Buying your first home is an exciting and arcane process — I know, because we just did it! Especially if you're coming from an apartment or a rental, the ins and outs of taking care of your own space can be, well, all new.
The room where this may be most evident? In the kitchen, where all those appliances, plumbing, and storage issues come together to create a zone that's more prone to needing work than other, less-complicated rooms in the home.
Here are five things homeowners need to know about their new kitchen.
1. What makes it run?
Most kitchens these days are equipped to work with both electric and gas, but knowing what kind of energy hookups are where will influence the types of appliances you can use, should you decide to remodel or just upgrade a few things. Plus, it can inform your utility bill (try to get historical costs from the previous owners) so you know what kind of money you'll be spending month to month.
2. Where do the pipes go?
No need to take a course in plumbing, but you should understand the basics on how your pipes hook up to the main water source, plus where your hot water heater is located and where the shut-off valves are, if you ever have a pipe burst or a faucet that won't turn off.
3. How do you work your appliances?
Ideally, the previous homeowner will have left you with the manuals and some information about the ages of the appliances and if any of them are still covered by a warranty. If something goes wrong, you don't want to pay for it for no reason! Take the time to read the manuals so that you can properly work them and don't break them through user error.
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4. What are those surfaces?
These days, granite and composite countertops can look eerily similar; so can hardwood and laminate flooring. Make sure you know what materials you're working with so you don't ruin them by accident by using the wrong cleaning solution.
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5. Are there any pest problems?
While the previous owners may be reticent to disclose some of the usual pests, a thorough home inspection should uncover evidence of rodents, pantry pests, and other bugs. They should also be able to tell you what's typical for the area and what needs to be addressed right away. Not make or break, but you want to know what you're dealing with — and then deal with it before or when you move in.
What did you wish you knew about your kitchen when you first moved in?