The centerpiece of the American Dream is finally buying your own house. You’ve researched properties that meet both your budget and your family’s needs, and now you’re ready to make the most of your new home. You can organize your list of homeownership priorities by referring to these 5 handy tips.
1. Pre-Move In Checklist
The only thing that’s equally important to invest in your new home other than finances is your time, and you can make the most of it before you even move in.
Schedule a deep cleaning followed by painting, either professionally or by yourself, before any furniture is moved in to save yourself a headache. It’s also smart to change the locks before anything of serious value is moved in. This will give you peace of mind knowing exactly how many copies of your house keys there are, rather than guess how many the previous owners handed out.
2. Find The Best Mortgage For You
Every homeowner’s situation is unique, which is why it’s important to assess what kind of mortgage suits you best and when to refinance. There are many reasons to refinance to 15 year mortgage compared to a 20 or 30-year plan.
You’re able to change your mortgage down the road, so if you have an increase in income and are able to afford a higher payment per month, you’ll save money in the long run with a lower interest rate, build equity quicker while saving on financing fees.
3. Safety Net Fund
Sometimes, unexpected problems can be the most expensive. Whether you’re setting aside money for renovations, you should first establish a dedicated fund for emergencies or accidents.
Nothing is peskier than a broken air conditioning system in the summer, and some issues require immediate attention like plumbing or mold. There are a few guidelines you can follow when setting up a budget. Having an emergency fund equal to 1% to 3% of your home’s value is a good rule of thumb.
4. Check With Your Agent For Bundle Deals
Finding insurance bundles can be a great way to save money for homeowners paying for other forms of insurance. If you bundle auto and home insurance from the same company, you might find discounts you wouldn’t have otherwise.
It’s easier to manage several policies when you go through the same company, and if you have car insurance claims or tickets, your home insurance policy will make it less likely for your company to drop you. Most major insurance companies have bundles for auto and home. Check with your agent and see how you can save.
5. Get To Know Your HOA
Every neighborhood has its own unique makeup of residents who often make up a local Home Owners Association. You’ll be aware of which jurisdiction you fall under before you purchase your house, but it’s important to know the specific priorities of your local HOA.
The monthly fee will likely be the first thing you’re personally concerned with. Next, you should familiarize yourself with the covenants, conditions, and restrictions, or CC&Rs, that now apply to you. These will include everything from noise restrictions, limits of noise from backyard parties or home projects using power tools, to pet regulations and maintenance requirements.
An HOA is not an exclusive club. If your neighborhood falls under the jurisdiction of a particular association, it can act as a great way to foster a concrete sense of community among all residents and maintain the safety and aesthetic of your homes.
Getting Settled In Your New Home
You’ve put in the work and bought your new home, now you’re ready to make the space your own. Follow these 5 tips, and you’ll be prepared for every new homeowner’s needs!