You just became a homeowner—congratulations! In between the oh-my-gosh-I-have-a-mortgage feeling and the pile of empty pizza boxes (you have yet to unpack your cookware), you may be making a mental list of all the things you’re going to do to make your home your home—projects you plan to knock out the first few weeks as king (or queen!) of your castle.
But tackling too much, too soon is a recipe for regret. The fact is, even though all of those projects seem necessary (they seemed necessary when you walked the home, too!), many of them aren’t.
A full-blown kitchen remodel, for instance, is a wise investment—but only after you’ve determined your needs as a homeowner (and how long you plan to stay in the house, as well). Ditto for the bathrooms—both projects are disruptive, expensive and time-consuming.
So, what should be addressed right out of the gate?
You may be one of the select new homeowners who gets to inherit the former owner’s appliances—another congratulations is in order! Head to Home Depot sooner rather than later for new, ENERGY STAR®-rated appliances. Replacing even just one with an energy-efficient and/or smart alternative, according to the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers (AHAM), can save you $50 and 100 hours each year.
Make it a priority to check the insulation in the attic—installing more where needed can cut costs your first year as a homeowner (and every year after). It’s well worth the expense: according to Remodeling magazine’s Cost vs. Value Report, fiberglass attic insulation recoups over 100 percent of its cost at resale.
Money doesn’t grow on trees…but home value does. If your new landscape’s lacking, start planting trees as soon as possible—you’ll not only see lower energy costs over the long term, but also an average 18 percent boost in value, according to the Arbor Day Foundation.
That’s it—just three tasks. If you’re in your forever home, you’ll have more than enough time to finish these, and the rest on your list.
Suzanne De Vita is RISMedia’s online news editor. Email her your real estate news ideas at email@example.com.