Buying a home of your own can be an exciting experience, but it can also feel a bit overwhelming when you realize that you are now responsible for all maintenance and improvements. It can be easy to get in over your head when you start making home improvements. But with the right tips and guidelines, maintaining and improving your new home can be easy.
Inventory Possible Home Improvements
Before you begin your first home improvement project, take the time to figure out exactly which jobs need to be done, and consider their relative difficulty. Spend some time looking at your house and your property, writing down the things that need to be fixed or that you would like to see changed. This thorough list should include everything that you can find or think of, from fixing a loose doorknob to installing a pool or deck in the backyard. Rate each item on how involved it will be to be and how much it is likely to cost. Then re-write the list in order from easiest to hardest or cheapest to most expensive. This list will serve not only as a to-do list for any repairs that need to be made and improvements that you want to make, but it will also become the to-do list that you can use to transform your new house into the home of your dreams.
Begin With Small and Easy Improvements
You might be tempted to start with major improvements once you own your own home, but the last thing that you need is another set of major expenses so soon after closing on your first house. Start with small projects that you can accomplish in an afternoon, like oiling hinges, putting new caulk in the bathroom, or digging up dead bushes or vines in the flowerbed. While small projects may not be exciting, they can often prevent minor problems from becoming much more severe, and they will also give you a quicker sense of accomplishment.
Increase the Value of Your Home
There will likely be a number of improvements that you can tackle to notably increase the value of your home. Interior and exterior painting, replacing cracked or broken windows, and even planting flowers along your walk can all boost the overall value of your home while adding aesthetically pleasing touches. Often, itas these small changes that make your first house feel like home.
Even if you have no intention of selling your first home anytime soon, improvements that increase the value of your home can make it easier to borrow against the equity in the future.
Look for Money-Saving Improvements
It is important to keep in mind that certain home improvements will not only boost the value of your house and personalize your home, but they all also save you money over time. Replacing old windows with energy-efficient modern windows will significantly reduce heating and cooling costs, for example. Consider installing solar panels or replacing old appliances with new energy-efficient versions to lower your energy bills and reduce your carbon footprint. Even something as simple as installing water-saving components in your toilet can result in significant savings over time.
Plan Major Improvements in Advance
While it is advised to begin with simple improvements and repairs, you all need to tackle the major jobs eventually. But it is important to carefully plan these bigger improvements in advance. This allows you to put aside a little bit of money over a few months to cover expenses, schedule time off of work, or plan for other important considerations.
Shop around and get quotes from contractors or suppliers. Comparison shopping can save you a significant amount of money. Ask for references from contractors or hourly laborers that you hire for your project so that you can verify the quality of their work. It is also a good idea to ask friends, family members, and neighbors for contractor recommendations.
For construction jobs like adding a garage or a pool, check to see if building permits or inspections are needed before the construction begins. Hash out every detail and double-check them to make sure that your major home improvements go according to plan.
With the right foresight and planning, turning your first house into your dream home is easy. It is important to take improvement projects in manageable steps. Be realistic about your expectations, your budget, and your time availability. And do not hesitate to ask for reinforcements. Friends and family members are usually quite happy to lend a hand, especially for your first house. Of course, if you feel out of your depth, it’s best to call a professional. Do not take on a major plumbing or electric job on your own if you are not completely confident in your skills and abilities.