Becoming a homeowner is a huge life achievement that comes with many perks; but also many responsibilities. It’s normal to go through a challenging adjustment period during the first few months. These ten tips will help you shorten that adjustment period and become a confident and knowledgeable, new homeowner.
Build Rapport With Neighbors
First and foremost, you need to reach out to your new neighbors and get a feel for the local community. Don’t be a stranger and hide in your house. The people in your neighborhood are supposed to be friends and allies. They can answer many of your questions about local schools, restaurants, cultural events, and other relevant information.
Building rapport with your neighbors will make homeownership much easier. The day-to-day responsibilities of maintaining your home will feel more manageable if you’re surrounded by friendly neighbors. If you get along well, they might help you with small chores and keep an eye on your house while you’re away.
Find a Local Handyman
Next, you need to find a reliable local handyman to help with maintenance or remodeling projects. This person needs to be a jack of all trades. Someone who can help with a variety of home services is an extremely valuable asset for new homeowners. Who knows — one of your new neighbors might be the perfect person for the job.
A do-it-all handyman can also direct you to other professionals in the area. If you want to complete a highly specific project, such as a pool installation or kitchen remodel, in the future, you will need a trained subcontractor for the job. Building connections with local plumbers, masons, electricians, and other specialists will benefit your home for years to come.
Research First, Renovate Second
Before you dive into any renovation projects, you need to do additional research. Start by researching your home’s architectural style so you can develop future plans to increase its value. Go from room to room and identify any unique features that might change your renovation plans. If your house is old, look back on the changes the previous owners made.
Divide and Conquer Projects
Your research will also help you divide projects into manageable tasks and conquer them one by one. Some projects are simple one-day chores, while others have long-term timelines. For example, the shingles on your roof need to be replaced about every 20 years while other roofing materials can last even longer. You don’t have to do everything in the first few months after moving in. Take each project one at a time.
Bolster Your Home’s Security
One of the first items on your to-do list should be to bolster your home’s security. The previous owners might have given a spare key to neighbors, babysitters, or service professionals, so you should start by changing the locks. Install up-to-date security features such as an alarm system, smoke detectors, cameras, and motion-activated lights.
Prioritize Air Quality
The average home tends to have indoor air problems due to fuel-burning appliances, tobacco products, cleaning supplies, and many other common household items. As a new homeowner, you have an opportunity to maintain clean indoor air quality and prevent these pollutants from getting inside your home. Make air quality a top priority from day one, and keep your home comfortable.
Spruce up the Landscaping
Landscaping plays a crucial role in boosting your home’s curb appeal — and by extension, its overall value. Don’t let your yard or garden become overgrown. You’ll make a bad impression on the neighbors and bring down the property value. Stay on top of outdoor chores such as mowing the lawn, trimming hedges, and planting seasonal flowers.
Save an Emergency Fund
Once you officially move in, you should start saving up an emergency fund. You never know when a costly problem is going to arise, such as a natural disaster or pest infestation. Your homeowner’s insurance can’t cover everything, so you need to play on the safe side and keep some money in reserve.
Start a Homeowner’s Journal
You should also start a homeowner’s journal after moving in. It can be a written journal or an online journal, depending on your preference. Either way, this journal will help you keep track of maintenance, remodeling, upcoming projects, and day-to-day expenses. The journal should also contain paper receipts, passwords for important accounts, and similar important information.
Secure Your Essential Documents
Finally, you must collect and secure all of your essential documents. Everything from your social security card to your family’s medical records should be in a central location. Don’t leave everything scattered around the house. Organizing your most important documents will give you peace of mind and help you easily plan for major changes in the future.
With Freedom Comes Responsibility
Being a homeowner gives you much more freedom compared to renting an apartment. However, more freedom comes with more responsibility. You will have a lot on your plate in the first few months as a new homeowner. Remembering these ten tips will lighten the burden and help you start the latest chapter of your life on a high note.
About The Author
Ava Roman (she/her) is the Managing Editor of Revivalist, a women’s lifestyle magazine that empowers women to live their most authentic life. When Ava is not writing, you’ll find her in a yoga class, advocating for body positivity, whipping up something delicious in the kitchen, or smashing the patriarchy.