Santa Monica Beach, circa 1880s.
Whether you’re a house-flipping hobbyist or a first-time homeowner, signing on the dotted line is just the beginning of the battle. From 1-bedroom cottages to 20,000 sq. ft. sprawling estates, you’ve got your work cut out for you. If your plate is too full to dedicate substantial time to whipping your property into shape, you’re not alone. More importantly, you needn’t go at it alone.
Between maintenance checklists, ensuring your home meets safety precautions and regulations, preliminary cleaning and general handiwork, let’s be frank: there’s a lot to do. Assuming work, hobbies and social habits have your schedule pushed to the brink; let’s take a look at a few tasks the pros can take off your hands…
Silent-era starlet Alice White demonstrates…
Sure, the real estate agency probably kept the aesthetics neat and orderly while the house was on the market. But before the movers start unloading your 18th-century credenzas, collection of vintage fainting couches and taxidermied exotic animal petting zoo, you’ll want to do a thorough deep-cleaning. Both the visible and the concealed, mind you.
Some of the more commonly neglected areas are shelves and drawers, chimneys and gutters. The big, basic appliances are also at risk of having been overlooked: washers and dryers, refrigerators, dishwashers, water heaters – obviously these need to be in tip-top shape so make sure to double-check the vents, ducts and hoses. Don’t stress. If you don’t have time for scrubbing and inspecting, hiring an L.A. specific cleaning or handyman service to help is, quite literally, easier than ever.
Bogey and Bacall hiding from vermin atop their Hollywood home. (Okay, maybe not.)
Unless your house was built yesterday, scouring every nook and cranny for pests and other possible hazards is essential. Ideally, long before the arrival of your beloved family and worldly belongings. If you’re housing a termite colony (more common in the hills) or an extended family of rodents, it will be pretty apparent, but other infestations can be quite subtle. Stink bugs or ants might not be dangerous, but they’re certainly obnoxious and need to be controlled.
A thorough mold inspection should always be done. I’ve heard horror stories of mildew and fungus being covered up by a fresh whitewashed paint job, so be wary. While you’re at it, have someone check for radon leaks. The silent killer you never saw coming. If hunting for bugs and poisons doesn’t sound like it’s up your alley, all of these inspections can be performed by licensed and experienced professionals. Don’t put this one off.
John Wayne relaxes at his San Fernando Valley ranch house. Because his electricity works.
Upon a new home purchase, it’s absolutely vital that your critical systems – electricity, water and gas – be methodically examined to ensure they’ve been well-maintained. This is not something you want to put on the back burner. Not only is it a safety issue, but you can save big bucks on utility bills when your systems are running at their optimal energy efficiency. Furthermore, these aren’t the types of problems you want to discover two months into living in your new home.
Large leaks can be detected by your main water meter and you’ll also want to check each of your local shut-off valves to make sure they’re in working order. Your electrical panels, fuses, breakers and general circuitry should also be given a detailed inspection. If you’re plumbing or electrical skills are non-existent, don’t go DIY – send a skilled tradesman and enjoy your newfound peace of mind.