Being a first-time homeowner is exhilarating and fun! You have the ultimate freedom to make it your own space and personalize your home to your heart’s desire. Paint any wall you want, and go crazy with wallpaper if you want! You don’t have to answer to a landlord or random roommate. However, owning a home also comes with a lot more responsibility. You can’t call your landlord to fix the problem when something breaks. You’re in charge of repairs and maintenance now! Today’s bonus article will provide my essential tips for maintaining your new home in Colorado.
Create a Home Manual
Maintaining your new home in Colorado will be much easier if you create a home manual. Don’t worry; this can take many forms and doesn’t necessarily mean you must spend 3 hours at Kinkos building a 3-ring binder full of laminated forms. But having an efficient system for organizing important information about your home IS helpful. Keep important documents about your home and its systems (depending on the age, many new owner manuals are online). Your manual may include the following:
- Service records
- Information about your appliances (age, model, repair records, etc.)
- Paint colors and other decorating information
- Furniture Receipts
- Landscaping work & a guide for taking care of said landscaping work
- An updated list of your service providers & their information
Find a system that works for you, and keep adding to it! You can find an online option such as iCloud or Dropbox to store documents or an app. Or, you can go “old school.” Whatever system you choose, make sure it’s something that you will use and help keep you organized.
Keep records and receipts of your home improvement and maintenance costs. If you sell your home at some point, these records show where you have added value and what you’ve done to keep up your home. Several types of improvements qualify for tax incentives, so share the receipts with your CPA every year.
Budget for Maintenance Costs
Set a realistic pace and budget for buying things you need for your home. Having a home means there’s always a long list of big and little things you need to buy or want to upgrade, especially if you’re a first-time buyer. The list could go on and on — from window treatments, lawn mowers, rakes, cleaning supplies, a vacuum, a sectional couch, deck furniture, lamps, etc.
You will grow with this home, so make a plan and a budget. If you need to buy, shop for sales and bargains, and hit up flea markets and estate sales. Buy off-season or at the end of a season for major savings (you can get a great deal on patio furniture in September)!
Have an emergency fund for any unexpected costs. No matter how well your home has been taken care of by you or the previous owner, be prepared for some surprises. Inevitably, something will break, and you won’t be able to delay fixing it. Maybe your furnace stops working on a cold Winter night, a tree falls on your roof, or a baseball gets thrown through your window. Expect the unexpected.
Double-check that you have enough homeowner’s insurance. It should include flood and fire protection plans. I know it’s not fun, but you should also consider life insurance coverage and disability-income insurance so your family won’t lose their home if the worst should happen. Talk to a trusted insurance professional for advice on your particular situation.
Keep a Close Eye on Potential Maintenance Problems
Don’t ignore any minor problems or damage you see in your home. A little problem can turn into a big (and expensive) problem before you know it! Consistent, regular home maintenance is essential to combat the usual wear and tear.
Create an inspection list. Add this to your home manual! Go through your home twice a year, once in the spring and once in the fall, to check on the condition of your home (including appliances, windows, roofs, etc.).
Know your major appliances. Get to know how your fridge, stove/oven, dishwasher, and washer/dryer work. Do some research to find out how to properly maintain them, how old they are, and how long you can expect them to last without needing a repair or replacement.
Stock your toolbox! Buy tools you’ll regularly use to maintain your home and to make minor repairs. Every homeowner should have a toolbox but don’t go out and buy something you may only need once; you can sometimes rent or share the cost with friends or neighbors.
Brush up on Your DIY Skills
Learning basic DIY skills can save you significant money and repair time. You can find lots of information online or on YouTube with basic how-tos on just about everything. The tutorials are endless, from how to unclog a drain to how to patch a hole in the wall! You can save so much per year by doing some basic repairs and upkeep yourself.
Hire a qualified contractor or handyman for more complex jobs. For more complicated and delicate maintenance jobs, hiring someone with a higher level of expertise is crucial so you can maintain the value of your home and not detract from it. No future buyer likes to see a shoddy and unprofessional job!
Forge a good relationship with your neighbors. You don’t have to be overly friendly if that’s not your style, but neighbors are a good source of information about the community and can help you out when needed (like when you forgot to buy a snow shovel in time).
Be patient, and don’t expect your home to look like an HGTV makeover overnight. I love those shows too! They’re worth watching, if only for inspiration’s sake.
In real life, make peace with the fact that you probably won’t feel like your home is ever “done”— it’s more like a work in progress! You’re constantly making it yours as long as you live in your home. Learn to accept this so you don’t ruin your budget or rush projects.
To wrap up, I want to put your mind at ease. I promise I’m not going anywhere just because you’ve moved into your new home. I want you to think of me as your go-to resource for all things real estate. ALWAYS feel free to seek my advice on any topic.
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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