Updated February 25, 2021.
Get to know your home.
As simple as it sounds, doing a “walk-through” of your new home can be extremely helpful. Make a list of what needs to be improved. Figure out what each switch controls. (There’s nothing like flipping a “light switch” to discover it’s the garbage disposal switch!) Navigate the controls for all major utilities.
For instance, if you’re trying to install new lighting and need to turn off the main power, you’ll thank yourself for learning how to do this ahead of time instead of scrambling around and trying to figure it out on the fly.
Paint the house (if you want).
If you’re planning on re-painting any rooms in your new home, do this right away if you can. There’s nothing more cumbersome than painting a fully-furnished room. Use the new-ness of your house to your advantage and take care of painting before you officially move in!
Deep clean your new home.
Your new house should already be fairly clean, but it doesn’t hurt to give it a good once-over as you move in. For good measure, you may want to do things like:
- Disinfect high-touch areas and surfaces
- Sweep and mop the floors
- Vacuum the carpets
- Clean the interior of any appliances
- Clean the bathroom sink, toilet, and shower/tub
Introduce yourself to your new neighbors.
It may not be the best idea to barge into your new neighbor’s house unexpected, but a quick “hello” if you see them outside or a nice note with a homemade treat left at their doorstep can make all the difference. After all, one of the biggest perks of homeownership is developing a sense of community within your new neighborhood.
Clean or replace the furnace filter.
Ask anyone. The furnace filter will need attention when you move into your new home. If your furnace has a washable filter, you’ll need to rinse the filter and allow it to dry before reinstalling it. If you find a disposable filter in your furnace, you’ll need to buy a new one and replace it. Doing this regularly will ensure clean air, prevent furnace damage, and save you money in the long run.
Create a home maintenance checklist.
Regular maintenance is key for preserving – even enhancing – your home’s value and extending its life, so making a list of recurring upkeep is important for staying on track. Tasks like replacing filters, cleaning windows and screens, and emptying the gutters should be done on a regular basis to keep your home in tip-top shape.
Some things you should do regularly include:
- Replacing filters – every 3-12 months, depending on type
- Cleaning windows/screens – every 6 months for windows, once a year for screens
- Emptying the gutters – seasonally
These tasks will help preserve your home’s quality more than you might expect. Ideally, you should also maintain a regular cleaning schedule (easier said than done!) to keep the day-to-day items in tip-top shape, like cleaning the shower, wiping down countertops, etc.
Save for unexpected expenses.
No matter how thorough your maintenance checklist is, home repairs will come up. This could be as simple as replacing the hardware on a bathroom cabinet or something a little trickier like an air conditioning issue or water heater malfunction.
If you can, simply put some extra money aside in a savings account monthly. You never know what random expenses you’ll need to pay, especially as a first-time homeowner, so having that rainy-day fund can be a huge relief if the time comes.
Take your time with the decor.
We know you’re probably exploding with “Pinspiration” right now, and rightfully so. Owning a home means decorating it however you’d like – that’s the fun part! Before you go crazy and spend your life’s savings on brand new decor, take a step back and think about what you really need.
There are some decor items you should invest in (a comfortable sofa, a quality mattress, etc.), but try to save where you can and space out your large purchases. This way, you’ll be better prepared for maintenance expenses that may pop up in the future.
Plus, you’ll want some time to live in your space before going crazy on décor changes and renovations. Make sure you really want to do the things you think you want to do by sleeping on it for at least a few weeks.
Keep track of your owner’s manuals and warranty information.
As a first-time homebuyer, you’ve probably acquired some new appliances, furniture, and other home goods. Make sure you not only save the owner’s manuals and warranty information, but keep them in a safe, easily accessible place. A portable file storage box is a great option for starters.
For more home projects and tips, visit the Home Life page.