Buying your first home can be one of the happiest moments of your life, but too often people let the joy interfere with their rational thinking and make mistakes that can quickly change the mood to one of frustration.
Here are five mistakes new homeowners often make in their first year:
1. Hiring the wrong person. It’s not uncommon to want to make some changes in your new home; be it painting rooms, adding windows or making bigger changes like putting in a deck or knocking down a wall and transforming the interior rooms. For any job, hiring the right contractor is key, and this is one of the places that people make mistakes. Never go with a contractor just because of a low price. There’s usually a good reason why the contractor’s bid is so much lower than the others. Always get referrals from past clients and see photos of the work done. Jumping in too fast just on the word of a contractor can lead to lots of unneeded headaches.
2. Ignoring inspection items. When you closed on your home and were presented with the inspection report of all the little things that were wrong, you were given a brief look into what the future holds if you don’t heed the recommendations—don’t just forget it all. Ignoring these things will only lead to bigger problems down the line, so it’s smart to take care of those things first and get your home in as strong a shape as possible. You’ll have plenty of time to make the cosmetic fixes once these repairs are done.
3. Living over your means. One of the biggest things you hear from new homebuyers is that they didn’t budget correctly for living in their new home, as unforeseen expenses always pop up. Wait a few months before making any big changes so you know what your true expenses are each month and you’ll have a better understanding of how much you can afford to do what you want.
4. Forgetting to replace batteries. You’ve probably been told the importance of changing the batteries on your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors all your life. Yet, somehow, hundreds of thousands of people still forget to do this each year. Plan a schedule once you move in to periodically do this a couple of times a year. A great way to remember is to do it during Daylight Savings, when you set the clocks ahead and behind each year. This way you never have to worry about the batteries going bad.
5. Taking on new debt. New homeowners will obviously want to start decorating and filling the room with furniture, but too often people get a little too “credit card crazy” and start buying new couches, TVs, artwork and a host of other items on credit, only to realize the monthly amounts are more than they can afford. Don’t be fooled by special no-interest credit cards that don’t last long, and be careful with how much you put on your credit cards.