You’ve submitted your offer, completed an inspection, gone through the closing process, and it’s finally over – you’re a homeowner!
Buying a home is an exciting new chapter, but, as many soon realize, purchasing the house is only the beginning. From unpacking those first boxes to tackling home improvements projects, here’s our advice for surviving the first few months of homeownership.
1. Unpack strategically
Don’t overwhelm yourself by trying to handle everything at once. First, focus on unpacking boxes. Start with the essential items to keep your home running in the short-term. Next, unpack the kitchen, followed by bedrooms and bathrooms. Now you’re ready to arrange furniture. The last spaces to unpack and organize are the garage, attic, basement and other utility rooms.
2. Be neighborly
It’s always a good idea to get to know your neighbors. Not only does it help you get adjusted to the new area, you never know when you’ll need someone to check the mail or water plants. And, hey, you may even make some new friends! If you’re looking for conversation starters, ask for some tips about your new part of town. See which restaurants have good takeout or if there are any parks or walking trails nearby. People love to offer advice.
3. Make a home improvement journal
Painting rooms, installing carpet, replacing fixtures – you’ll start to notice things around your new home that you’d like to change. Instead of tackling those projects immediately, every time you see a potential new task or project, add it to a home improvement journal. Then, after you’ve lived in the house for a few months, take a look at your list and decide which projects should take priority. This is a great way to get to know what you want out of your home – and stay within budget.
4. Be budget conscious
A majority of homeowners say that they spent more money than expected in the first year of homeownership. Between new furnishings, home maintenance, and updates, the costs can add up quickly. One way to alleviate some of the financial pressures of homeownership is to have a home warranty. Fixing one or two major appliances or an air conditioning system can result in high unexpected costs. But with your home warranty plan, it’s as easy as paying your Trade Service Call Fee.
5. Get to know your home warranty
When the air conditioner stops working or the washing machine makes a weird whirring noise, it’s time to reach out to your home warranty provider. Review the specifics of your American Home Shield plan in MyAccount to make sure your major appliances and systems are covered. If you need to upgrade your plan, call 800.735.4663 and provide the plan number. You can make adjustments up to 60 days from your contact start date.
6. Get outdoorsy
While the inside of the home gets a lot of attention, especially during the first few months, don’t forget about your yard. Do you want to handle the weed-pulling, leaf blowing and mowing yourself? If so, make sure you have the right equipment. A push mower may be fine for smaller lots, but it may be easier to use a riding mower on larger pieces of land. You’ll also need (at least) a leaf blower, string trimmer, edger, rake, gardening tools and a hose. If outside maintenance isn’t your thing, consider making room in your budget for a lawn care service.
7. Reassess your insurance needs
Fires, natural disasters, break-ins – unfortunately, sometimes bad things happen, and it’s important that your home has financial protection. That’s where home insurance comes in. While your home warranty covers breakdowns for components of your major home appliances and systems, a home insurance policy covers damage to your property. Review your current policy details and make sure you’re financially protected in case of emergency. For certain climates and geographical areas, you may need to add flood, hurricane or earthquake insurance.
8. Try DIY. And know when not to
It’s tempting to try to handle home improvement projects yourself. The main thing to keep in mind, though, is figuring out if you have the right tools, talent and time for the task. If you’re missing one of those three things, it’s best to leave the job to a professional. There are lots of simple things you can do that don’t require special skills, like organizing a closet, painting, changing cabinet pulls and planting flowers.
9. Make your house a home
It’s normal to want your house to look perfect, but what matters more is creating a space that meets your needs, fits your lifestyle, and makes you happy. Focus on what you want out of your home, not what others want to see. You’ll enjoy a lifetime of making memories!