Buying your first home is an experience like no other. It’s one of the final rites of passage an adult can experience. In fact, many people get married and have children well before they purchase a house. It’s incredibly exciting and challenging to buy a home. Not only do you have to go through the entire house-hunting process, looking for a home that will suit all of your needs and last you for the long term, but you’ll also have to consider whether or not the home in question is a good investment and will someday yield you a profit when you put it on the market.
Of course, liking a house and wanting to buy it certainly isn’t a guarantee that it will be yours. Lots of people find themselves negotiating with banks and sellers alike for weeks before the sale is finalized. As happy as you’ll be to buy your home, the purchasing process is such a stressful experience that a lot of people forget how much they have to do after they finish it.
Nonetheless, there are important steps to take after buying a home — and many buyers are less-than-familiar with those steps when making their first purchase. If you miss a step, you could potentially be setting yourself up for a hassle down the road. Therefore, when buying a home for the first time it’s wise to make a schedule of what must happen next and to check off each need one by one. The more prepared you are, the less likely it will be that you hit any bumps along the road. Let’s look into what you must prioritize after buying a home for the first time.
1. Decide Whether to Invest in Furniture and Appliances
Every home sale is different. Some homeowners like the furniture their home is being shown with and are able to negotiate the purchase of some pieces as part of the sale of the house. This is referred to as a house being sold fully or partially furnished. You’ll probably already have a good amount of furniture ready to move with, but that isn’t always the case. For that matter, if you’re moving into a larger home or a home without certain appliances included, you may need to make new purchases anyway. It’s important to have an idea of what you’ll need to buy before you move, as this will factor into the overall investment you’re making in your move. A house is the most expensive purchase a person will make in their lifetime, but furniture remains the third most expensive item. If you don’t factor furniture and appliance purchases into your budget, you could end up over-spending.
2. Plan Out Maintenance
There are a number of different costs that come with owning a home. You’ll want to collect all of your bills associated with the new property, of course, and put a system in place involving what must be paid when. However, it may be more difficult to initially understand what must be maintained in the home and how much that may cost. For example, it’s important that your HVAC system and plumbing are well-maintained. At times, this can all be bundled up in your HOA fees. HOA fees may be an unexpected and irritating cost for some new homeowners at first, but it actually can make maintenance much easier; depending on what your HOA fees cost, it could take the thinking out of it. The Community Association’s 2016 National and State Statistical Review revealed that American homeowners paid about $88 billion in HOA fees that year, so be sure to stay on top of yours if that’s a factor. If you don’t have a homeowner’s association, you’ll need to handle both interior and exterior maintenance on your own. That might mean hiring professionals to take care of regular upkeep or doing some research on how to make some easy fixes around the house.
3. Obtain Insurance Coverage
By the time you buy your first home, you’ll have plenty of other types of insurance coverage you can draw experience from. Going without insurance is incredibly risky. While one in six Colorado drivers went without insurance in 2012, going without coverage as a homeowner is another issue entirely. Most homeowners’ insurance plans will cover damage caused by weather or crime, as well as damage caused by extreme catastrophic events, like a wildfire. Having a homeowner’s insurance policy will protect your finances — and considering the investment a home requires, it can’t be delayed.
4. Deep Clean Your Home
On a practical level, you’ll want to make sure that you do a deep clean of your new home before you move in. Some homes are nearly spotless when they’re sold. But most have been dormant for a while and therefore have had time to collect dust and debris. Some empty homes even suffer from a bit of a pest problem while people are gone. No matter what, it’s important to do a deep clean of your home as soon as you move in to disinfect all surfaces. It’s as much for your peace of mind as it is for total cleanliness.
5. Change The Locks
Speaking of peace of mind, you should change your locks immediately after moving in. While you’ll get your own set of keys upon buying your new home, you can’t be sure about exactly who the old homeowners gave copies to. You don’t want your home free to enter for a former family member, angry ex-spouse, or prior maintenance technician. Therefore, you should be cautious and have the locks changed as soon as possible. You may also want to think about investing in an additional security system and other safety measures, like extra fire alarms or a security fence. Your level of safety might depend largely on where you live, but it’s always better to be safe than sorry — especially where your first home is concerned.
It can be difficult to get into a routine with your new home. However, if you plan carefully and take the right measures, you’ll be secure in your place as a homeowner in no time. Owning a home takes some adjusting, but it will be so worth the work in the long term.