Congratulations on the purchase of your new home. I’m sure by now you’re thinking about all of the amazing things that you plan to do such as decorate the dining room, paint the walls, map out the perfect deck for family outings and don’t forget landscaping. Whew! It can be a lot right? What’s first on your list?
To keep your priorities front and center and to reduce your stress level, it’s important that we discuss money pitfalls to avoid after purchasing your home. Let’s explore.
1. Budget for the essentials
I’m sure that you used a budget while searching for a home to determine how much you could afford, this area is even more important now that you have moved. A budget in its simplest terms tells you if you should stop for a bite to eat or if you need to head home to whip up a nice meal. Try your best not to view this as deprivation but more so a fence that allows you to still have fun outside but it keeps you safe and away from the traffic. Don’t skip this—you’ll be glad you didn’t.
2. Remain mindful of housekeeping costs
There’s the mortgage and utilities, then there’s lawn care and pest control services. Early on in the process, it may feel tempting to have experts come out and do this work for you. I don’t have a single doubt, that as you’re reading this, there may already be offerings sitting in your mailbox at this very moment. Be mindful of keeping housekeeping costs low as you adjust to going from being a renter or having a roommate to being responsible for a mortgage payment. Always ask yourself if this is a need to have or a nice to have.
3. Focus on decorating rooms that you use the most
Do you really spend time in all of the rooms in your home including the loft, dining room, kitchen, guest rooms and back porch? Prioritize your decorating excitement for the rooms that you visit most frequently. Start with the bedroom which is where you will likely spend a significant amount of time. How you planned to live in the house prior to moving in is likely different from how you will actually live in it. Take time to get accustomed to your main areas.
4. Steer clear of extensive credit usage
As you monitor your cash budget month to month it may appear easier to use credit or to gain additional loans to furnish your home or to make a few major updates. Remember the more expenses that are added on to your essential payments the greater your overhead expenses become. Take your time in putting all of the pieces together to getting your home in the shape that you desire it to be. In store financing or a few thousand on a personal loan may seem enticing, just remember to keep your eye on the bottom line.
5. Set short and long-term goals for improvements
Do you have a warranty on your kitchen cabinets? How about your new washer and dryer? Keeping an eye on short and long term improvements will help you to budget out for big ticket items. Remember that you are no longer a renter—therefore, you’re now 100 percent responsible for all of the upkeep of your home, even the water heater. Spend some time early on to map out this planning process. Keep it easy by opening an account for home improvements and store some cash in there to set you up for success when those uh-oh moments arrive.
6. Shop around
I can’t stress this one enough. Shopping around for big ticket or small ticket items even groceries is important for new homeowners. You will gain expenses that you never had in the past and it can seem overwhelming. While it’s not necessary to visit 10 different furniture stores or to plot out a plan to save on a box of cereal, it’s still smart to be mindful of day to day spending habits. Focus on your essentials and stick to a specific amount for non-essentials.
7. Conduct quarterly check-ups
To keep your home in the best shape possible, make it a habit to conduct quarterly check-ups throughout the year. This will save you time and unnecessary expenses. A few items that you should always monitor are:
- Your air filters
- The HVAC system (heat, ventilation and air conditioning)
- Monitor the inside and outside of your foundation
- Keep a close check on your fire and carbon monoxide detectors
Enjoy the luxuries of your new home. This is a joyous occasion that should be met with less stress and more excitement. Use the mentioned tips to keep you focused on priorities. All the very best to you.