5 Essential Tips for New Homeowners
So, you’ve finally managed to purchase your first house – congratulations!
A home is one of the biggest investments we get to make in life. And a savvy one at that, for you and your family.
However, after all the headache of dealing with home inspectors, lawyers, real estate brokers, and insurance agents – not to mention the volume of paperwork involved and the hassle of finding a local moving company to help move you in – you’d think it’s time to kick back and get a breather.
Unfortunately, owning a home does come with its fair share of downsides. Like not being able to call your landlord, for example, when you have issues that need addressing.
Nothing to give you anxiety, though, providing you’re privy to the tips that can help you overcome the surprises likely to spring up down the road.
Here are some of our favorite ones that will make your transition to the property owner a less bumpy one.
1. Learn how to identify problem areas in your home
As a homeowner, one of the best maintenance tips you should be cognizant of is detecting potential issues in your home before they morph into big, money-draining problems.
After you’ve been handed the keys, take some time to learn about the common issues that plague properties (there are always a few common ones) particularly if the home you’ve bought is an older property that was uninhabited for some time.
The good thing with learning to identify potential problems before they aggravate is that it could save you copious amounts of money down the line.
Some common problem areas to keep an eye on include:
- Heating systems
- Foundation issues
- Basement leaks and flooding
- Improper surface grading/drainage
- Signs of a leaky roof
- Exteriors – includes doors, windows, and wall surfaces. Caulking, in particular, is a common culprit here
2. Take on renovation projects one at a time
Need to make some changes in the home?
It is tempting to want to take on multiple improvements at once and get them behind you for good.
However, this can turn out to be a money pit that sucks up your finances dry. Not only that, but taking on multiple improvements simultaneously makes the home unconducive to live in, adding unnecessary stress to everyone’s everyday life.
Plan home remodels in a way that allows you to attack the reno areas one at a time.
3. Start an emergency house fund
Problems are bound to arise the longer you inhabit the house – serious heating, plumbing, or roofing issue, for example.
When it does, you want to be prepared as opposed to being caught off-guard by a surprise bill that you hadn’t planned for.
For this reason, it never hurts to start an emergency savings kit not long after moving in. This helps take some stress out of this inevitable homeowner experience.
4. Keep an eye on your energy usage
Pay attention to your home’s energy consumption and use this information to find ways you can make savings while reducing your carbon footprint as well.
You will be able to make a noticeable impact on your electric bill by making a few small changes. These include:
- Swapping lightbulbs in favor of energy-efficient LED ones
- Reducing the thermostat on your water heater to 120 degrees
- Moving the oven and refrigerator away from each other
- Scheduling an energy audit for your home
5. Create a homeowner’s binder
The home purchase process is not short of paperwork to deal with, as you will have noticed.
Before moving in, it’s important to secure all the important documents in a binder. Your mortgage and home insurance paperwork is not something you want to misplace.
After moving in, gather all other home warranties and manuals and put them in the same binder. Receipts for moving expenses incurred and any renovation projects undertaken can also go here.
This is important paperwork that needs to go into safekeeping.