The first few months of home ownership are immensely exciting. Seemingly trivial household activities hold special significance. Simple things like pulling into the driveway after work or treading down a newly carpeted hallway bring overwhelming satisfaction.
Unfortunately, some new homeowners get lost in this honeymoon phase and forget to perform key tasks that could save them money and prevent major headaches down the line.
So, before you get caught up in the excitement of your new property, consider some more sensible home ownership issues.
Establish a maintenance schedule
Even new homes need a few tweaks here and there. For instance, most experts advise homeowners to replace the air filters soon after moving in, The Simple Dollar found.
Take a tour of your new property and note appliances that will require regular maintenance. Air conditioning equipment, garage door components, electrical features and plumbing fixtures usually need regular attention, the Department of Housing and Urban Development reported.
Additionally, look for any potential trouble spots. If you uncover something particularly problematic, such as a structural deficiency or wiring problem, schedule a home inspection.
Make necessary improvements
Like most new homeowners, you probably have a list of desired improvements. Well, the honeymoon phase is the perfect time to implement some of the low-cost fixes that populate your home improvement agenda.
However, now that you’ve made the transition from renter to owner, you must carefully consider how any repairs might impact the value of your home. For example, American homeowners who replace their fiberglass front entry doors with steel alternatives usually recoup more than 100 percent of the cost on resale, while those who remodel their home offices get less than 50 percent back, the magazine Remodeling discovered. So, try prioritizing more practical fixes that will net you extra cash in the future.
Plus, big isn’t necessarily better when it comes to home improvements. In fact, smaller, cost-effective upgrades often carry bigger financial impact.
Currently, energy efficiency is a major concern for many house hunters, the National Association of Homebuilders found. And, as time goes by and green technology becomes more ubiquitous, the demand for eco-friendly home features will only increase.
With this in mind, consider implementing some energy-saving improvements. If your new home doesn’t have programmable thermostats, install some. These devices will cost you around $50 a piece, but can lower your utility bills. Additionally, replace your incandescent light bulbs with energy-efficient models fitted with compact fluorescent lamps or light-emitting diodes. This simple swap will save you about $75 per year, the Department of Energy reported.
Of course, as you make improvements, remember to save and safely store the receipts. By keeping these slips, you can improve your home’s basis and earn more tax-free cash when it comes time to sell, according to Investopedia.
“Financing your new home doesn’t end with home loan payments.”
Watch your home finances
Financing your new home doesn’t end with making home loan payments. You’re responsible for myriad fees including biannual property taxes, insurance payments and maintenance costs. So, make a detailed budget that covers these common expenses and includes buckets for unforeseen spends.
Additionally, when tax season rolls around, swallow your pride and hire an accountant to help you file. By acquiring property, you have most definitely complicated your filing situation. Spending a few hours with a tax pro will help you understand the changes. Plus, you can learn about tax credits and deductions for which many self-filing new homeowners fail to take access. For instance, the IRS allows property owners to deduct home mortgage interest.
As you navigate the first weeks and months of homeownership, consider these essential issues and build a strong financial foundation. Make the honeymoon phase last a lifetime.