While the process of buying a new home can be overwhelming, once you move in, that’s when the stress really begins.
After you’ve settled into your new place, it’s easy to start noticing flaws – leaky faucets, old paint, noisy neighbors, high utility bills. And if you had plans to remodel, renovate, or make repairs on the property, it can quickly become clear that it’s not always easy to determine whether a project will allow for any return on investment.
This article will summarize some tips that every new homeowner should know after moving in, from tackling large projects to decluttering your new space.
It can be tempting to dive into remodels and renovations as soon as you move in, but make sure to pace yourself – otherwise, the property can quickly turn into a money pit.
Choose the projects that are most important or will help increase your home’s value, so that you can make a greater return when you sell. To determine your home’s current value, you can use tools like Zillow’s Zestimate or the Redfin Estimate. But it should be noted that these online estimators have a median error rate of approximately 2%-7%, which can amount to tens of thousands of dollars on a home sale.
To maximize your return on investment, use a discount real estate broker when you eventually resell. For example, sellers that use Clever Real Estate routinely save between 40%-50% on total commission fees, about $9,600 on average.
“Love thy neighbor.” The old saying serves as sage advice. Introducing yourself to your new neighbors can give you a feel for the community and any homeowners association (HOA) rules. Being a friendly neighbor also helps if you ever need someone to watch your house while you're away or pet sit for you.
As a safety measure, one of the top items on a new homeowner’s checklist should be changing the locks. In addition to the previous owners, a number of people could have copies of the old keys.
A simple yet easily forgettable thing to do after moving in is updating your address with the Postal Service, and making sure all mail sent to your old home is forwarded to your new living space.
Luckily, updating your address should only take a few minutes. Just visit the USPS website, fill out the “Individual Change of Address Form,” and your mail will be forwarded.
As a new homeowner, there are a variety of monthly bills and recurring costs such as homeowners insurance and property taxes that you will have to understand in order not to miss any payments.
If you’re trying to save on monthly costs, start by analyzing your utility bills (e.g., electricity, water, trash/recycling, internet). For example, if your electricity bill each month is very high, consider installing sun-blocking window treatments that will help you keep your air conditioner off, or investing in energy efficient appliances.
You can also install a digital thermostat that allows you to control the temperature when you’re out of your home. In fact, you can save up to 10% a year on heating and cooling simply by raising the temperature by up to 10 degrees while you’re out of the house.
One of the hardest parts about moving is sorting through and organizing all of your items. This process can be overwhelming, especially if things have accumulated over the years, or if sentimental possessions are involved.
Many people become paralyzed by the idea of organizing their entire home and end up stalling or never getting around to it. That being said, the best way to get the ball rolling is to simply start! Once you do one room, it usually has a snowball effect.
To initially declutter, separate your items into keep, donate, and trash piles. After this process is done, you’ll have a better understanding of the items you have and where they should be placed. This will also help you develop organizational systems and take advantage of the space that you do have, especially if you have a smaller home. For example, if you have extra room at the top of your closet, you can add inexpensive shelf risers or hooks to add up to 20% more storage space.
After you’ve sorted through all your things, try to build better habits that will keep your place tidy, like not purchasing unnecessary or duplicate items just because they’re on sale.
Moving into a new home can feel exciting and overwhelming all at once. Just make sure you take things one step at a time, and focus on completing the most important tasks first.