Shifting from dealing with landlords to owning your first home isn’t a small achievement. You are certainly proud of yourself and in celebratory mode for the huge milestone. But before you get ahead of yourself with excitement, make sure to take smart steps that can guarantee you a lifetime or long-term enjoyment of your new home. The last thing you want is to jeopardize the future of your home or spend more money and effort down the road trying to salvage the situation. Since you are new to this homeowner’s space and probably don’t know where to start, this article lists seven steps that will make you a successful homeowner.
Essential steps checklist for every new homeowner
Taking the following steps at the early stages of owning your home is guaranteed to save you not just money, but also your home.
Ensure safety and security
The comfort of your family comes first. And that starts by knowing that they are safe from burglars or incidences of fire, floods, and other disasters. You also don’t want to lose your valuable items to the said vices. How can you keep your home safe and secure as a new homeowner?
What first comes to mind for most new homeowners is to personalize the space and make the home aesthetically appealing. While that is important, a smart step is to first prioritize critical repairs before spending money on décor. Use the home inspection report you obtained while buying the home as a guide. If finances are a bit tight, you can prepare a priority list and start with the most urgent. Areas that can potentially cause problems in the future such as leaky pipes or roofs and damaged drains should be at the top of the list. Making repairs now prevents the situation from getting worse and potentially requiring more money to fix.
Ensure regular maintenance
Immediately you move in, you need to deep clean your home, change air filters and make sure that water, electricity, and security devices are working well. Then ensure routine maintenance routine going forward. Everything from the HVAC system, water heater, security devices, garbage disposal and more should be checked regularly throughout the year. Besides, regular maintenance such as cleaning the furnace not only keeps it working but also saves you money on heating bills. You should ensure that the exterior stays clean from debris, the lawn is mowed, and the gutters are cleaned.
The home maintenance checklist is long and can sometimes get overwhelming. You can bypass the stress by working with property maintenance experts. Professionals ensure that your home stays in top-notch and functions optimally regardless of the season.
Ideally, your lender will require you to purchase homeowners insurance before the house is handed to you. But insurance is equally important even when buying cash. In case of total loss of your home, you want to make sure that you can get enough compensation to replace your property. Besides homeowners insurance, consider also getting life insurance if you have people who depend on you financially. Make sure to name them as beneficiaries. In case you die unexpectedly, this protects them from losing the home if your income was paying the mortgage.
Purchase a home warranty
In addition to insurance, another smart step is to purchase a home warranty. This covers your home appliances and systems as well as normal wear and tear of your home. As a new homeowner, you will be at peace knowing that you don’t have to deal with a broken refrigerator or dishwasher. Your home warranty can help you keep your expensive appliances working properly or replace them if need be without costing you extra money.
Hire an accountant for your tax return
Owning a home can potentially change your tax return in terms of deductions that you can claim. But getting a hang of it can be quite daunting if you aren’t conversant with tax matters. You are in a better position working with a professional. An accountant helps to make sure that your tax return is done correctly and the deductions claimed are right. An accountant can also help you keep receipts for home improvements to help reduce your taxable income in case you sell your home in the future.
Now that you have bid paying rent a bye-bye, you’re not off the hook yet. In fact, you are now introduced to new expenses that you didn’t have before. Besides paying the mortgage, home maintenance and repairs, insurance, and property taxes are now part of you. This is not forgetting that utility bills are likely to go up. Creating a budget helps you track expenses, which helps you understand your home spending. This also helps you identify areas where you can cut spending to save more.
Owning a home is certainly exciting, but it comes with its share of responsibilities. Protecting your investment is paramount, which calls for critical steps to secure and insure your home. Routine maintenance is key to achieving an optimally functioning home at all times. In addition, hire an accountant to take care of your homeowner taxes and budget wisely to live comfortably financially.