13 Great Tips for New Homeowners and First-Time Home Buyers
New homeowners take heart. Experienced DIYers share their tips about what to do — and not do — after moving in.
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Scout the Neighborhood
We went scouting on three separate occasions (Saturday, Sunday and Monday) at different times of the day. We asked neighbors about the neighborhood, schools, etc. It gave us a real indication of what the neighbors and neighborhood were like. We bought the house and love the neighborhood. No regrets. — Jon Rump
Don’t miss these eight tips for moving to another state.
Tackle One Project at a Time
When we first bought our old house, I tore right into a porch and kitchen remodel and started on a fence. Before I knew it, I had the whole house AND yard torn up. Ultimately it all came together, but there was a lot of added stress with everything going on at once. — Kirk Pennings
Make a Homeowner’s Journal
Buy a ring binder or multi-pocket file folder and keep insurance papers, repair receipts and all other paperwork pertaining to the house in it.
Storing all your house information in one handy place makes life easier for homeownership and can be a sales “plus” when selling the house later. – reader Debora Emmert
Get to Know Your House Before Making Big Changes
Live in your home for 12 to 18 months before undertaking any major renovations such as additions or knocking down walls. What you initially think you want to do may change after you’ve lived there for a while. — Fran Carpentier
Check the Furnace Filter
The easy-to-change but often-neglected furnace filter can give you some insight into whether the previous owner took care of regular maintenance. — Michael Guarraia
Don’t Be Afraid to DIY
Ninety percent of a DIY project is having the guts to try. Worst case: You mess up and then bring in the professional. Best case: You save money, learn something new and feel a great sense of accomplishment. Don’t miss these 40 home projects you’ll want to DIY. — Fran Skwira
Budget for Trouble
We bought a house with an old furnace, and we knew it was going to go. Sure enough, the first winter did it in. But because we were prepared, it was just an expense, not a financial shock. — Pat Minick
Insist on full, written disclosure from the seller about remodeling, repairs, old damage, leaks, mold, etc. Check with the city or county, and get — in writing — the property’s permit history, zoning, prior uses, homeowners’ association restrictions and anything else you can find out.
Forget “location, location, location.” I say, “Verify, verify, verify!” — Paul Bianchina
Get a Home Warranty
We had the seller throw in a home warranty. This saved us from a faulty dishwasher and got us a brand new furnace. — Larry Gusman
Check Crime Stats
Before buying, get a report of police calls in the neighborhood. That bargain price may stem from the crime rate in the area. These 10 home security mistakes put you and your family at risk. — Mike Collins
Don’t forget to protect your new home from climate risk, either.
Ask Neighbors About Pros They Trust
If you’re looking for plumbers, electricians or other pros, ask your neighbors. You tend to receive decent advice if you get it from people who live near you. — Bob Bessette
Here are the six best ways to find a handyman.
Offer to Buy the Tools, Too
If you buy from a couple that’s downsizing, you might get a great deal if you also purchase their garden tools, tractor, snow blower and tools in general. — Alena Horsky-Gust
Up next, learn 10 home maintenance myths new homeowners wish they knew sooner.