First Time Custom Home Owner Tips

You’ve just had your closing party with all of your neighbors and friends. Your superintendent hands you the keys to your brand-new custom home. Here’s what comes next.


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Your home will change over time.

Your home will change over the next year or more– The materials used during the building process (concrete, insulation, drywall, etc.) will exude moisture over the lifetime of the house. Concrete can take up to seven years to dry completely. You might see condensation on your windows or your fireplace, but don’t worry. You do not have a faulty fireplace or window, this is a sign of your home having a high level of humidity. 

Steps to take: Utilize dehumidifiers throughout your home, especially if you have unfinished storage in the basement. This helps reduce moisture from building up. Using humidifiers during the winter, when the humidity drops extremely low, can also help reduce shrinking in trim and wood floors. Most in-home thermostats now come with a humidity reading that helps gauge whether there is too much or too little humidity in your home. If condensation appears on an interior fireplace, do not be alarmed. This is the humidity that is trapped. To fix this, let your fireplace run for a few hours to allow it to burn off.


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In case of emergency, be prepared.

In case of emergency, know where the controls are – One of the most important controls to know how to use manually is your fireplace module. Each fireplace has a manual control module, with three switches, that can be battery operated in the event of a power outage. To make sure your fireplace is functioning, switch it on at least once a week to avoid any long-term issues. Our fireplaces are equipped with a 30-second timer, which is a safety feature, to prevent the fireplace from letting out too much gas. 

Steps to take: If you haven’t used your fireplace for 4-5 weeks, it may take longer to light. If the 30-second timer trips, manually restart the fireplace by using the control module. In the event of a power outage, locate your fireplace control to either 1.) turn on, 2.) turn off or 3.) reconnect to a wall switch/remote. This method can also be used if a wall switch/remote is having connectivity problems.


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Filter out the bad things.

Filter, filter, filter – A majority of home systems will have a filter that needs to be changed periodically. It’s important to change them at the correct time so your systems will continue functioning properly and last longer. While the filters in your recently closed home should last through a season, it’s always good to have extras on hand and to check them regularly. If you are in a community full of new construction, there’s a chance that there will be higher than normal dust particles around. 

Steps to take: Mark each of the filters with the date changed to be able to determine when it should be replaced. Furnace filters should be changed once a season, reverse osmosis filters should be changed once a year and a humidifier filter pad should be changed when going into winter.


Prepare for the spring.

Landscape prep for spring– While it may not be ideal to sod or seed during the winter months, it’s not always a bad thing. Sodding during the winter with dormant grasses can help to reduce soil erosion, keep mud and dust from being tracked, reduce weed encroachment and present a more finished appearance to the landscape. Seed and sod are less reliant on watering during the winter, as the soil is typically wet during winter.

Steps to take: If dry weather is occurring, be sure to water your yard enough to be damp but not soggy to help keep the roots alive.

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At Old Town Design Group, we make it a priority to make sure that you are always in control and aware of what to expect during the home building process, from start to finish. By utilizing our in-house team of experts, we are able to create your dream home in a timely manner and help guide you each step of the way.