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First-Time Home Buyers: Tips to Make Your House a Home

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RISMEDIA, June 21, 2010—After getting the keys to their new homes, many first-time home buyers are excited about finally having the opportunity to personalize and furnish their new house. From coffee tables to lamps to lawnmowers, many previous renters leap into homeownership quickly realizing they need to do a lot of shopping to truly make their house a home.

“Whether you’ve been living in an apartment with roommates or at your parents’ house, many first-time home buyers do not think about all the items they need – and want – when moving into a house,” said Janice Jones, national vice president of merchandising for Centex. “With a little advance planning and budgeting, you won’t break the bank to make your new home a reflection of your personal style and showcase your pride of homeownership.”

A typical home buyer spends $7,400 on average on their home, with more than half of that spent in the first year after purchase, according to the National Association of Home Builders.

While many first-time home buyers may not have accounted for this level of spending, Jones offers advice on what types of items to purchase to not only properly maintain and live in the home, but also more importantly, items that help new homeowners feel like their house is a place to call home.

Furnishings
Many first-time home buyers no longer want their parents’ hand-me downs or their childhood bedroom set. From sofas to dining room sets to mattresses, many first-time home buyers take the opportunity to upgrade their furniture when moving into their new home. According to an NAHB study, furnishings take the biggest chunk of the budget, with home buyers spending about $5,300 on furnishings during the first year after buying a home. The biggest ticket item for all households is bedroom furnishings, including mattresses, followed by sofas.

Window coverings and linens
The median square footage of homes bought by first-time buyers is 1,500. So, you can only imagine the number of windows that need to be covered to ensure privacy and security in a home. According to Jones, many home buyers don’t account for this in their budget. Additionally, with the ability to now paint and decorate each room, new homeowners find that they want to purchase new bedroom and bathroom linens.

Garden tools
Since a first-time home buyer is likely to move into their home from an apartment, unless you plan on hiring a gardener, you’ll need to purchase a few basic gardening tools, including a lawnmower, garden hose, sprinkler and a shovel (for winter weather).

Flat screen TV
Let’s face it: many home buyers shop for their new home while taking into a consideration how a new, large, flat-screen television set will be situated in their new living space. So, it’s not a surprise that a hot item on the list is purchasing an entertainment system.

However, you’ll also need the basic appliances in your new home: a refrigerator, stove, and a washer/dryer. While many existing homes usually come with appliances, a home buyer needs to take inventory as to whether or not they will need to purchase these big ticket items before they purchase their new bedroom set.

Basic tool kit
Every home needs a well-stocked tool box. Many home improvement stores have sets you can purchase, but make sure it includes a hammer, screw drivers, pliers, wrenches, a tape measure and a staple gun.

“My biggest piece of advice for new home buyers is to be creative and tackle this room by room,” said Jones. “For example, after outfitting your home with the necessary items—like appliances and window coverings—move on to the kitchen and family room spaces. This area is the heart of your home where everyone gathers.

“Look for great values on the items you need that will be utilized most. Take your time and get the feel of how you want to use each space for both function and enjoyment. This strategy allows homeowners to stage their purchases and add new furnishings as the budget allows. Decorating your new home should be fun and a reflection of your personal style.”

For more information, visit www.centex.com.

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