Thursday, February 6, 2014

5 Tips for New Homeowners

This weekend marks one year of the purchase of our home. In honor of such a big occasion for us, I though it would be fitting to write up some tips on diving into your first year of home ownership

1. Save.Save.Save. (and then save some more)
Plan to have more money in savings that just what is needed for the down payment + the 3 months house expenses the bank requires. Then save even more for furnishing and moving in.  In addition, there should be some saving for unexpected house work, you never know what will break or when. In our first year we've had to deal with a broken toilet, a leaking kitchen faucet and a sagging deck. In addition, it's a good idea to have savings in place to be able to tackle some project after closing but before moving in. Replacing flooring and painting are much easier to do in an empty house rather than once all the stuff is brought in. 


2. Plan & Attack
Even before closing on the house, I had a running list in my head of all the things that we had to buy to furnish or home improvement projects we wanted to do in the house. When I first sat down and wrote it all down, I was extremely overwhelmed by the sheer amount of things we wanted to do. Having them written down gave order to the chaos and helped us prioritize what needed to be done first and budget accordingly. The House To do lists has changed in the past year, some projects we are no longer interested in doing and some new ideas have been added. List making also gives you a sense of accomplishment when you get finally cross out that item that has been bugging you for the past couple of months.


3. Clean Up Time
Cleaning your house for the first time will get you one step closer to making it feel yours. Pay attention to those often ignored places, like atop the cabinets and fan blades. Make good use of all the empty space to clean and paint the baseboards. It's also a great time to wash all the windows and steam the carpets. Bathrooms should be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected, you might even want to get new toilets or at least toilet seats. It so much easier to do a deep clean of the house before bringing a new mess in the form of boxes.


4. Use Color, but Use it Wisely
One of the most frequent compliments we receive when people visit our house is on our choice of paint colors. The compliment is most often accompanied by guests lamenting the decision to paint their whole house the same tone of beige or gray for fear of using color. Painting,although a quick way to give a space a big update, is a pain in the ass once your all moved in and furniture is in the way, so choosing the right colors soon after closing can save a lot of stress in the long run.

You can see all 4 colors we have in he house as soon as you walk in the door.

We decided early on in the house buying process that the "neutral" tone in our house would be gray accompanied by some cool colors. Immediately after closing we stopped by Home Depot to pick up paint samples for the different colors we were interested in; We picked a couple of different shades of dark gray, light gray, teal and light green. Since paint colors look different in every room, due to lighting and other factors, we painted swatches of each of the shades in the all rooms and narrowed the options down from there. We ended up choosing only four cool colors and using them around the house. This way the house colors have a sense of unity and the rooms flow into each other rather than having a really contrasting colors throughout the house.


4. Make It Your Own.
Embrace your home and make it your own. Break all the design rules if needed and fill your house with colors, patterns and things that make you happy. It's extremely important to us to live in a place that we love. I believe a home should represent the people that live in it. I want people to walk in and have no doubt that this house is ours, so we try our best to reflect our personalities in the design decisions we make. People look at me weird when I mention having a huge purple wire chandelier, but it's one one of my favorite pieces in the house. It's in my favorite color, simple and a little  bit quirky but it makes a big loud statement.


What was the most important thing YOU learned as a first time homeowner?

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