Becoming a homeowner for the first time is a huge milestone. For many people, buying a house is the largest investment they will make in their lifetime. But there is a lot more to owning a home than just the initial purchase. Successful homeownership requires making the right decisions, now and in the years to come.
To set yourself up for success, try to avoid making these common mistakes as a new homeowner.
Mistake: Ignoring Necessary Maintenance
“The biggest mistake new homeowners make is not doing the necessary maintenance,” said Andra DelMonico, the Lead Interior Designer for Trendey. “Sellers typically do all of the routine maintenance before putting the home on the market. This means it’s in great condition when the new owners take possession. This can lead them to unknowingly slack off on the routine tasks that are necessary to keep the home in good condition.”
Taking care of your home requires ongoing maintenance like changing HVAC filters regularly, clearing debris from your gutters, and having your furnace inspected annually.
Mistake: Rushing into Home Projects
You were just handed the keys to your new home and you’re already thinking about all the changes you want to make. Whether you’re planning to paint the walls of your new bedroom or knock down walls to create a more open floorplan, it’s normal to get excited about the ideas you have for your home. But before you take on your first project, take some time to enjoy your new home as it is.
“Something I see many new homeowners do – and it’s a mistake – is to take on too many projects right off the bat without taking a breath,” said Nora Mitchell, the Editor-in-Chief of Household Advice. “They’ve just got ownership of the house and they immediately embark on taking apart most of the house and changing things.”
“Buying a house is stressful and time-consuming. You’ve just been through a major process, so it isn’t smart to dive into more things when this purchase does go through,” Mitchell continued. “Take a minute, enjoy your new home (even if it isn’t perfect), and breathe. If you do want to get started on upgrades, just tackle one thing at a time, rather than the entire house. Not only is it stressful to jump right into new renos, but it can rush you into making a bad decision you regret later.”
DelMonico added “You should live in your home for at least a year before you make any major changes. This lets you get a full understanding of the home and how your family lives in it. You can make better decisions and have fewer regrets when the renovation is completed.”
Once you’ve spent some time enjoying your new home and you are ready to tackle your first renovation, consider the cost first. According to DelMonico, spending too much money on renovations is a mistake that many homeowners make.
“They spend too much money upfront making changes. This results in them investing more than they can afford into the home. It also takes away from their ability to save an adequate emergency fund.”
Mistake: Underestimating the Importance of Home Security
With all of the excitement of buying a home, security is something is that is easily overlooked. Kristen Bolig, Founder of SecurityNerd, believes that when homeowners are renovating, they should always consider upgrading their home security.
“Renovations shouldn’t just be for new countertops or state-of-the-art appliances; it should also be for reinforcements,” said Bolig. “When becoming a homeowner, it is always important to consider the security measures you have in place on your property, and you can improve them.”
“First off, consider replacing basic door locks with combination locks, so you don’t have to worry about keeping track of or losing a key. Combination locks are much more secure, and are much more difficult for burglars to tamper with. When it comes to windows, consider getting glass break sensors that will alert you if someone is trying to break in. These small but crucial upgrades could mitigate the risk of any sort of theft attempt or possible break-in.
“Secondly, look at your options for home security systems. Most people hear the words “home security” and immediately write it off as something that is only accessible for this with a lot of money. I am here to tell you that is false! There are numerous home security companies that offer all different price points and options so finances don’t have to be an issue. You can even find home security systems with DIY-installation so you don’t have to invest even more money into professional installation. Safety and security is incredibly accessible, it’s just a matter of knowing where to look!”