Buying a home, especially your first, can be a wonderful and exciting experience. But the realities of maintaining and inhabiting a house can be a little overwhelming for new homeowners. Besides moving in, you’ve got new taxes, regulations and even some repairs to worry about. But don’t worry. If you’re organized, it’s easy to stay sane. Here are the four things that new homeowners should do as soon as they’ve finished closing:
1) Establish a budget and a schedule for your bills. After buying a home, you’ll have to find ways to handle all kinds of new monthly bills and payments, and if you want your credit score to stay safe, you’ll have to pay in full and on time. Set a day aside each month to sit down and pay every single one of your bills. If you’re the type of person that has a hard time getting organized, it might be a good idea to set up an escrow account with your lending agency. With these accounts, you simply deposit a lump sum of money every month. Your lender will make the individual payments on your behalf.
2) Get your lawn on. With a new home comes a new adventure in lawn care and sidewalk maintenance, so make sure that you’ve got all the tools you need to keep your real estate investment up to code. At the very least, you should have a lawnmower for the spring and summer, rakes for the fall and snow shovels for the winter.
3) Change your locks. Even if you trust your seller, you can never be 100% sure that they’ve handed over every duplicate house key. Even one undocumented key puts you at risk for a break-in, so as soon as the title is in your name, stop by a home supply store and purchase a new set of exterior locks for your home.
4) Furnish it! If you’re moving into your new real estate investment from an apartment or townhouse, you’ll probably be a little short on furniture. Shop around at local outlets and flea markets for deals on domestic necessities like sofas and wardrobes. You don’t need a fancy dining room table right out of the gate – you’re just getting started, and there’s time for that later. For now, a few sturdy pieces to fill up the empty space will make your new house feel more like a real home.
Although the responsibilities that come with owning a house can drive a lot of first-time homeowners crazy, it’s easy to stay on top of your duties as long as you’re organized. If you follow these simple tips, you’ll be well on your way to turning that real estate investment into the dream home you’ve always wanted.
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