So you just bought a house. Congrats! A place of your very own, you are adulting for real now. You are probably itching to make the place the your own and who can blame you?
Tap the breaks just a wee bit though. Buying a new home can actually end up being way more expensive than you bargained for when you start decorating or begin a series of renovations. Now is the time to practice contentment and to track every penny in your budget because new home fever can set in and it can get ugly. Here are some tried and true tips to keep costs down and keep yourself in check.
- While the rooms are empty, make a floor plan to scale of the house and yard, and perhaps get a new home notebook for plans, design ideas, and inspiration photos. Add receipts as you make purchases and do renovations so you know exactly how much you are spending. If you plan to sell at some point make sure your changes add value.
- In this book or another, write out a timeline for improvements to help you prioritize. This helps when you get an itch and you want things “right now”. You can afford anything, but not everything (yet). Stick to a plan.
- Paint is pretty cheap. In fact it may be one of the cheapest ways to make a home new and fresh, so it is a good place to start. Once you have crisp, freshly painted walls, in a color (or colors) you love, you will be much more content.
- Make sure all the bulbs in the house are energy efficient LEDs.
- Call your local energy company to get a free or low cost energy audit. This will help you winterize and make your home more efficient.
- Even if your inspection turned up no significant issues make sure to have a generous emergency fund for unexpected surprises.
- After moving in look for “money sucks” in heating, cooling, and plumbing. These are not glamorous things to upgrade but if you fix them first you will have more money for the glamorous stuff later.
- Check out Habitat for Humanity for things like ceiling fans, lighting, switch plates, windows, doors, cabinets, tiles, paint, and even furniture. There is no need to buy new if you don’t have to!
- Down become consumed with filling empty spaces and rooms. Let that guest room remain empty, let the box springs sit on the floor, and get used to sparse furniture in a formal living room. Wait until you can afford to furnish these rooms with pieces you really love. It is worth the wait. When you try to fill them right away you almost always go for cheaper pieces you don’t actually love but you can afford OR you go into debt to get the stuff you want.
- Plant trees, especially fruit trees. It is a small expense but one that few homeowners will regret. In a few years you will have lovely trees and/or fresh fruit. Don’t be that homeowner that waits a few years and wonders why in the heck they put it off.
- If you need tools and equipment for fixes or improvements see about renting them or borrowing them. Don’t spend a fortune buying things you will use once!
Do you have any tips or wisdom to share for new home buyers?
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