As a first-time homeowner, you expect to spend some money. After all, you have a new space to fill with furniture, appliances, and artwork; you name it! It’s easy to get carried away and go on a spending spree. When you’re setting a budget for new purchases, don’t forget about the other new costs you’re taking on as a homeowner. When your home needs an unexpected repair or a fresh coat of paint, there’s no landlord to call. Follow my tips for new homeowners to keep your spending in check, and your savings account intact.
Don’t Expect an HGTV-Worthy Home Right Away
Do you love home renovation shows as I do? Programs like “House Hunters” and “Fixer Upper” make it look easy to design and decorate the home of your dreams. In reality, it’s not quite as simple. Don’t expect your home to look like the “after” photos immediately. Expecting a professionally staged home within weeks of moving in is unrealistic and often leads to excess spending. Before making big purchases, take some time to get used to your new home and resist the urge to fill your home with new furniture. It takes a while for a new house to feel like home, so don’t give up on your old furniture just yet.
Similarly, don’t try to fill empty rooms with meaningless artwork and decor as if you’re in a race. Make thoughtful purchases; save up for quality pieces you’ll love for years to come (and maybe even pass down to your children one day).
Don’t Hire Outside Help for Jobs You Can Do Yourself
Somebody must mow your lawn, rake the leaves, and clean your bathrooms. The larger the home, the more time and effort it takes to maintain. After a long week of work, hiring some help for those manual maintenance tasks is tempting. However, it doesn’t take long for those costs to add up. If you can manage some of these chores on your own, you’ll save a lot of money in the long run.
Many fix-it tasks don’t necessarily need a handyperson or a plumber. You’d be surprised what you can learn about home maintenance from a YouTube video and a trip to your local hardware store. It’s so rewarding to see the products of your hard work. Moreover, it can be a fun bonding experience for your family to get their hands dirty.
Update Old Habits
Do you buy coffee every morning on the way to work? Did you always have cable TV when you rented? Now that you’re a homeowner, it’s time to reevaluate some of the habits you picked up as a renter. Buying a home is like a clean slate. It’s the perfect time to start money-saving habits. Take stock of your daily costs and see what you can do without. For example, just because you’ve always had cable doesn’t mean you need to transfer your service to your new home. Many streaming services are much cheaper per month. If your new home has more counter space, it might be a great time to invest in an excellent coffee maker. The upfront cost will save you money in the long run.
Shop Around for Homeowner’s Insurance
As a first-time homeowner, you may be tempted to stick with your previous insurance company out of habit or convenience. It’s in your best interest to shop around for a policy that better protects your pocketbook as well as your home. If you want to stick with your current insurance agency, read the fine print of your new policy and compare coverage and cost against competing insurers.
Consider Making Your Home Energy Efficient
Passive utility expenses like electricity and heating cost thousands of dollars a year. Inefficient appliances and systems waste energy and money. More than you may realize as a first-time homeowner! Consult with a local efficiency expert to identify problem areas in your home. You will save on monthly costs if you can spend a little extra money to upgrade to energy-efficient systems.
Owning a home can feel overwhelming. There are many things to take care of and decisions to make. I’ve helped countless buyers navigate the uncharted waters of homeownership. Get in touch and let me help you make a smooth transition into your new home!
I'm Lauren Haug! I'm a teacher-turned-real estate agent, and I teach people how to build wealth through real estate in Northern Colorado.
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