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9 Tips for New Homeowners

You have the keys in hand. Your furniture has arrived. You can now enjoy home ownership. It’s exciting to buy your first house. Yet, you do have to get used to new responsibilities. Plus, you want to avoid expensive surprises. These top tips for new homeowners can help you to relax and enjoy your new abode.

#1 Get to Know Your Neighborhood

This is part of the fun of your home! If you’ve moved to a new neighborhood, you can go out and explore restaurants, coffee shops, gyms, walking trails, shops and so much more. It’s an opportunity to find new favorites. Find out the fun things to do around you!

Going out and about on foot will make it more likely you’ll get to run into your new neighbors too. You might also look to see if there is a homeowners association that hosts social events. Or participate in community garnering. Being willing to lend a hand and ask for help are other good ways to begin meeting your neighbors.

#2 Budget for Emergencies

Buying a home was a big expense on its own. You may have dipped into savings to pay the down payment. You could have taken on a larger mortgage than you were paying in rent. Still, try to find ways to put some money aside in case of expensive emergencies.

Nothing quashes home ownership enthusiasm more quickly than a major financial setback that you aren’t prepared to address.

#3 Schedule Regular Inspections

Now that you’ve met your neighbors, and started a fund to help you cover any surprises, reach out for local recommendations to help you avoid major home problems.

Ask your neighbors what local contractors they trust. It can help to go to them because they will often be living in homes similar to yours. Once you’ve lined up HVAC repair, plumbers, and electricians, you can also set up a regular inspection calendar. Working with these experts to do preventative maintenance can reduce the chances of a costly crisis.

Inspections to schedule regularly include:

  • HVAC (every six months)
  • Chimney (annually)
  • Roof (annually)
  • Termites and pest control (annually)
  • Foundation (every one to three years)
  • Plumbing and water mainline (every one to three years)
  • Electrical (every one to three years)
  • Mold and radon (every one to three years)

#4 Set Renovation Priorities

Whether or not you moved into a fixer-upper, you may have big plans for the changes you want to make to your new home. Home improvements can be fun, but if you tackle a lot of them at once you’re setting yourself up for stress. Establish what is the most important thing to tackle, considering your budget, and start there.

In fact, it’s often a good idea to live in the home for at least six months before embarking on any major renovations. This can help you decide what you really want to change and what will make the most impact on your life in the home. For example, you might think adding a deck out back is important when you first move in. Then, when you’ve actually been using your laundry room for months, you’ll realize that needs attention more immediately.

#5 Don’t Ignore Maintenance Needs

When you were a renter (or living at home) there was someone else you could expect to deal with any repair needs. Now, any maintenance requirements fall to you. Don’t put off getting problems looked at. They may seem minor now, but they could become much bigger. For example, even an unattended leaking toilet could lead to higher water bills as well as costly water damage and ceiling repairs.

#6 Create a Homeownership File

You might get an accordion folder or a three-ring binder but decide on one place where you will collect all your relevant homeownership paperwork. Storing your homeowner’s insurance policy, repair receipts, home warranty, and other warranties in one place can make things easier for you. Plus, if/when the time comes to sell your house, you’ll have the documents you need to share with potential buyers.

#7 Set up an Energy Audit

Depending on where you live, you may be able to get a free energy audit from your power company. Otherwise, you can pay a couple hundred dollars for an audit of your wiring, HVAC systems, windows, insulation, and doors. You’ll not only cut down on your power bill, but you can help ensure you are living as eco-consciously as possible.

#8 Consider Working with an Accountant

You may have otherwise easy income taxes and typically do your own returns. Yet partnering with a professional accountant could help you maximize the available deductions you get as a new homeowner. One major tax benefit is the mortgage interest deduction.

When you’re selling the home, an accountant can also help you maximize your tax-free earnings on your home’s sale. Especially, if you’ve kept all those repair receipts in the homeownership file mentioned in #6.

#9 Get Outside and Garden

This one can help you with meeting your neighbors. But it’s also good for your health (physical and emotional). Consider what you want from your landscape (Privacy? Room to entertain? Easy upkeep?) and make a plan. Planting shade trees can also help you on the energy efficiency front.

If you’re really not the green thumb type, you can at least ask your neighbors for a landscaping crew recommendation. Then, invite friends over to enjoy your new home both indoors and out.

With these helpful tips, we hope you’re able to settle in quickly and enjoy your new home. Still looking for the perfect house for you? Check out Saussy Burbank’s current quality craftsmanship homes in the Carolinas.

Saussy Burbank

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