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Since many a prospective buyer has an inspector going over the properties under consideration with magnifying glass and fine-tooth comb, the obvious after-purchase task is to tackle the checklist.

Harris Gross, of Engineers for Home Inspection in Cherry Hill, N.J., suggests that buyers setting priorities for repairs or improvements start with safety (structural and water-related) and comfort issues (heating, cooling) rather than then cosmetics “such as pink wallpaper, outdated kitchen” and the like.

Does that ever happen? Says Block: “When they call me to sell their home years later, sometimes they corrected most or all of the inspection items, and sometimes they end up disclosing the exact same list as their inspection report summary of defects.”

Barbone and McIlhenny both cited as important getting the heating system tuned if it wasn’t done by the seller under the agreement of sale.

McIlhenny recommended that the boiler or furnace be “serviced yearly and radiators bled if it is a hot-water system.”

For older systems, contracts are often arranged with service providers of annual maintenance.

But even if the system is brand-new, a buyer should ask the installer’s name and whether the warranty is transferrable.

If a home warranty was not offered as part of your purchase, buying one “makes sense because it covers items like appliances, heaters and water heaters,” Barbone says. “It is $500 well spent.”

And don’t forget those little things utterly unrelated to repairing or decorating but critical to living in any new place:

“Be sure to file a forwarding address with the post office,” says Barbone. “Make yourself familiar with trash-collection days.”

Says Millner: “The biggest mistake that buyers make is thinking that after they move into a house, they have to do everything at once.

“Generally,” he says, “that is not realistic, and too often, they end up doing nothing.”

©2014 The Philadelphia Inquirer
Distributed by MCT Information Services

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