Owning a home is an exciting milestone with numerous rewards, but it also brings new responsibilities. As a new homeowner, there are certain things you should know to make the most of your investment and keep your property in tip-top shape. Keep reading to learn tips for navigating your new role and enjoying your new home.
Get to Know Your Home
The first thing you should do as a new homeowner is to get to know your home. Walk through every room and make a list of any repairs or updates you would like to make. Check for leaks, cracks, or any other issues that need attention. Familiarize yourself with the location of shut-off valves and circuit breakers. Knowing the ins and outs of your home will help you identify and address any issues quickly.
Prepare and Save for Emergencies
As a homeowner, unexpected expenses are bound to come up. Whether it’s a leaky roof or a broken appliance, these unexpected expenses can be costly. Set aside money each month for emergencies, so you’re prepared when they arise. A good rule of thumb is to save 1% of your home’s value each year for maintenance and repairs. Furthermore, try to familiarize yourself with life-saving emergency procedures for your home, such as the actions to take in case of a flood, earthquake, or fire. Have a plan in place for evacuation and ensure that everyone living in your household is aware of the plan.
Protect Your Investment
Your home is a huge investment that needs to be protected. Consider getting a home buyer warranty to cover the cost of replacing or repairing your home systems and appliances. You should also have homeowner’s insurance to protect your investment. Make sure you understand what your policy covers and what it doesn’t. Some policies may not cover certain natural disasters, like floods or earthquakes, so it’s important to know what you’re covered for. Review your policy annually and make any necessary adjustments.
Keep a Home Maintenance Schedule
Maintenance is key to keeping your home in good condition. Create a home maintenance schedule to help you stay on top of regular tasks. Some tasks, like gutter cleaning, may only need to be done once or twice a year. Other tasks, like lawn mowing, smoke and carbon monoxide detector testing, and carpet vacuuming, may need to be done more frequently. By keeping a schedule, you can stay on top of the essential maintenance tasks and avoid costly repairs down the road.
Know When to Call in a Professional
While it’s important to do regular maintenance on your home, there are times when you need to call in a professional. If you’re not comfortable with a particular task or don’t have the necessary skills or tools, it’s best to call in a professional. Some tasks that may require a professional include plumbing, electrical work, and major repairs like roof repairs.
Make Energy-Efficient Upgrades
Upgrading your home to be more energy-efficient can save you money on utility bills and increase your home’s value. Simple upgrades like installing a programmable thermostat or sealing air leaks can make a significant difference in your energy usage. Consider replacing old appliances with Energy Star-certified models and switching to LED light bulbs. These upgrades will pay off in the long run and make your home more comfortable to live in.
Get to Know Your Neighbors
Take the time to introduce yourself to your neighbors and get involved in your community. Your neighbors can be a valuable resource as a new homeowner. They can provide recommendations for local services, like lawn care or home repairs. They can also keep an eye on your home when you’re away and notify you of any suspicious activity.
Make a Home Improvement Plan
As you get to know your home, you may start to think about making improvements. Whether it’s updating the kitchen or adding a deck, it’s important to have a plan in place. Prioritize your projects based on what’s most important to you and your family. Create a budget and timeline for each project so you know what to expect. Consider hiring a contractor for larger projects to ensure they are done right.
Keep track of your monthly expenses, including mortgage payments and utilities. Also, maintain records of any repairs, upgrades, or renovations you make to your home. This will be helpful when it comes time to sell your home or make insurance claims. Keep receipts, invoices, and warranties in a safe place, so you can easily access them when needed.