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>>Do you know what a (chimney) spark arrestor is? Did you know that animals can dislodge them and put a home at risk for fire? Do you know that tree branches should be cut at least fifteen feet away from chimneys?

>> Do you know the importance of going outside every few months and checking the dryer vent for blockage and/or rodent entry? Do you know how to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning by checking to see if the furnace and water heater vents are blocked? Do you know how often to change the furnace filter?

>> When looking at exterior decks, do you know the difference between composite (Trex/Fiberon), redwood and Douglas fir? Do you know the maintenance requirements for each of these? Are you aware that—excluding fire—water does the most damage to wood decks and siding?

>> Do you know the importance of checking eaves for small openings that allow bats/wasps/spiders/moths to enter? Do you know the difference between caulk and sealant? Do you know which local insects/animals are known to invade homes? Do you know if the home is prepared for the battle ahead?

>> Do you know how to shut the household water off from the street? Do you know how to stop water from flooding a home by turning off the angle stop valve under the sink? Do you know where the main gas turnoff valve is located? Do you have a wrench capable of shutting it off?

>> Do you know if the home is built on a concrete slab, or does it have a crawlspace/buildup? Do you know to have a trusted pest professional thoroughly check the crawlspace at least once a year for animal entry/termite infestation/plumbing leaks?

If you answered “no” to many of these questions, I strongly recommend you do some internet research on basic home maintenance. Owning a home is the most satisfying thing in the world… as long as you can master the art of turning a valve now and then.

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