First-time homeownership comes with its fair share of pressures and surprises, but thoughtful preparation and organization will save you a lot of headaches and dollars. We’ve pulled together seven essential to-dos that will help you take on that first year with confidence, less stress and more time to enjoy your home.
There’s a lot to remember to do around your home—including some things that might be entirely new to you. Setting calendar reminders for key replacements, regular maintenance and seasonal tasks frees up your mind to focus on the fun stuff.
Don’t wait until you have a backed-up drain or dust bunnies everywhere to find professional help. It’s never too early to build a contact list of go-to help to stay on top of repairs and keep major issues at bay. If family isn’t nearby and you’re one of the first in your friend group to buy a home, Nextdoor is a great resource for finding local help and word-of-mouth recommendations for plumbers, electricians, HVAC professionals and general handypersons.
What takes more time for you to do than it’d take a professional? Are there tasks you loathe and would rather spend that time making progress in other areas? We all have our strengths, and there’s great relief in delegating tasks to professionals for things like painting, housecleaning, yard care and snow removal. Odd job and errand platforms like TaskRabbit are another smart option when you need a helping hand to get things done.
Options abound, and it’s important to make sure you understand what is and is not covered by your homeowners’ insurance. For example, many utility companies offer appliance insurance that might be a good investment if you have aging appliances that you’re not in a position to replace right now. At the very least, set aside a small amount of money each month so when unexpected costs come up—because they certainly will—you’re not at a total loss.
Staying on top of everyday uses helps you avoid the invisible costs of homeownership that can quickly add up.
Prioritizing investments and estimated costs for repairs or replacements is essential—and can quickly become overwhelming. Take the list from your home inspection report and start ranking tasks in order of importance and associated costs, alongside any projects high on your personal list. Creating a plan and a timeline will temper the stress of not being able to do and afford everything at once, and will provide the blueprint for project planning.
Talk with your people. Don’t underestimate the power of tapping your community, asking others what advice they have and what they wish they’d known in those first weeks, months and years as a homeowner. If you’re stuck on a decision, they can likely help you figure out the best move, so you don’t unnecessarily fret over the what-ifs.