After weeks or months of house hunting, buying a new home is an accomplishment to celebrate. The buying process is often complex, takes time, and involves a lot of paperwork that leaves you with a sense of fulfillment when you complete it.
A home is always a wise financial decision and comes with benefits for you and your loved ones. However, owning a home also comes with responsibilities. You are suddenly responsible for the daily running of a property, and you can no longer rely on your landlord to fix issues. The transition from tenancy to homeownership can be overwhelming if you don’t have the correct information. This article explains the top 10 things you should know and do as a new homeowner.
What You Want from Your Home
So you have a new home, and you surely want it to be perfect. But perfection means different things to different people, so the first thing you want to know is what you want from your home. Your home ideally should meet your needs and lifestyle and be the place you want to return to after a long day’s grind. Knowing what you want from your new property is the first step to building the perfect home.
Your Homeowner Insurance Policy
Every significant investment needs insurance, and one of the things you want to do after buying a new home is to insure your home. Insuring your home saves you from unexpected costs that you would otherwise have to cover from your pocket.
Insurance matters are often complicated, and most people require professional help to handle them. There are several types of homeowners insurance policies, and you have to find which best suits you and your new property. The most common insurance policy option among new homeowners is the special form coverage commonly known as HO-3.
HO-3 covers the replacement cost of the property and other damages caused by perils, including:
- Falling objects
- Cracking or bulging due to a sudden or accidental event
- Power surges
- The weight of snow or ice on your property
- Accidental discharge or overflow of water or steam
Reliable Neighborhood Handyperson
The chances are that your new home is in a new neighborhood, and you need someone to help you get work done on your property from time to time. Finding a reliable neighborhood handyperson to assist you with tasks like installing fixtures, hanging paintings, or mowing your new lawn will make settling into your new home smoother.
The ideal neighborhood handyperson should be a “jack of all trades” who can handle several home service needs. You can find a reliable handyperson on online platforms like Houzz or HomeAdvisor. You can also walk down to the local hardware store or simply ask your new neighbors, which brings us to the next point.
Your new neighbors can make living in a new area a pleasant experience or a horrible one. Good neighbors can help you feed your pets or grab your mail when you are not around. They can also make for good chat buddies, and in many cases, your kids can cultivate great friendships with theirs.
You can get to know your new neighbors by simply saying hello, asking some questions and if you want to make an impression, throw a little welcome party once you settle in your new home.
Buying a property comes with responsibilities to the taxman, and you want to be aware of what you will be paying as tax on your property. Ideally, you want to calculate your property tax before settling for a property, to know how much you’ll be paying monthly or yearly. Speak with your realtor for advice if you are not familiar with the property tax laws in your county or district.
Also connected to the previous point, owning a home may also qualify you for some tax breaks and rebates. Mortgage interest deduction, for example, allows you to reduce your taxable income by the amount of money you have paid in mortgage interest during the year. Your realtor should also be able to advise you on available tax benefits and how you can claim them.
Home Energy Consumption
Knowing how much energy you will be using in your new home is essential, and you can call a utility company to carry out a home energy audit. This exercise tells you the energy efficiency of your new home and steps you can take to make your home more energy-efficient, saving you money on electricity bills.
Required Home Improvements
You will most likely want some home improvements even if you don’t want to do a significant renovation. It is vital to know the changes that will provide the most value for money, i.e., something that increases property market value without stretching your wallet – a new exterior paint job, a remodeled kitchen, an upgraded bathroom, or a new garage door.
Take time to find out the most necessary improvements in your new home and the most cost-effective ways of doing them. You can carry out some of these improvements yourself if you have the right tools and required know-how. If you cannot, it would be best to get professional help.
Home Warranties and Manuals
You may inherit some gadgets or home appliances when you take ownership of a new property. Some of these may still have valid warranties, and you want to find them in case you need them later. Operating manuals of your new appliances may also come in handy later, so you also want to find them and keep them in a place where you can quickly locate them.
Unexpected Home Problems
This is more like what you should prepare for rather than know. Unexpected home problems like pests, plumbing, or structural issues can arise without warning and may be costly to fix. Maintaining an emergency for unforeseen occurrences can also help cover these problems when they show up.
Moving to your own house does not have to be fraught with many challenges. If you have just acquired a home, bearing these points in mind will help make your moving and settling a smooth and pleasant affair.