This is part two of our top tips for new homeowners. If you missed it, you can read part one right here.
Set up maintenance contracts
Schedule a plumber, heating and cooling (HVAC) professional, and pest control expert to inspect your house and then set up a maintenance contract with each one. This is important for several reasons:
- Proactive maintenance of your home is essential to keeping things running smoothly, reduce repair costs, and prevent unpleasant surprises.
- When you have a maintenance contract with a company and have to call them for service, you usually get preferential treatment for scheduling (i.e. faster service) and discounts on the service cost.
Learn about essential maintenance tasks
While you have the professionals at your house, have them teach you the necessary steps for regular maintenance that you can do yourself. For example, have the plumber show you how to flush the water heater or have the HVAC pro show you how to change the air filter.
Program your HVAC system
Read the manual on how to program your thermostat, then program it to fit your life. This means tell the system to heat or cool only the parts of the house during the times when you need it. This will reduce energy costs and save you money.
Set up a savings account
Maintaining your house will cost money. You will have to repair or replace items as they age and wear. This is normal. To help you deal with these expenses, set up a savings account and an automatic transfer to put aside some money (ideally several hundred dollars) every month.
Assemble your homeowners toolkit
Every homeowner should have a collection of essential tools for maintenance, repair, and safety. Check out our article about homeowner must-have items and head to your favorite hardware store.
Document, document, document
Create a file (either a binder or a doc in the cloud) and start writing down everything about the house:
- Make, model, and serial number for appliances
- Paint colors
- Flooring make and model
- Telephone and account numbers for utilities and insurance
- Purchase date, price, vendor, warranty for new items
- Date, contractor name, contact info, warranty info etc. for repairs
And anything else you can think of. Not only will you thank yourself for it in the future, but if you sell the house and hand this to the next owner, they will love you for it.
Get an energy audit
Contact your local utility company and ask about an energy audit. They might offer it for free or cheap, or can refer you to professionals to do this. An energy audit will help you find areas that are not properly sealed or insulated and cause unnecessary energy loss. Sealing gaps or adding insulation does not cost much but can help you save money on your monthly utility bills and increase the living comfort in your home.
Befriend your neighbors
Hopefully your neighbors will be nice and come visit you within a few days of moving in to welcome you to the neighborhood. If not, take the initiative to go walk around the neighborhood and meet all your neighbors. Good neighbors help each other out, you will learn a lot about the neighborhood, and you might make a new friend.
These are our top tips for new homeowners, based on feedback from real homeowners. Following these tips will make your home ownership experience much more pleasant and save you from making mistakes that could ruin your day or add a few gray hairs.
Do you have a tip that you wish you knew when buying a house? Let us know!