It’s been over three weeks since we moved into Simply Every Home! This is the third home we’ve purchased in the last ten years and the second home that we’ve lived in as our primary residence.
We’re not experts by any means, but from our experience between our first home and now going through the post-move process in this one, we’ve learned our share of homeowner tips and lessons. Here are seven practical things to know as a homeowner.
This post is sponsored by the Michigan State Housing Development Authority. As always, all opinions and content are my own.
Seven Things to Know as a Homeowner
Take Your Time Settling In
Whether you’re moving into your first home or forever home, the most important lesson I’ve learned is that it takes time, more than you anticipated, to get settled into your new home.
I’ve been living through it, telling myself to take it day by day, room by room. Slowly but surely, you will find the time (and energy) to make your new house a home.
Budget for Furniture and Home Decor
Even though this is our second home, we purged a lot of our old furniture. While it’s easy to want to buy everything new for a new home, furniture and home decor costs add up pretty quickly. Budgeting correctly and pacing the furniture and home decor shopping over a period of time is much healthier on the financial front.
We brought over all of our bedroom furniture and the basement is furnished with our living room set. The new pieces of furniture that I budgeted to purchase right away are for the kitchen. Since it is the most used space in our home (and a much larger space than our previous home), I made sure to make this my first area to furnish and decorate.
Rooms that I am going to focus on later are my home office and the piano/reading room. We decided to (not) use our formal dining room and re-purpose it with the piano that we inherited from my parents.
Have a Savings for Expected and Unexpected Expenses
Having lived in our first home for nearly 10 years, we experienced various homeowner costs in maintaining our home. From replacing the roof to old appliances and ongoing maintenance costs, there are a plethora of expected and unexpected home-related expenses that arise for homeowners.
While building a savings takes a lot of effort, patience and time, having a home emergency fund is crucial to make sure you’re fully prepared for these costs that will inevitably come up.
DIY House Projects
I know, I know – we just moved into a house that we built from the ground up. Even still, the list of house projects is pretty long. Throughout our building process, we carefully handpicked certain (small) projects that we knew we (aka D) could do ourselves to save some money in home building.
Bathroom hardware to closet systems in the boys’ rooms are things that D is handy enough to do on his own. Hard to believe, but his work on the smaller, DIY projects saved us thousands of dollars.
Stay on Top of Maintenance
There are so many ongoing maintenance issues that I never thought about as a renter. As a homeowner, you will have to keep up with maintaining the daily quality of your home. Here is a high-level list (I’m sure D has more to add here):
- Replacing Air Filters
- Servicing Your Furnace and A/C
- Maintenance Checks in Your Attics/Crawl Spaces/Etc.
- Lawn Care
- Sprinkler System Seasonal Maintenance
- Cleaning Gutters
Know When to Hire Professionals
Even though D is pretty handy with small house projects, when it comes to major home issues, replacements or renovations, hiring professionals has been the best decision for us.
The cost of labor and professional expertise has been well worth the investment it saves us in time, finished product, and the built-in guarantee of these home projects.
In our last home, when we renovated our master, we carefully chose what parts to DIY and what parts to outsource, and we’re so happy with our decision to have outsourced most of the project to a contractor. We also used him to finish our basement.
Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff
Lastly, accept the fact that no home is without imperfections. Even though we built our current home and it has fulfilled many of our wishlist items, there are small things that we have noticed since living here. And with three small kids running around, I suspect there will be other imperfections that help to turn our house into our home.
Most of the small stuff is purely cosmetic and can be taken care of with a fresh coat of paint. Also, there are so many big house things to worry about, it is not worth the stress and aggravation to get worked up about the small things that you notice as a homeowner.
The Michigan State Housing Development Authority is a great resource available to current and potential homeowners in Michigan.
Michigan Down Payment Program
Did you know about Michigan’s Down Payment Program for first time home buyers? MSHDA offers loans with down payment assistance of up to $7,500 (Michigan Down Payment). They also offer a unique set of mortgage products and are an affordable partner for all loans.
- Available to first-time homebuyers (have not owned a home in the previous three years)
- Statewide and repeat homebuyers in targeted areas.
- Household income limits apply and can vary depending on family size and property.
Seven Things to Know as a Homeowner