It’s the moment many people dream of: the grand leap into homeownership. But in all the excitement and hectic energy of that new-house glow, you might forget that the homeownership journey extends far beyond your final mortgage approval.
You worked hard for this moment, so don’t let little mistakes trip you up! Follow these tips to keep your budget on the up-and-up after escrow.
Do: Invest in the Right Home
Buying a house isn’t a light undertaking, so you shouldn’t be afraid to shop around until you find the right fit for your budget and your family. No matter how long you plan to be there, a home is an investment, and it’s where you’ll spend a lot of your time in the coming months and years. Make sure you’re making the right choice.
Don’t: Renovate Right Away
Give yourself time to adjust to a new space and how it feels as it is before you start ripping out cabinets and knocking down walls. Once you get a sense of how your new home feels and breathes with you in it, then you can start finalizing demolition plans.
Do: Prioritize a “Rainy Day” Fund
Homeownership can leave you feeling house-poor for the first few months as you adjust to your new normal of closing costs, mortgage costs, insurance rates and all the other expenses that come with your new house. It’s a good time to prioritize your financial planning and make sure you have some money stashed away for unexpected costs.
Don’t: Overestimate Your Budget
Remember that your home-buying budget needs to include all the costs of your future home. You’ll need to make sure you’re budgeting for that kitchen reno in your original numbers if you have grand fixer-upper plans.
Do: Your Research on Local Professionals
Even if you’re the ultimate DIY couple, you probably won’t know everything about plumbing, electrical wiring, contracting, security and landscaping—and if you’re doing a renovation, you can add a lot of other complex tasks to that list. Some projects are best left to the pros, so call around for recommendations on local professionals, just in case.
Don’t: Tackle Every Project at Once
You don’t want to feel like you’re living in a construction site, but you DO want the momentum of finished projects to keep you moving on to the next. Cross major projects off your to-do list one at a time, so that you can give your full focus to each important piece of your home improvement.
Do: Remember to Have Patience
Houses don’t become homes overnight, but it will happen eventually. If you’re doing renovations, those can often take longer than expected. Your patience will be rewarded when you’re finally living in the house of your dreams.
Don’t: Forget About the Exterior
A lot of first-time homebuyers get very excited about making their home interiors Pinterest-perfect—so excited that they forget about their most visible spaces. Your house’s porch, exterior walls, and yard space offer valuable opportunities to add curb appeal that you’ll notice every time you come home: don’t forget about it.
Do: Keep Receipts
Even if you’re not planning on selling your new investment anytime soon, life happens. If you’re doing major improvement projects that will raise the value of your home, don’t forget to keep receipts around. Future you will thank you whenever it comes time to sell.