Hmm, well from your OP it sounds like you will have an unfinished basement, no included appliances, and all incandescent light bulbs.
First thing I can think of is to change the furnace filter immediately, and drain the hot water heater within the first couple months of moving in. If there's no service dates recorded on the furnace (usually they write date of services on a sticker on the unit) get a tune-up scheduled in your first year (wait till this spring so they can check freon levels in the AC unit while they're there). You never know how responsible/irresponsible the previous owners were with those type things.
Obvious things like extract the carpet and do any painting before you move your junk into the house.
Our washer and dryer are Frigidaire front loaders. The previous owners installed them on a nice pedestal with a cubby under each just tall enough to fit a slightly heaping laundry basket. Very nice setup. If you've never owned a front load washer, make sure to dry out the groove in the rubber membrane that the door seals to after each load (no idea what beneficial purpose the groove serves) and always leave the washer door slightly open so it can dry out inside. Otherwise you get a washer that smells like Shrek's dirty underwear.
Light bulbs: Check out YALBT Forum
- I always buy 2700K or lower color temp when buying LED bulbs. Even then, some bulbs I've tried have a greenish tint, others have a yellowish tint, etc. It's infuriating that light bulb shopping has become so complex that you basically have to use trial and error. Makes me miss the good 'ol days of incandescent bulbs.
- I've had a very tough time finding LED flood lights that look decent and don't cost an arm and a leg.
- I've had good luck with "Luminus" brand A19 LED lights from Menards. On sale they're dirt cheap and they have good color.
- Don't get too infatuated with LED bulbs. I've found CFLs to be much easier to buy (4 pack of econobulb for $1) since they have consistent color characteristics. I don't get too hung up on the extra 3 watts a CFL uses over an LED when you're already 1/4 the wattage of incandescent. Some people hate the CFL "warmup" lag, some bulbs are worse than others, but not many bother me for indoor use. I have a mixture of CFL and LED bulbs in my house, depending on where they are and how much they get used (no need to put a $5 light bulb in the closet under my stairs that gets turned on less than once a month for 10 seconds). In cold Wisconsin, LED is a must for outdoor lights though.
This really depends on what sort of condition your house is in, and/or it's age, and how crazy your networking needs are. My house was built in 2010, so there's coax to every room already. Little/no ethernet cable runs anywhere though. We don't have many connected devices. My TV sits in front of our modem, so it's easy to hardwire that. Everything else runs off WiFi except my gaming PC upstairs which has been reliably connected via Powerline Adapter for the past 3 years without issue. We don't have a land line phone, so that's a non-issue for us.
Some other odds and ends:
- If you're going to finish your basement, be sure to plan on a sizeable space for storage. Americans have a lot of "stuff". Even if you don't, the next owner might, and if the house has a nice area in the basement for storage, that can be a great value add.
- On finishing basements: Fight to keep ceiling height as high as possible. Most basements already start with lower ceiling height than the main floor(s). When contractors build houses with unfinished basements, they rarely have any regard to the depth of the duct work they're running under the joists. Then another contractor comes and finishes the basement later and runs 2x4s or 2x6s under that duct work and the next thing you know you can touch the ceiling drywall with your head by standing on your tip-toes. I just added a basement bathroom last summer and was able to raise a large area of sofit covering ductwork by 4". I had to replace a 6' secion of 8" diameter return duct with a rectangular duct and simply put a little added thought into redoing the framing the the previous contractor had installed.
- Depending where you are in life, a chest freezer in the basement (since it's cooler down there anyway = energy savings) could be a great investment. It's nice to be able to buy a 1/4 beef or 1/2 pig and be able to store it. We just have one of those half-length chest freezers (about 3' to 4' long).
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