Must-Haves & Reminders for New Homeowners

pie chart and budgetingYou have just bought a home and while you are busy picturing yourself redecorating and making it your own, there are some things to know, have on hand, and remember about this big investment.

It is very easy to get lost in the unbridled joy of knowing you own a house. No landlord to answer to and images of yourself stretched out in a hammock or sitting around a fire pit you plan on building in the back yard can easily take over your day dreams.

But, here is a question to bring you back down to earth from your happy new homeowner dream, “Do you own tools?”  How about, “Do you own a ladder?” One final one, and it is big, “Do you have a budget and are you sticking to it- even in your decorating frenzy?”

Truth is, many new homeowners have no idea what is necessary in the day-to-day life of a homeowner. Here are some top considerations:

  • Tools- The Right Ones: While you probably own some basic tools, like a drill, screwdrivers, a hammer, a tape measure, wrenches, and pliers, being a home owner may require that you stock a tool kit with a bit more variety of gadgets and tools. First, do you own a tool box? No? Buy a tool box. Then add a ratchet set. This is for hard to reach bolts anywhere in the house (perfect in corners and tight spots) which allows you to crank that ratchet when you can’t turn a wrench all the way around. A stud finder is needed now that you are free to make holes in your walls. Use the stud finder to figure out where to hang those heavy shelves, a heavy mirror, or picture frame, so they’re safely anchored. A hand saw is great for small DYI projects around the house and is much easier (and cheaper!) than a power saw. A crow bar is sometimes needed (one with a clawed end) to pull nails and a flat end to separate drywall, remove trim or molding, and separate tile.

  • A Fire Extinguisher: You never know when you will need on and when owning one will actually save your entire house for a sudden fire. Look at the U.S. Fire Administration’s guide, since there are five different types of fire extinguishers with different uses, from extinguishing cooking oils to wood and paper. Choose the best type or types for your home.

  • A Lawn Mower- If of course you now have a lawn, which most homes do, and are responsible for its upkeep.  Expect to be mowing about once per week, from May until October, then once every two weeks until a good solid frost or snow.

  • Ladders: For outside and inside, and while shopping consider how high you may need to go (how high are your ceilings? How high is your roof?), and the sturdiness of its construction.

  • Emergency Supplies: FEMA has a list of emergency items to have on hand, including non-perishable food, water, infant formula and diapers, medications, a flashlight, batteries, first aid kit, matches, sleeping bags, and a change of clothing. An escape ladder for all second floor bedrooms is also recommended by the American Red Cross. Your kit should supply all that is needed each member of your family, including pets, for at least 72 hours.

  • A Budget: You need to have a clear idea of what you actually have to spend on all the new things you wish to buy for your home. All homeowners should have a budget that takes into account all the new expenses of living ( mortgage, taxes, insurance, and maintenance- plus big purchases like a tank of oil for heat for example) and factors in your regular needs of food, clothing, gas, car payments etc. In your first year of owning your home, it is best to avoid any large additions of debt, at least until you are sure you able to pay all of your bills required to keep and maintain the home.Buying a home is an exciting event and it is easy to get more focused on what you just gained, rather than the things you might still need to take care of your new purchase and to be prepared for emergencies while you live there. But being prepared always pays off in terms of avoiding frustration and protecting your investment and your family.


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