There’s nothing quite like the heady excitement of moving into a new place. After the searching, the negotiating, the paperwork, the packing and the moving — you’re finally in! Now it’s time to simply relax and begin making the house into a home, right? Well … sort of.
Now is actually a perfect time to pause, take a deep breath and make sure you’re bearing in mind some essential tips that could help you save money and enjoy greater peace of mind both now and later.
Five Home Care Tasks
Change the locks. Just to play it safe, change the locks (and/or passcodes) to all exterior doors. You simply don’t know who has spare keys or knows the previous owner’s code.
Find these. Know where your breaker box and main water valve are located. If you blow a fuse or the toilet springs a leak, that’s not the time you want to be searching for these components.
Schedule maintenance. There are certain chores that will help you maintain your home in good repair or prepare for the upcoming season. For instance, cleaning your gutters in the fall to avoid ice dams in the winter, replacing the batteries in your smoke alarms and inspecting your roof for damage. Putting these to-dos on your calendar will help make sure they actually get done.
Identify a pro. There are plenty of home upkeep tasks you can tackle yourself. But some call for a qualified professional. For instance, unless you have training, you may be better off leaving electrical and plumbing work to the pros. Ask for references from your new neighbors, as well as nearby friends, family and co-workers. You can also search online for contractor names and reviews.
Press pause on remodeling. It’s tempting to dive right into updates. But spend a little time living in your home first, so you can really see what’s working, what’s not, what you can live with and what you really, truly want to change.
Three Key Financial Considerations
Reap your tax benefits. As a homeowner, you may qualify for some tax breaks. For instance, you may be able to deduct the interest you pay on your home loan. And certain home improvements (especially those related to energy efficiency) may net you some credits, too. To learn more, talk with your tax advisor and surf the IRS website.
Set up a maintenance fund. Even if your home is currently in tip-top shape, it’s wise to set aside funds for ongoing maintenance and repairs, so you can keep it that way. Some experts suggest budgeting 1 percent of your home’s purchase price; others recommend $1 per square foot. The reality is, if your home is newer, you can probably get away with a bit less for a few years than if you have a well-used property.
Understand mortgage insurance requirements. Although the rules vary by loan type, you’re probably paying mortgage insurance if you put less than 20 percent down on your new home. And you can probably ask your lender to cancel it once your home loan balance is less than 80 percent of the original value. Details vary, so feel free to ask us for details.
Following these tips can help ensure that your first weeks, months and even years in your new home are everything you’ve dreamed of!
You are one of the fortunate people who have a Homeownership Program provided by your employer. This benefit offers concierge service at your disposal to help you through this review process. To begin the process of mortgage refinancing or homeownership, call 1-800-376-4603 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. This call can save you thousands in loan fees and is offered at no cost to you by your employer. Reduce your stress and let us help you find more money to add back into your budget!