Moving from renter status to owning your own home is a proud and exciting experience. You’ve worked hard to get there, and nothing should jeopardize your achievement.
The money management experts at Investopedia propose seven strategies new homeowners should employ to be sure nothing gets in the way of the enjoyment and financial freedom they expect:
Don’t overspend on furnishings or remodeling. You want to personalize your new home and upgrade certain features, but you’ve just spent a big chunk of your savings and money may be tight. Give yourself time to build your savings and get to know your home before you go on a spending spree.
Keep up with maintenance. While you’ll never have a rent increase notice taped to your door, repairs are a part of homeownership. From a clogged toilet to a leaky roof, pay attention to problems that could get worse and cost more to repair than if you’d had them fixed in the first place.
Hire qualified contractors. You can paint and do all kinds of things, but don’t try to save money by making repairs you aren’t qualified to do. Learn all you can about DIY but hire professionals to do what you cannot.
Get help with your tax return. Even if you’re accustomed to taking care of it yourself, owning a home significantly changes most people’s financial situations. Getting your taxes done professionally at least the first year can give you a template for the future.
Keep receipts for home improvements. When you sell your home, the improvements you made will increase its basis, and the cost for some improvements can save you money on taxes. But neither will be true if you haven’t saved your receipts.
Don’t compare a repair with an improvement. Not all home improvements are treated equally. The IRS doesn’t care about routine plumbing repairs or other simple fixes. It does consider improvements that enhance your home’s value, like replacing the roof or adding central air conditioning.
Get properly insured. Your mortgage lender requires you to buy homeowner’s insurance— enough to fully replace the home in the event of a total loss. But if you share your home with someone, you should also have life insurance and disability insurance. Your tax preparer can help you determine how much to buy.