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New Homeowner’s Checklist: What to Do After Buying Your First Home

Bill Gassett's picture
New Homeowners Checklist

What are some of the significant events in life that we all dreamed about when growing up? What types of things show that we have grown up and become self-sufficient adults?

Most people want to own a home. Buying a house is like getting your own castle.

Nobody can tell you what to do, and there are no guardians or landlords to report to when there are questions or concerns. The training wheels are off, which can be both exciting and intimidating.

What are the most important things you need to do after buying your first home? Putting an offer on a home is a lot of responsibility, and you should plan properly to prevent disaster after the purchase.

Finding cheap homeowners insurance should always be high on your to-do list, and building positive relationships with your neighbors follows close behind.

What else should you remember to do right after buying your first home? We’ll cover the two tips above and a few others that will prepare you for the best possible experience you can have when purchasing and moving into your dream house.

Fix Everything That Is Wrong

It may sound odd to buy a house that has elements that detract from the property, but this is often the only way you can afford to make the purchase. You need to take note of the things that are a little off about your pre-owned home and look out for several fixes you need to make immediately after taking ownership of the house.

Water damage is perhaps the most pertinent matter to attend to on any property. Water can cause mold and mildew. It can cause cracks in the walls and foundation of the property. It will leak into spots on your roof and can cause catastrophic damage.

Check all doors, windows, and entryways to ensure they’ve been adequately maintained and that there is no evidence of leakage or water damage. Call a plumber if you feel a professional could do a better and more thorough job than you can. These things are essential to get right, after all.

You also need to verify that your home doesn’t have any toxic chemicals or asbestos within the walls or the structure of the building. Many homes that were built before 1980 have this asbestos in the materials that make up the home because it allowed the house to be appropriately insulated.

Talk to your realtor and other professionals about the risks of buying an older home before going through with the purchase. If they aren’t transparent with you on these issues, you should never accept the house in the first place.

Making Friends With the Neighbors

This isn’t necessarily a requirement to living in a house, but it’s definitely going to make your life easier if the people who live around you are fond of you and your living style. At least introduce yourself and familiarize yourself with what it is like to live in an area where everyone owns the property.

You don’t form the same relationships with neighbors in apartments because you can always file a complaint or negotiate with the owner of the building when there is an argument or problem that arises between renters. It would help if you figured it out in the homeowners' circle without the mediator.

At least be respectful of other people’s privacy and expectations for living in a housing development. Don’t play loud music at 3:00 in the morning if it’s waking your neighbors up. Don’t park your car in front of their property during holidays when there are visitors. And certainly do not call the cops to snitch on them for slight inconveniences.

Talk it out like adults. Take some things you learned about living in apartments and condos and apply them here. You can also just use some common sense and kindness. That’s not hard, right?

Buying the Best Homeowners Insurance

You should remember when buying a home that the condition and age of the house are the number one determining factor in the price of the policy. Older homes are riskier propositions for insurance companies because there are more likely to be things that go out or break down.

The average policy cost difference between new and 30-year-old homes is just less than $1,000 per year. So what do you do if you have bought a used home with risks that are frowned upon by most insurance companies? You don’t have to let it dampen the mood of buying your home. There are still great options for any insurance situation.

State Farm and Allstate both have A+ ratings from the Better Business Bureau. If you’re worried that you can’t find a policy for your recently bought home, there is a good chance that these two insurance companies will work with you to find the best rates and negotiate a fair working relationship between both parties.

If you repair your older home and make sure that some of the risks are taken care of, you’ll have a better chance at fair policy prices. Be careful if you add high-value outdoor features. This could make the replacement value of the home higher and increase premiums.

What you need to make sure you are doing is verifying that the home's foundational structure is safe and up to modern safety standards. These are the repairs that show insurance companies that the house is less of a risk to insure.

Remember to Celebrate

Buying a house is indeed a momentous occasion that deserves celebration. There’s nothing quite like the independence that comes with purchasing a home. Even though there are a lot of responsibilities that go with it, the rewards are just as significant. Celebrate them.

Invite your family over to your new house for a dinner party. Bring friends over to show off what you can now claim as yours. Be proud of what you have accomplished and bought. It’s not bragging to be demonstrative and enjoy the successes of homeownership.

There are a lot of ups and downs when you live your life in a home, but they are usually worth it in the end. Embrace the journey of owning a house and you will find that your life opens up to an entirely new batch of possibilities.

About the author: The above article on what to do after buying your first home was written by Shawn Laib. Shawn writes and researches for the insurance comparison site, He wants to help new homeowners enjoy the pleasure of buying a home while staying educated on the insurance process that comes with it.

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