Hooray! You just closed on a new home. While the basics of homeownership - like mowing the lawn or paying your mortgage - are pretty obvious, there are some ins and outs of homeownership that no one really tells you about. However, some of these small details can result in some pretty big repair bills if left neglected. 

1) Find Your Main Water Shutoff Valve

If water is gushing out of a broken pipe - the last thing you want to do is waste precious time trying to find the main water shutoff.

"Before disaster hits, find your water shutoff valve, which will be located where a water main enters your house," the website houselogic.com said. "Make sure everyone knows where it's located and how to close the valve. A little penetrating oil on the valve stem makes sure it'll work when you need it to"

In addition, locate the shutoff for toilets and sinks as well and make sure they're not corroded and can turn easily.

2) Change Your Air Filters Regularly

As soon as you move into your home and then every 90 days thereafter you'll want to change the filters in your HVAC system.

"Changing your air filter not only helps keep your air clean, but it also reduces dust in your home and extends the life of your furnace," budgetdumpster.com said. 

Dirty filters will also affect the efficiency of your system, which means bigger power bills.

3) Change Your Locks

This may seem obvious, but in the chaos of moving it can often be overlooked.

"Changing all the locks is always my number one recommendation to new homeowners," said Kazantzis Real Estate Agent Keri Roy, who suggests calling a locksmith before you even move in. "The previous homeowner could have given keys to a babysitter, service professionals, or neighbors. You really have no way of knowing."

4) Compare and Save

Did you know you may be able to lower your property taxes? Do some research and compare property taxes with similar homes in your neighborhood (size, upgrades, etc.). If you find you're paying higher taxes than your neighbors, you could protest your tax rate with the assessor's office.

5)Water Heater Maintenance

Your water heater is easy to forget until you find a puddle of water on the floor or you step into a cold shower.

Simple yearly maintenance can help you extend the life of your water heater while also maintaining its safety and efficiency. This includes checking the pressure relief valve.

According to familyhandyman.com, "this valve opens automatically if the pressure inside the tank gets too high. (Excess pressure can actually cause the tank to explode.) To test it, place a bucket below the discharge pipe on your water heater tank and gently lift the lever on the pressure-relief valve."

You'll also want to drain the sediment from the tank.

"Sediment buildup shortens the life of your water heater and adds to your energy bill by reducing its efficiency."

6) Plan now for emergencies. 

Home emergencies have a way of cropping up at the worst time. The simple truth of homeownership is it's not if these things will happen, but when. so it's better to have a game plan.

"Ask your new neighbors for the names of any tradespeople they’d recommend, including plumbers, electricians, and handymen, or get an Angie’s List membership and start researching highly rated contractors in your area," House and Hammer recommends.

Kazantzis Real Estate Agent Val MacNeil suggests changing the batteries in your home's smoke detector as soon as you move in, and then every six months after that.

House and Hammer also suggests:

  • Looking up the numbers for poison control and local emergency services and putting them on the fridge. 
  • Finding all of your emergency exits, and make a family fire plan that also designates a meeting point outside.

7)  Use home inspection report to plan future upgrades

It's true, home inspection reports can highlight some serious problems with a property. However, even if the inspector's findings weren't deal-breakers, you can use the report as a road map of projects you'll want to tackle. 

"Your home inspector should give you a comprehensive report indicating the condition of all the major systems and structural parts of your home," House and Hammer said. "Ours probably had like 50 items that “needed attention,” and this originally formed the basis of our long-term home improvement game plan."

Don't get overwhelmed. Start small and prioritize.

8) Get Ready for Winter

Before the cold winter months arrive, you'll need to store hoses and turn off the water to outside spigots

"You don’t want water freezing in your garden hose or faucet and breaking the pipes. In the basement, just follow the pipe from the faucet to the nearest shut-off valve, and turn it clockwise or so it’s perpendicular to the pipe," American Home Shield suggests.

If you have underground sprinklers, you'll want to have them blown out to protect the pipes from freezing.

9) Clean out your dryer vent

Dryer fires are one of the most common house fires. You're probably used to cleaning the lint screen after each load, but lint still builds up in the dryer tube.

"Clean it out with a vacuum or a long, bendy brush once a year to improve your dryer’s efficiency (and so it doesn’t catch fire)," American Home Shield said.

10) Clean your gutters

To make sure your gutters are working properly, you'll want to clean out the leaves and other debris twice a year - once in the fall and again in the spring.

"Debris-ridden gutters can tear away from your house, overflow, or cause damage to your foundation and sidewalks," Angie's List said. 

If you have a multi-story home, you may want to consider getting a professional to do this. 

11)Find Your Circuit Breaker Box

If the circuit breaker trips, you don't want to be fumbling around in the dark trying to figure out where it is and how to reset it.

While you're familiarizing yourself with your new home, find the circuit breaker then test which switches control power to the different areas in your home. If it's already labeled, you'll still want to test to make sure the labels are correct.

12)Call 811 Before You Dig

If you hit a utility line while digging in your yard, not only can it be dangerous it can also result in a huge repair bill.

Before taking on a project - whether it be planting new shrubs or installing a new fence - you'll want to call the National Dig-Safety Hotline at 811. 

"They'll send the utility companies out to mark the locations of underground pipes, wires, and cables. Not only will you avoid expensive repairs and neighborhood-wide cable outages with 811's help, but you'll also ensure that any work you do on your property will be conducted under much safer conditions," AHS said.

13) Check Your Attic Insulation

Making sure your home is well-insulated could save you up to 30 percent on your energy bills.

"The attic is the easiest place to add insulation to improve your home’s energy efficiency," AHS said. "If your attic inspection reveals that the tops of your floor joists are visible, then your home is insufficiently insulated. The recommended amount of insulation for most attics is about 10 to 14 inches of material, depending on the type of insulation used."

If you need more insulation, you might as well do it while the attic is empty.

14) Tackle Projects Before Moving In

One of the biggest inconveniences of home improvement projects is how they can disrupt your life. Taking care of these projects, like painting, before you move in can alleviate the hassle.

"There’s nothing more inconvenient than having to paint a home while you’re living inside. Not only will the house be swarming with professional painters throughout the day, but you’ll also have to smell and breathe in those less than pleasant paint fumes. To avoid this inconvenience, go ahead and schedule the painters to repaint the walls before the move takes place," moving.com said. 

15) Deep Clean Before Moving In

The previous owners are expected to leave a home broom-swept. In no way should you expect the home has been deep cleaned or sanitized. It will be much easier to give your home a deep clean while it's empty. Clean the floors and windows. Scrub the bathroom.

MacNeil also suggests having carpets professionally cleaned before you move in.

"You may as well start off on the right foot," she said.