So you’ve made (or are thinking about making!) the big jump into one of the biggest life investments you will make- buying your first home. This will be one of the most exciting chapters in your life but it won’t come stress-free. Owning a house and making it your home is such a fun experience. However, this isn’t quite the same case with the accompanying work and maintenance costs. Don’t panic- owning a home isn’t only reserved for those with an endless supply of money. Staying educated on the home buying process, as well as tips and tricks of homeownership will help you navigate this new challenge as smoothly as possible. Here are seven first time homeowner tips to help you be prepared for whatever comes your way.
First Time Homeowner Tips To Make Sure You Are Prepared
Rely on strict budgeting
Being money conscious is, of course, always a good idea. Owning a home can bring with it a dramatic change in your expenses. Therefore, strict budgeting for the first year is an important first time homeowner tip. Even if your mortgage isn’t that much different than what you were previously paying in rent, you’ll definitely encounter changes in utilities and additional expenses such as taxes on your home. If you research the true cost of owning a home, you’ll find that property taxes, homeowner’s insurance, and basic utilities to support a whole house rather than a small apartment will add thousands to your annual total.
In order to not live above your means, set a budget that is only slightly bigger than what you would have spent before you became a homeowner. This will help you save a cushion for any home emergencies that may arise as well as safely learn how to live within your new lifestyle. Stick to this budget for six months then allow yourself a little leeway. At the one year mark, reevaluate what spending is most realistic for your living arrangement.
Learn how to get your hands dirty…
You’d be surprised by how much you can do yourself. Plus, how much money you can save by choosing the DIY route when repairing your home. Tasks, like repainting, DIY backyard projects or changing cabinet hardware, will take a lot of time and grit but you’ll be able to save thousands on labor.
…But also know when you need a pro
Although DIY is a fun challenge, if the upgrade is less concerned with aesthetic and more with the necessary function of your home, strongly consider calling in a pro. Of first time homeowner tips, this is super important especially if you’re dealing with major electrical issues! Mitigate risk by placing the situation in the hands of someone who is trained to complete repairs safely and accurately. If you’re trying to repair burst pipes or switch out your water heater for a newer, tankless version, call in a plumbing professional to ensure your house is in the best condition possible!
Set up a separate account for maintenance
Half of the fun in life is all of the many twists and turns that come along. Although you can’t predict when emergencies will happen, you can take measures to be as prepared as possible. Create a separate fund for home repairs and necessary renovations. This is especially important if you purchased your home “as is.” Unless the house you moved into was newly built and you were its first residents, the chances of having to update something are pretty great. We had a plumbing problem the year we moved in. The HVAC system came up for replacing a few years later.
Prioritize upgrades by necessity not price
It can be tempting to push that major upgrade back because you’re worried it will break the bank. However, doing so may cause even more severe damage to your finances. If your home is in desperate need of a new, major appliance or an upgraded water heater, you’re better off biting the bullet and dealing out the cash. Doing so will not only provide you with a peace of mind (and probably an easier lifestyle, with newer amenities) but also prevent a major disaster that can cause expensive home damage.
Don’t be afraid of “used”
Buying a home is just the first step. Then, suddenly, you’re faced with this big gorgeous space and nothing to fill it with. Don’t overwhelm yourself with the idea that you have to buy an entire home’s worth of new furniture and appliances. Your major appliances have long lifespans, allowing you to get significant use out of them with minimal repairs. These appliances also come with a hefty price tag. Buying used or refurbished won’t deteriorate their expected lifespan but will save you a lot of money that can be used for furnishing your home.
Consider going green
Another of our first time homeowner tips is that when it is time for home upgrades, consider choosing eco-friendly versions of traditional home renovations. Not only will creating a more sustainable home help you save on monthly utilities but doing so will additionally add value to your home when it’s time to put it on the market. Real estate trends are predicting the majority of homebuyers belonging to the millennial demographic. Some of the top things the new homeowner is looking for in a home are progressive, energy-efficient appliances and features.
Opting for green upgrades such as switching out your water heater for a tankless version can save you money on your energy bill. Tankless water heaters take less energy to provide your home with hot water. Take steps to minimize water waste by upgrading your faucets to touchless versions. Motion sensor gadgets will help to cut water use in half, effectively turning off when you are no longer actively using it!
Becoming a homeowner will no doubt come with its trials and tribulations, but educating yourself on the various ways you can make the most of your new chapter will help you achieve success! I hope you find these first time homeowner tips useful and congratulations on taking this big new step. Buying a home is a great investment!