13 Great Tips for New Homeowners and First-Time Home Buyers
New homeowners take heart. Experienced DIYers share their tips about what to do—or not do—after moving in.
Scout the neighborhood
We went 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.
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 Home improvement causing stress in your marriage? Learn how to DIY without divorce here.
Make a Homeowner's Journal
Buy a ring binder 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 the homeowner and can be a sales 'plus' when selling the house later. – reader Debora Emmert Paying too much for your insurance? Learn how to save money on insurance here.
Check the furnace filter
This 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. — 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 since 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
Check crime stats
Before buying, get a report of police calls in the neighborhood. A bargain price may be due to the crime rate in the area. — Mike Collins
Ask neighbors about pros they trust
If you're looking for plumbers, electricians or other pros, ask your neighbors. You tend to get decent advice if you get it from people who live near you. — Bob Bessette