippi Business Journal, Author Nash Nunnery

Adam Watkins officially launched his real estate career the day he graduated from William Carey College (now University) nearly two decades ago.

There were no smart phones, text messaging, Realtor.com or Zillow. The highest tech tool used in real estate transactions was the fax machine. Comparatively, the process of buying and selling homes now is immersed in technology.

Watkins, who earned his MBA from Tulane in 2013, recalls when the Multiple Listing Service was a printed book and each office held keys to listings, requiring agents to pick up and return keys prior to and after each showing.

Times have changed.

“When I started, the MLS was downloaded daily onto a computer, contracts were faxed (not scanned or e-mailed) and computerized lock boxes were being used,” said Watkins. “There have been so many technological changes, so the primary change in the real estate has been how we deliver and receive information and data.”

A Hattiesburg area broker/listing partner with The All-Star Team Realtors, Watkins was recently installed as president of the Mississippi Association of Realtors. He says his long-term involvement in the association side of the business coincided with his career as a licensee and Realtor.

“We want to strive to improve and protect the rights of our members to conduct their businesses in the most ethical way possible, as well as consumers and clients who are making their largest Investments,” he said. “The theme for the year is ‘Take the L.E.A.D. (Leadership, Education, Advocacy, Dedication)’. Our desire is to help each member connect with their calling as Realtors and to be leaders in their communities.”

For Watkins, the lure of the real estate business started early. As a boy, he was fascinated with land, homes and property. Growing up east of Petal in the tiny community of Runnelstown, Watkins began studying real estate guides and developing local knowledge of the Hattiesburg market in middle school.

“In hindsight, being drawn into the real estate business was almost inevitable,” he said. “My dad and his family were home builders and developers. As a little kid, I was always interested in home construction. I’d even ‘show’ the homes my dad built to anyone who was walking through – including his Realtor.”

During his college years, Watkins worked on the staff of Hattiesburg realtor DeLois Smith. After graduation, he earned his real estate license and made his first sale in March 2002. By 2007, Watkins partnered with Smith and formed The All Star Team, with offices in west Hattiesburg and Petal.

The Petal of Watkins’ youth is no more. Over 40 years ago, the former sleepy hamlet incorporated as a city and created the Petal Separate School District. A small community with very little industry or resources previously, Petal was transformed into a viable city, says Watkins.

“Much of Petal’s attractiveness and appeal can be linked to the consistent success of the school district,” he said. “Our growth also has been solidified with the addition of the Evelyn Gandy Parkway, which has really improved access.”

Regardless of the technology changes in the insurance industry, Watkins believes there is one constant – people.

“Ultimately, relationships and the sincere desire to serve others in an adaptive way is a uniquely human experience,” he said. “There is no technology or website portal than can adequately analyze the market and the individual needs of clients.

“I’ve actually found my greatest success in what some call a ‘down’ market. Why? People will always possess the need to buy and sell property.”

Real estate runs deep in the family, as Watkins’ wife Amelia also is a licensed realtor. Despite the 24-7 cycle of the realty business, the couple spend lots of time serving in their church, where the Watkins are involved in choral activities.

“Our church is like a family to us, and it’s where I learned about service,” said Watkins. “I find that is extends beautifully to our work as Realtors.”

Watkins began his term as MAR president Nov. 5. He praised the dedication and service of those before him, those that helped him understand the importance of advocacy for member realtors.

“When you’re fully invested in this business, it truly becomes a part of who you are,” he said. “It doesn’t ever leave you.”

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The All-Star Team, REALTORS®
Bringing you home...again and again!
4 Willow Bend, Suite 2A
Hattiesburg MS 39402
601.545.3900
800.335.6477

The All-Star Team, REALTORS brings you over 200 years of accumulated experience along with the most innovative marketing strategies in the real estate industry. We specialize in the real estate properties located in Hattiesburg, Oak Grove, Petal, Sumrall, Purvis, Columbia, and the entire Pine Belt region. Put The All-Star Team, REALTORS® to work for you as you consider your next home sale or purchase. Experience the team approach to real estate and make us your REALTOR® for life! See how The All-Star Team, REALTORS® really is bringing the Pine Belt home again and again.