The joys and duties of a homeowner are plenty, with never a dull moment. Repair, maintenance, and housekeeping are expected to keep your home livable and comfortable for the family. You can foresee yourself doing some DIY and elbow grease for many years to come.
Before you unpack and get the family settled in, read up on things that you should know about. Do them right the first time to save money in the long run.
Tip No. 1: Assemble a List of Home Experts
Before home emergencies strike, come up with a list of people who will help you in repairs and maintenance. While you can do some of the tasks yourself, some require professional expertise to avoid costly mistakes. The key people on your list are the following:
The water supply is the domain of plumbers. While burst pipes, leaks, and clogged drains happen all the time, some can cause significant damage to your home.
HVAC technician. A spike in your energy bill is enough reason to hire a heating, ventilation, and air conditioning technician, who can also check if equipment needs repairs.
Electrical work is an example of tasks best left to contractors.
Roofing company. It will probably take a decade or two to replace the typical asphalt shingle, but when you do or experience leaks, it’s handy to call someone to do the job.
Tip No. 2: Replace Locks
Changing locks is one of the first orders of moving in. It’s a safety precaution as others may hold duplicates of the house’s old keys. According to HomeAdvisor, replacing locks can cause anywhere from $50 to $300.
Don’t forget to take spare keys with you because home lockouts can be really expensive (if on a weekend or a holiday). This cost may encourage you to be your locksmith by learning to pick locks in your home or car. You can jump-start your lockpicking journey with these specialized tools.
Tip No. 3: Change Your Address
The first step is to inform the post office about your new address. You can do it via the internet, telephone, and form. The United States Postal Service (USPS) charges $1 if you do the transaction online.
Aside from the USPS, you are to contact your state motor vehicle agency about the new address within the required period to avoid incurring fines. Banks, insurance companies, and other relevant institutions that you expect correspondence from should be informed of your new address as well.
Here is a comprehensive list of who to let know your address changed from Maximum Real Estate Exposure.
Tip No. 4: Clean the House
A bare house needs a deep clean. Without furniture and clutter impeding your progress, you can see all the spots clearly and proceed to clear dust, grime, and dirt. The carpet, for example, maybe a repository for pollutants such as dust mites, molds, and other allergens.
So you should do these:
Clean from top to bottom and from inside to outside for cabinets and shelves.
When cleaning the ceiling, wrap or cover ceiling fan blades with a pillowcase to prevent dust that rained down from gathering in the blades.
Wipe the top of doors, windows, and their treatments at night so that you can see the dirty areas better.
Vacuum and steam-clean carpets.
Take advantage of baking soda and vinegar to clean surfaces. Be sure, though, that they won’t harm or damage your countertops and fixtures.
Tip No. 5: Create a Home Maintenance Fund
You can borrow Harv Eker’s JARS money management system concept to allocate a portion of your monthly income to general upkeep and repairs for the house. The money from your home maintenance fund can also go to these costs of owning a home:
Mortgage insurance if you put a down payment of less than 20 percent of the purchase price
Appliances (new and replacement)
Remodeling, renovation, and the like. These things become even more vital if you have bought a fixer-upper property.
Your family’s needs evolve through time. As the kids grow up, they will need their bedroom and bathroom for privacy. The empty basement may have to be converted to a home office or guest room.
When looking for a toilet to fit a new bathroom, consider a heavy-duty upflush toilet. This fixture has a grinder system that takes care of waste flushed down the toilet, including the not-so-ideal ones like sanitary napkins and dental floss. More importantly, it consumes less water with 1.6 gallons of water per flush.
These essentials represent the tip of the iceberg that is homeownership. The savings from the abovementioned actions may not be that evident at first, but over time, you will realize that it’s worth it to plan, prepare, and set aside money for your home.
Final Thoughts on Saving Money as a New Homeowner
Becoming a homeowner for the first time is an exciting proposition. It is not, however, without its fair share of headaches and learning experiences. You should continue to strive for ways you can save money around your property. Understanding where and where not to put your money is a valuable lesson for homeowners.
Ask any real estate agent, and they will tell you there are some improvements that offer an outstanding return and others that should be skipped. This becomes even truer when you don't have a long-term ownership horizon for this home.
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About the author: The above article on tips every homeowner should know to save money was written by Tiffany Ara. Tiffany is an avid written that loves to share her expertise on being a homeowner. She currently works as a community relations officer for Saniflodepot.