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5 Must-Do's for First Time Homeowners

In order to avoid spending more in the long-term, take steps to update and maintain your new home.

Owning a home for the first time is an exciting, yet stressful experience. Because buying a home is so expensive, it’s worth taking steps to make sure everything is done correctly and won’t end up costing you more in the long run. With that in mind, here are some important things to consider when you settle into your new home.

Start an emergency fund.

Owning a home costs significantly more than renting one, even if your monthly mortgage payments are similar to your current rent. Owning a home requires paying for maintenance and upkeep costs, which add up quickly. To prepare for unexpected costs, it’s recommended to start an emergency fund that can last you between three to six months of expenses.

In addition to being prepared for the unexpected, you won’t have to deal with the stress of worrying about what to do if these emergencies arise. Owning a home with no payments (besides your mortgage) and maintaining an emergency fund will ensure that you’ll have money for sudden, big expenses.

Update old appliances.

If you have serious problems with old appliances, you should consider paying to get them fixed or simply replacing them before you end up spending more in the long run. However, if the appliance simply looks outdated, there are a few budget-friendly ways to make them look new again.

For easy, quick updates, try painting old appliances with appliance paint. Old refrigerators, stoves, and washing machines can be made to look fresh and new again with a coat of paint. Changing outdoors or fronts is also a great option, especially if you’re stuck with built-in appliances like dishwashers. Since you’ll be living in your new home for years to come, make sure everything is up-to-date and won’t create any problems for you in the near future.

Change the locks.

Changing the locks is necessary unless you’re buying a newly built home. On average, new locks cost around $50. Most homes don’t have more than two or three exterior doors, so you won’t end up spending more than around $150.

If you have remote-controlled garage doors, you should also look into getting the doors reprogrammed to work only with the remotes you have. It’s easy to skip over issues that don’t seem urgent, but you have no idea who has keys or remotes that are compatible with the past homeowner’s doors, so don’t take any chances.

Set up new utilities.

Don’t waste any time setting up your new utilities, cable, and internet if you haven’t already had them transferred to your new home. Contact your provider as soon as possible to arrange to have your services moved—this ensures that you won’t be left without electricity during the first few days following the move.

Invest in a professional deep clean.

While your new home will probably look pretty clean, there’s no way to be sure how clean it really is just by looking. It’s best to arrange for a professional cleaning service before you start moving furniture in. Professional cleaning services for empty homes often range from $150 to $200.

It’s also difficult to determine the last time your new home’s drains were professionally cleaned. Investing in a drain pipe cleaning will ensure your drains are in good working order and will minimize blockages, get rid of bad odors, and keep your home healthy. Many new homeowners don’t invest in preventative maintenance service, leading to severely clogged pipes that require repair or replacement.

Becoming a first-time homeowner will teach you important lessons about owning a home. In order to avoid spending more in the long term, take steps to update and maintain your new home.

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