Are you ready to move from renting an apartment to owning a house? Check out our essential basics and tips for a new homeowner.
Did you know that about 33% of people purchasing a home this year are doing so for the first time? If you’re in the process of becoming a new homeowner or just received the keys to your first house, odds are you’re feeling a little overwhelmed.
Even if you’ve rented a house in the past, owning one is a whole new ball game. You’re faced with a variety of responsibilities and decisions that you’ve never had to consider before.
That’s why we compiled this list of some of the best tips for new homeowners! With these tips, you can conquer your to-do list with ease.
Let’s get started!
- Create a Homeowner’s Files
From the moment you begin the process of purchasing a home, you’re going to be inundated with paperwork. To stay on top of it all, organization is key.
Create two homes for your files: one on your computer and one in a binder or accordion organizer. In these folders, organize things in sections so you can easily find anything you need.
It’s better to be safe than sorry, so save everything. From your mortgage information to warranties and manuals for your appliances, keep it all. If you ever need to reference something for insurance or repairs, or decide to sell your home in the future, you’ll have all of the necessary information.
- Assemble a Home Maintenance Team
Proper upkeep of a home is a lot of work, which is why it’s smart to create a list of professionals to help you as soon as possible. Don’t wait until an emergency arises to begin your search! Make a list of any services you might need, as well as ones you would like to have.
When creating your list, be sure to include the following:
- Roofing Company
- Pest Control
- HVAC Company
- General Handyman
Then there are optional services that you don’t necessarily need but might enjoy having. These include things like a cleaning service or landscaper.
It’s a good idea to have an idea of who you would hire even if you don’t need them right away. For example, you might think you can do your own landscaping, but then run into questions like, can pruning kill a tree? In this instance, having a landscaper you’ve already spoken to and are comfortable with can be a huge help.
- Meet Your Neighbors
This one can wait until you’re settled in, but at some point, you should take the time to get to know your neighbors!
First of all, being familiar with the people who live around you can be a great source of comfort.
Having friends in the neighborhood can also come in handy should you ever need to go out of town. You’ll always have someone to water your plants or bring your mail in when you’re gone. And, of course, you should offer the same services to your neighbors.
- Don’t Try to Take on Too Much at Once
When you first move in, having a list of improvements and changes you’d like to make isn’t a bad thing. It simply means you’re passionate about your new home! However, biting off more than you can chew will lead to overwhelm.
Instead of trying to take on an entire remodel all at once, make changes slowly! Separate your list of projects into two categories: wants and needs. Then, arrange each category by order of importance.
Tackle your most pressing needs first, then work your way through the rest of the tasks. Approaching your home improvements this way will help you to save money and give you time to ensure you’re making changes that you’ll love for years to come.
- Establish an Emergency Fund
Speaking of saving money, one of the most important new homeowner tips is to establish an emergency fund as soon as you can upon moving in. As a renter, your repairs were likely handled for you. But as a homeowner, you’ll have to foot the bill for any problems that you encounter yourself.
The toughest part about owning a home is that it can be quite expensive. Sooner or later, you’re going to run into a large repair, such as an HVAC or roof replacement. If you’ve prepared for such an event by maintaining an emergency fund, you’ll save yourself a great deal of stress.
- Familiarize Yourself with ROI and Neighborhood Caps
Any improvement you make to your home has an ROI (return on investment) value. In addition, your neighborhood has a price cap, meaning a maximum price at which a house can be sold.
Even if you have no intention of selling your home at any point, you should always be prepared for a worst-case scenario situation. Should there come a time where you’re forced to move, the last thing you want is to find that you’re unable to sell your home for what it’s worth.
Take the value of each project into account as you approach them and be careful not to improve to the point that the expense won’t be worth it in the long run.
- Clean and Paint Before You Move in
If you’ve ever painted a house before, you know that it’s much easier to do so without having to work around furniture and other objects. Not only that, but paint fumes aren’t exactly pleasant, and can actually be harmful. So, as long as you can fit it into your budget, you should do any painting you need to do before you move in.
Whether you plan to paint your home prior to move-in or not, you’re going to want to do a thorough cleaning. The previous owners might pay for professional cleaning once they move out, but don’t count on it.
Like painting, it’s much more difficult to deep clean a home full of your belongings. While it’s empty, scrub the floors and disinfect any surfaces, particularly those in the bathroom and kitchen. You’ll thank yourself on moving day when you’re able to unpack in a fresh and clean space.
- Get a Home Energy Audit
Believe it or not, your local utility company likely offers free home energy audits! A representative will come to your home and inspect it for energy efficiency.
After their inspection, they’ll give you a list of recommendations to improve your home’s efficiency and lower your electric bill in the process.
There are tons of small changes you can make, such as changing the type of lightbulbs you use or adding weather stripping to your exterior doors, which will have a drastic impact on your monthly utility bill.
- Make a List of Fixed Expenses
As a new homeowner, you’re going to be taking on a few expenses that you didn’t have before. To make budgeting easier, it’s a good idea to create a list of fixed expenses and when you’ll have to pay them.
Among your new expenses will be home insurance and property taxes. Both of these will sometimes be included in your mortgage, so it’s important that you’re aware of them in advance. By disregarding them, you may end up with a bill you can’t afford.
Take your time and do plenty of research before choosing your home insurance company. You need to have adequate coverage protecting you from potential natural disasters and other incidents.
The types of insurance you need will depend on your area. For example, certain areas require flood insurance, while others do not.
- Change Your Locks Upon Move-in
The moment you get the keys to your new home, you need to change them. We never want to believe that anyone would intentionally harm us, but home invasions are all too common.
While the person or family you purchased your home from are more than likely decent people, you should never take chances with your safety. After all, you never know who the previous owners lent keys to, or if a key was ever lost or stolen without their knowledge.
Tackle Being a New Homeowner Like a Pro With These Tips
As a new homeowner, you’re faced with a myriad of unfamiliar choices and tasks. But by following this advice, you’ll find that with a bit of careful organization, caring for your home isn’t as stressful as you may have thought.
If ever you feel overwhelmed by everything there is to learn and do, remind yourself that becoming a homeowner is a huge accomplishment!
For more tips on getting the most out of your home, be sure to take a look at our blog!