5 keys to homeownership in your first year

Owning your own place is definitely worth it, but it’s important to know – and plan for – the costs and other important responsibilities that come with homeownership. So whether you’re a first-time buyer (extra congratulations!) – or simply reading this piece for some extra advice or reinforcement, there are several challenges and aspects you should be prepared for during your first 365 days. Here’s a condensed guide to what you can expect as you get used to your new place.

It’s important to invest both time and money. Beyond the home’s initial price, you’ll need to budget for ongoing expenses like property taxes, insurance, utilities, and homeowners association fees, if applicable. It’s also wise to set funds aside for maintenance and emergency repairs. How much? It’s recommended to save 1% of your home’s value each year for these costs alone.

Maintenance is a year-round commitment. Speaking of maintenance, each season brings its own challenges in this area, from preparing for severe weather, to regular upkeep like cleaning gutters or servicing your HVAC system. Being proactive with these tasks can prevent costly repairs later​.

Go meet your neighbors. Getting to know those around you and building your community can be incredibly rewarding. It helps create a supportive network and can make your residential experience more fulfilling​. Plus, your neighborhood could be a built-in referral network when it comes to home contractors, service providers, pet or babysitters, and more.  

Don’t forget about energy costs. New homeowners are often surprised by higher utility bills. Think about it: your new place is likely larger than your last. How do you prepare?  Conducting a home energy audit can help identify ways to improve efficiency and reduce costs. This might include upgrading insulation or timing major appliance use to off-peak hours to save on electricity.​ Here’s some related advice if you’re still in the homebuying process. It’s perfectly OK to ask the seller – or the listing agent – about utility costs and if any energy efficiency upgrades already come with the home.

Do what you want with the space – in due time. One of the greatest parts of homeownership is that you can do whatever you want with your house when it comes to making it feel like home. But patience could pay off in this regard. As you settle in, you might start thinking about personalizing or renovating your space. It’s best to live in your home for a while before undertaking large projects. This gives you a better understanding of what changes are truly necessary and allows for better financial planning for these projects​.

Thank you for choosing our teams to close on your next home! We wish you the best of luck and want you to love your new house for years to come. Your journey is just beginning – and we’re always here if you need our guidance in the future. 

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