5 Essential Tips for New Homeowners

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If you’re a new homeowner, congratulations! Purchasing a home is no small feat, and you should be proud of yourself for the time, money, and dedication it took to become an owner. 

Although you’ve already done the hard part, there are still a few tips to keep in mind as you settle into life as a homeowner. 

#1 You’re Not Done Saving

You did everything right—you saved up for a down payment, built an emergency fund, and maintained an impressive credit score. And all that financial heavy lifting helped you achieve your goal of purchasing a home. 

Although it might be tempting to let loose in terms of your spending, as a new homeowner, you still need to be actively saving. Be sure to have the funds to cover expenses like:

  • Unexpected repairs and maintenance
  • Homeowners association fees
  • Property taxes
  • Renovation costs

#2 Don’t Rule Out Refinancing

Since you just went through the complex process of acquiring a mortgage, dealing with another big financial decision is probably the last thing you want to do. 

However, new homeowners should keep the possibility of future refinancing in mind. If done correctly, refinancing can provide you with long-term benefits and increased financial stability.  It’s a good idea to keep a few refinancing options in mind: 

  • ARM to Fixed-Rate Loans: Switching from an adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) to a fixed-rate mortgage is one of the most common reasons for refinancing. A fixed-rate mortgage means your interest rate stays the same throughout the lifespan of the loan. 
  • VA Interest Rate Reduction Refinance: For those who took out VA loans, you might be eligible for a VA interest rate reduction refinance (IRRR). Benefits include lower interest rates and shorter mortgage terms. 

Cash-Out Refinance: Life happens, so if you run into a snag and need money fast, cash-out refinancing can be a lifesaver. This option allows you to borrow money against the equity of your home, meaning you’ll take out a second mortgage for more than you owe on your first one.

#3 Get Inspired

As a new homeowner, you’re probably excited to start planting the garden you’ve always wanted, installing that backyard BBQ pit, and sprucing up your home’s interior with a fresh coat of paint. 

Being able to take on whatever renovations you want is an important—and exciting— part of being a homeowner. Embrace this world of new possibilities by spending time watching home renovation shows, relaxing with a magazine, or creating inspiration boards on Pinterest. 

Once you’re feeling inspired…

#4 Prioritize Projects

When you’re ready to start turning your ideas into reality, you’re going to need a plan. As exciting as tackling home improvement projects can be, it’s important to be realistic. As you start mapping out your plan of attack, ask yourself:

  • Can I afford this?
  • Do I have the time to tackle this project?
  • Do I have the skills needed to get the results I want?
  • Can I do this myself, or do I need to hire a professional?

Addressing these questions realistically is key to preventing headaches down the line.

Bonus Tip: If you’re questioning whether or not you need a professional, you probably do. Rewiring your new kitchen isn’t the time to test your skills as an amateur electrician

#5 Stay Organized

If you’re used to renting, owning a home has probably come with a lot more paperwork than you’re accustomed to. Getting and staying organized in the beginning will come in handy the next time you need to address any home-related issues. Here are some helpful organizational hacks: 

  • File It Away: Set up a designated space in your home to organize and store all your documents. From insurance paperwork to bills, to mortgage information, there’s a lot of important paperwork that needs to be kept safe and easy to access. 
  • Keep Your Receipts: Many new homeowners are unaware that they can write off their home improvement and moving expenses. Keeping your receipts organized will make tax season less of a hassle. You can do this on your computer, on an app, or just in a folder or binder. 
  • Know Who to Call: Eventually, something in your new home is going to break. You’ll thank yourself for having a roster of experienced professionals you can turn to when it does. 

Congrats on Your New Home!

As you adjust to being a homeowner, over time you’re sure to start feeling more and more at home. By following these simple tips, you can sit back, relax, and savor living in the house you worked so hard for!

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