Post # 1
We got a lot of great advice from our home inspector, but it was also a bit of a “wake up call” that owning a home will be a lot different from renting a condo! Neither of us have ever owned a home before now (closing Oct. 31).
So, I’d love to hear what your top pieces of advice are for brand new home owners. 🙂 Thanks in advance!
Post # 2
Take your time updating! Homes are a huge money-sucker. Space out your projects. We already have projects down for the next 3 years.
Also, be realistic about how long you want to stay there. My SO and I know we’re going to want to move in about 5-7 years, so we don’t want to spend money making it our “dream home” if we’re going to outgrow it and want to move to a different area.
And congratulations! Owning a home can be pretty awesome. We like being the boss of our own space 😉
Post # 3
applecat: Know what type of HVAC filters you use and change them regularly. You don’t want to blow out your HVAC for not changing a filter (as I may have done)
Post # 4
damarajade:‘s advice is great. Remember that you have years to do projects and that there is no reason to feel like a ton needs to be done at once.
We bought a house that is slightly too big for us at the moment, and my really odd advice is to visit all rooms in your house regularly so problems don’t get too big. I went into our mechanical room for the first time in a while and found that the drain for our furnace had blocked up. We caught it before there was any real damage, but I still wish I would have caught it sooner.
Post # 5
Get familiar with what maintenance your home needs on a regular basis, and do it. Although money may be tight from time to time, and you think you can put off doing something, it will cost much more if you ignore it.
Post # 6
Shit breaks. All. The. Freaking. Time. Keep a LOT of spare cash around to deal with it without having to stress about costs. With in the last 6 months, we’ve had to buy a new fridge ($2k) and water heater ($1k + 500 to install). We need to get a new water softener still too. Then all the little things, broken sprinkler heads, AC repair, maintenence on yard tools, replacing rotted wood siding, deck needs replacing… we’ve had to deal with leaky pipes in multiple places, broken kitchen faucet…
Learn to be handy and don’t be afraid to do anything, it’ll save a ton. We’ve done everyone on the house ourselves and nothing is actually hard to do after a small learning curve. Ex: the water heater, we were quoted $2500-$3k to have it installed. We bought all the material and new tools and did it ourselves for 500.
If you’re anywhere that it snows and/or you may lose power at any time, get a generator before the disaster, especially if you have a basement with a sump pump… it could save you from a flooded basement.
Don’t feel rushed to decorate and fill all the space immediately.
Post # 7
Sort of along the sale lines as the last commenter – don’t try to do everything at once… move in and live there for a little bit before you make any big decisions… then try to tackle one room at a time, it can definitely get overwhealming otherwise (and expensive as previously mentioned) – take some time to enjoy 🙂
Post # 8
Great advice so far! We just got our first house this summer and my tip is to make an effort to start off on a good foot with your neighbours. The guy that we bought the house from had really just left the garden to its own, and both neighbours on each side have very neat gardens. Even though there was a ton of things to do inside we made the effort to do a couple of days of emergency clearing. It introduced us to the neighbours, who were very grateful that we cared about the appearance of the garden, and they’ve been nothing but super helpful since then.
Post # 9
Ditto on the sump pump and generator. And, like PPs said…prepare for emergenices.
We have only been in our condo for 8 mos. and we’re budgeting to get our hot water heater and furnace replaced soon. We don’t need one yet but might as well make sure it’s up-to-date and doesn’t fail us.
Post # 10
eocenia: I agree with this one. I guess the previous owners of our house left a terrible impression on the neighbors. Police were called on a number of occasions just based on “property lines.” I guess the husband was a hot-head and the wife was a drama queen. We’re not overly friendly with our neighbors, but we chat every once in awhile, and our lines of communication are open. They know we’re easy going and nice people, but we’re not going to invite them to our birthday parties any time soon 😉
Also! Get to know the area. We have kids that cut through our yard all the time with the high school/middle school being a block and a half away… we decided to put up a fence because of this. But our next door neighbors used to yell at them, and I’m assuming that’s why their house has been broken into a couple times (nothing stolen). We got a security system just in case.
Post # 11
We purchased our first home and moved here in May. Being military, we know this is not our “forever” or “dream” home and will try to sell it eventually. That being said, keep ALL receipts and keep track of any home improvements you make. When you do your taxes, sell, or rent, the amount of money you poured into permanent improvement may make a difference.
Prioritize what you want to change. We HAD TO HAVE a deck with a pergola. That was the first major thing we did, and a huge expense. But we had to make sure that we still had savings in case our water heater or an appliance crapped out.
Like PPs, don’t feel the need to rush into anything, including decorating. My in-laws INSISTED on painting when they helped us move and I was forced to choose colors right away. For most of the spaces it was fine because I wanted neutral colors, but I absolutely refused to rush my master bedroom and our office. Those are still not fully finished.
Post # 12
- Wedding: January 2013 - Harbourfront Grand Hall
applecat: I know a lot of PPs are telling you not to do all the projects at once but I’m on the other side kind of…. when we bought our house the bathroom had a handicapped tub in it so my dad tore that out and put in a normal shower stall. I so wish that while we were working on the bathroom we had pulled the tile off the floors and walls. Because now I don’t want to tell dad we’re messing with his handiwork by doing that. BUT IT SO NEEDS TO BE DONE!
I guess what I’m saying is you can take projects one at a time but if you’re going to want to do something to the same room/area later, just do it meow.
Post # 13
Every project will take twice as long as you expect, and cost much more. I agree with a lot of the other advice thats been given. Space out the projects and expect other things to come up/break so save, save, and save some more…houses are expensive to keep up. We had a well when we first bought our house, two years later the well just dried up one day… $6000 and 1.5 weeks(without water) later we were able to connect to city water. Oh and three weeks after installing all brand new hardwood flooring throughout our house our water heater leaked (and we had maintenence done on it two months prior, they said it was totally fine), so things like that really suck but such is homeownership!
The thing thats saved us the most money has probably been keeping a list of things we are going to fix/update,etc and looking for sales over months/years instead of only starting to compare prices when we start the project. Also, craigslist has saved us SO much money. We purchased pedestal sinks, light fixtures, all our kitchen appliances/washer/dryer/lawn mower off craigslist at a significant discount. We do tons of research on the products beforehand and they are always only slightly used, but you can save a ton! (We got all our kitchen appliances for less than $600 (Refridgerator/Freezer, dishwasher, gas stove/oven, above stove microwave/ventilation) 4 years ago and they still are all in perfect working order (and look great/match too).
Post # 15
Live in a house for a while before making huge renovations. Sometimes it’s best to get a feel for the house and how you live in it day to day in order to know what types of renovations might work best. I”m saying this for those instances where the style might not be what you want but everything is in working order. Of course if something isn’t in working order, then by all means, go ahead and renovate.
Ditto on prioritize. Yes- it would be great to get rid of the dated appliances, but if they work just fine, skip buying new ones if you have a more pressing thing to take care of.
Learn to do things yourselves and you will save yourself a LOT of money.
I’m also of the mindset that you should do things to the house because YOU want them, not just for resale value. For example, when we renovated our kitchen, I added things that *I* wanted – after all, I’m the one living there. Of course it wasn’t anything extreme, but still – I wanted a turquoise beadboard island, so that’s what I put in. And it looks fantastic! 🙂