Buying a home is equal parts exciting and scary. There are a lot of things to consider and you have to make sure everything’s as organized as possible as you begin this new journey. If you’ve just bought your first home, here are five must-dos to tackle.
Sort Out Your Finances
Both before and after you purchase a home, sort out your finances. Talk with a lender about the monthly payment of the mortgage and see if you can get a lower interest rate. The interest rate and term of the loan will affect your monthly payment, but it will also affect how much you actually pay over time.
A lower monthly payment might be nice right now, but with a longer-term loan you’ll pay more overall. If possible, go for a higher monthly payment and a lower life of your loan. The lower rate will make a huge difference in your money. Look at your other financials as well. Do what you can to both make more money and reduce your debt. Try getting a better car loan rate by refinancing or put up an extra shift at work. You want to be as financially stable as possible now that you’re a homeowner.
Make a List of Resources
When you’re renting, you just call up the landlord and ask him to repair something that’s broken and it’s no charge. When you’re a homeowner, you have to do a little more work and whatever it is will cost you. Make a list of local resources and people you can call. Establish a relationship with professionals who do appliance repair, plumbing, and heating and cooling. When something does go wrong, you’ll have someone to call who you already like and know will do a good job for a fair price. In addition to creating a list, buy a toolbox and learn how to make some repairs yourself. You have to be your own landlord now.
Create a Home Maintenance Checklist
Your home inspection at closing might have given you a good idea of what needs to be fixed in the home and maybe there are a few projects to tackle in the upcoming months, but you should also create an annual or semi-annual maintenance checklist. Go through your house and see what has to be maintained every year. Maybe the fireplace has to get inspected every November, or you want to clean the gutters each spring. Add in times to test the smoke alarms and clean the ceiling fans. Your checklist will keep the house in excellent condition.
Buy a Few Necessities
Owning a home is a little different from renting an apartment. First, you have more space to fill now, so you might decide to purchase a bed for the guest room or a second couch for the living room. If you already own many of the necessities, purchasing big items might not be a priority. You’ll still need to grab some essentials like a screwdriver and hammer, measuring tape, paint, a lawnmower, and a garden hose. If your home didn’t come with all the appliances, you may have to buy a dishwasher or a washer and dryer. Factor what you’ll need into the calculation for your finances.
Change Your Address
There are a lot of people to inform about your new address. Start with the DMV and your bank since these are the most important places that need to know. Let the post office now as soon as possible as well so your mail doesn’t get lost. Then inform your doctor’s office, employer, health insurance, and anyone else you can think of. Get this done right away so you don’t have to stress about it as you get busier.
Accomplish these five things and you’ll be all set in your new home. Then your must-dos switch from stressful tasks to fun homeowner projects.