Buying a new home is an incredibly exciting experience and a huge milestone in many of our lives. It also happens to be the most money that the majority of us are likely to have ever spent!
Thus, this is a time where emotions are running high. It’s no surprise then, that it is very easy to make a number of mistakes as you acclimatize to the new status quo. Unfortunately, these mistakes can be costly and potentially destructive.
In this post then, we are going to run through five of the most common mistakes that new homeowners make, and how you can avoid falling into those traps. If you take a moment to calmly plan and assess your situation, then this can be a rewarding and exciting experience after all.
Top Mistakes for New Homeowners
There are a whole assortment of both major and minor mistakes you can make, but here are some of the top ones to keep your eye out for.
Buying Too Much
The first mistake that new homeowners tend to fall for is buying too much.
In particular, many people who have just moved into a new property, will be eager to fill it with new furniture, new fittings and fixtures, and new ornaments and other items. If you were planning on rushing to Ikea on day one, then you’re guilty!
So, what is the issue here?
Well, for one, you are going to be immediately defining the furniture and the look of your new property before you have had a chance to actually live in it. It’s very possible that you will find that the furniture you need is different from what you originally expected, and that what you have bought isn’t the most practical. And what if you find you need to redecorate in other ways later on?
It’s also worth keeping in mind that moving to your new home is actually the ideal opportunity to reduce your clutter. While most of us have a lot of stuff that we feel very attached too, it actually usually only detracts from our interior décor. Having clutter increases the amount of work you need to do to keep the place clean, and simply by removing 30% of your items from display, you’ll increase the average quality by that percentage as well.
The last thing you want to do right now is ruin your premises with loads more stuff!
The other issue is that this is a mistake for cashflow purposes. And we’ll get more to why that is in a moment.
Ignoring Urgent Jobs
When you move into your new property, this is the perfect opportunity to make a whole host of changes.
The obvious reason for this is that you aren’t living there yet. This means you won’t be getting in the way of the workmen, and it means that you won’t need to move all your furniture around and risk it getting ruined.
Unfortunately, many of us will be so understandably drained from the whole moving process, that we won’t want to do any other work around the house. This only makes the work more difficult when we need to do it later on.
Compare that with the feeling of calm that you will have moving into a new home that has been freshly decorated to your specifications and where all major issues have been ironed out.
The distinction here is that you’re not buying new stuff, you’re just bringing the property up to spec to create an ideal blank slate.
Being too Ambitious
That said, there is such thing as being too ambitious when it comes to DIY and home renovation. Again there’s the issue of cash flow, but you do also need to think about what you are realistically going to be capable of especially if you will be living in the property at the same time.
A lot of people will move into a home with a huge list of things they need to fix then not get around to any of it for years and years. The result is that they live in squalor.
This isn’t a matter of ability, it’s a matter of time and energy. Know your limits and be realistic. It may be better to get a contractor in, or just to find a property that doesn’t require so much work.
Not Getting a Home Warranty
Not getting a home warranty is a huge mistake. There is simply so much that can go wrong in a house, and until you’ve lived there for a while, you have no idea of the condition of your boiler, your appliances, or your plumbing as an inspector is only to discover so much.
House insurance is also very important, but most people will also need a home warranty to cover those extra bits that can otherwise be extremely expensive to replace.
And in general, one of the biggest mistakes is to underestimate the necessary cash flow. Too many new homeowners will create an optimistic budget based on the money that they spend each month. While that’s better than nothing, it can be a huge mistake to overlook the possibility of something big going wrong or needing fixing. It’s only a matter of time until a fence blows down, or the water tank bursts. So, insure yourself, get warranties, and keep a rainy day fund.
Not Giving it Time
Finally, it’s important to remember that a house might not feel like home right away.
This post might have shone a light on just how stressful a new property can be at first. The temptation then might be to think that it’s always going to be that way. This is especially true if the place doesn’t look as nice as it did when you last saw it which is inevitable as the previous owners will have taken all their furniture, or if you have trouble getting all of yours organized how you like it.
Getting used to a new property and making it your own takes time. Likewise, feeling at home in a new neighborhood is also something that doesn’t happen overnight and will more likely take about a year.
So give it time and don’t worry if it’s not perfect right away.
Buying is a house, especially your first house, is one of if not the most expensive and most stressful events you will experience. Doing your homework and knowing what common pitfalls to avoid can make the difference between making your experience a nightmare or a dream come true.