I’ve officially been a new homeowner for 6 months now and as much as I want to say that “time flies” or that I can’t believe it, I do believe it lol. It actually feels longer and that’s not a bad thing, at all! It feels like this because I’m a firm believer that I chose the right house, it was literally perfect for me. It feels like I’ve been there longer because it didn’t take long to feel like home. The sellers did such a phenomenal job with the renovations that most of the projects that I’ve done around the house have been fairly small and purely cosmetic— or because I’ve spent too much time on Pinterest and decided that I needed to do everything that I see.
A lot of people ask me for tips or how to get started in the home-buying process and honestly, there is nothing that I can tell someone that they can’t find with a quick google search or the most common answer of, “save your money and improve your credit.” However, now that I’ve been a homeowner for 6 months, I can give something a bit more beneficial and something that you can’t find online, things that I’ve personally learned during my 6 months as a new homeowner:
- You can not do EVERYTHING all at ONCE
One of the things that I did when I moved in, which proved to be VERY helpful, was to create a project list. I went into each room and even the exterior of the house and listed everything that I had a vision for in my house. See the photo below.
I felt like this gave me a serious reality check of realizing that I couldn’t do everything at once. Granted, the first few weeks when I moved in I was working on some of everything like a crazy person, but that didn’t last long, I grew tired quickly. Besides burning yourself out, you also can’t do everything all at once because you’ll go broke real quick honey! Of course there were things that I marked as a priority (in the pic above) and had to be done within a certain time frame, like blinds and pathway lighting so that I can see my driveway when pulling in…basically, anything that regarded our safety, had to be done first.
2. EVERYTHING doesn’t have to be brand new
Once you make your list and determine what’s a priority or not, decide what needs to be brand new and what doesn’t have to be. Try your luck on Facebook Marketplace or use the Offer Up app and see what people are selling first to take advantage of a discount. You’ll be surprised what you find on there and how great your negotiation skills can be. I’ve found blinds (unfortunately weren’t the right sizes for my windows), ladders, bbq grills, etc. on these sites and the items were sometimes still in their original boxes for a significant discount. One thing that I do recommend buying brand new is furniture or anything that includes fabric. You might not want stuff that smells like someone’s smoking habits and/or pets. Also, it’s your new home that you worked hard to get, some things are worth the splurge and furniture is easily one of them.
3. Don’t just pick a home you like, pick a home that likes you
This sounds complicated right? Like how can a home like you?? Let me get a little more detailed with this one. You might really like a home, but does it fit your lifestyle? While I loved my house when I first visited and still do, if I had thought about things a little bit more in detail, it did NOT fit my lifestyle. Granted, I did visit the house at different times of the day to make sure the neighborhood felt safe and get an idea of how long it would take to get to and from work, but there are things in my home that do NOT fit my lifestyle that I never considered. For example, my home has way too many points of entry, it’s deep off in the woods and when I go out, I’m usually not back until it’s dark outside, and while the neighborhood is fairly safe, the wild animals are wondering if I brought carry-out back home with me lol. I can admit that there are things about my home that if I thought a little harder about, I probably wouldn’t have chose it BUT it doesn’t outweigh the things that I love about my home, just something for you to think about.
4. Your relationship with your realtor doesn’t end at closing
After closing, there will be times when you can only get an answer about something from the previous sellers and you’ll need your realtor to handle that for you. Also, in a few years you might even consider selling or have to relocate for work and you’ll need someone that is familiar with your wants and needs. I definitely picked a fantastic realtor here in the Atlanta area, here’s her contact if you’re looking: Andrea Smith, firstname.lastname@example.org.
In addition to the detailed list above, here are a few additional things you’ll need to do after you purchase your home:
- Transfer or start new service for your utilities. Make sure you have enough for a potential deposit as well.
- Don’t tell all of your new neighbors your business. As much as you might want to be friendly with your new neighbors, you don’t know them. Be mindful about telling them where you work, they might assume with you having a day job that no one is there all day. While you want a neighbor that’s going to look out for you and your house, that might not be the case with everyone.
- Deep clean everything. Even if the home is a new build, there’s been contractors coming in and out and it’ll be your last opportunity to clean your house while it’s empty before moving your furniture in.
- Purchase emergency supplies like a flashlight, candles, matches, a gun, etc.
- Forward your mail to your new address and change your addresses that are auto-filled in your apps like Amazon, PayPal, etc. I can’t tell you how many times I bought something and had it sent to my old address by accident, ARG!
- Buy labels and totes for things that won’t have a place in your home for awhile. For example, I have a whole box of stuff from my old coffee table but I haven’t bought the coffee table that I want yet, so everything is in a tote just waiting.
- Update your driver’s license. If you’re enrolling your kid in a new school, obtaining a new permit or anything else that requires a government issued id, they’re going to ask if your current address is the one listed and you’ll want to make sure that’s up to date for them.
- Update your auto insurance. You might end up paying more or even less for the address change. Also be sure to see if there’s a discount for using their homeowner’s insurance in addition to the auto insurance. When I got my quote for my homeowner’s insurance, I ended up switching over my auto as well because I got a better deal.
I hope that you found all of this helpful!
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