Monthly Archives: January 2015

What First Time Homeowners Need to Know

Becoming a homeowner is an exciting time, but it can be stressful too. This is likely the biggest purchase you’ve ever made, and the prospect of maintaining a home after so many years of living with your parents or renting an apartment may be just a bit daunting. But the joys of homeownership outweigh the stresses if you know how to be successful. Here are some tips for making it through the “honeymoon phase” of owning your first home.

Mortgage Terms and Finances

Purchasing your first home may give you heart palpitations because of all the money involved. But you just need to educate yourself about the process and research all aspects of your home loan’s terms. Just because you’ve signed on the dotted line doesn’t mean you shouldn’t keep up with your good credit standing. Now you have more reason than ever to stay current on credit card payments and make smart financial decisions, as failure to do so could result in foreclosure on your home in the most extreme cases. The FDIC recommends sticking to a monthly budget, setting up automatic mortgage payments so you don’t miss one, starting a rainy-day fund, reviewing all correspondence from lenders as soon as it arrives, and making arrangements to pay off your mortgage faster if possible.

Basic Repairs

How do you know when you should fix something yourself or call in a repair professional? If you’re a handy DIY veteran, the lines may be blurred as to what requires a professional’s attention. A good rule of thumb is to stay away from anything electrical in nature, along with materials that could contain asbestos (likely present only in homes built prior to the late 1970s), and intricate pipe work as part of your plumbing system, as the risks associated with unskilled work on these areas are too great. Another area that’s wise to hire a contractor to help with is when you have to demolish walls or alter the structure of your home in any way, particularly when there’s been water damage, advises the Huffington Post. This includes repairing door frames and replacing drywall as well.

Home Maintenance

Buying a home is only the first step: maintaining it is an ongoing challenge that never lets up. From mowing the lawn to applying a fresh coat of paint, you learn the frequency with which to do things over time. Basic home maintenance includes a spring checklist each year to inspect the state of your roof, gutters, chimney, outdoor faucets and surrounding shrubbery, says HGTV. Check for clogged gutters, loose shingles and crumbling bricks.

In terms of caring for your lawn, you should mow it every week during the height of the growing season, advises SF Gate. When it’s cooler out and the weather starts to carry the chill of fall, you can get away with every other week. Wondering how often to paint your house? You’ll need to do this every five years or so, but this will depend on the climate in which you live. You may be able to get away with more time—up to 10 years—between repainting if you live in a locale that isn’t subjected to frequent cycles of harsh sun, rain, snow and sleet.

As a first time homeowner, you may feel overwhelmed, but don’t worry—you’ve got this! Follow these tips and you’ll feel like the king of your very own castle in no time.