Buying your first home is really exciting. However, the stress kicks in around the time you sign hundreds of papers committing you to that hefty mortgage payment for the next 15 to 30 years. Hey, it’s a lot of money!
Not to worry, you’re totally normal as most people feel a little overwhelmed after signing their life away on those closing documents.
Soon after that, with keys in hand, you jump in your car and happily pull into YOUR driveway. Okay, I can do this; after a little cleanup, power washing, landscaping, and some major elbow grease my curb appeal will be much improved. You feel a little bit better knowing you have already made a mental to-do list and an actionable plan.
Next, you fiddle around trying to get the front door open as you take yet another mental note of another purchase to add to your growing list.
Lawnmower, weed wacker, mailbox, and new locks. Yikes, it just hit you – you’re not even inside yet! Hummmm….that pretty doormat will have to wait.
Now that the house is entirely empty inside, your blank canvas is not what you expected. In fact, it’s not blank at all!
The plaster walls have large cracks that were not part of your interior design plan. It’s now apparent that the previous owner’s curtains and strategic placement of plants covered a multitude of sins!
Suddenly you feel duped!
How in the world are you going to turn this dump into your home? Take a breather and have comfort in knowing a little progress each day is all that is needed.
Knowing you are not the only one that has gone through such emotions will automatically make you feel better. Since your time is valuable, it’s essential to use it wisely. Let’s begin with the necessities first.
5 Things To Do Immediately After Buying Your First Home
1. Turn On Utilities
Hopefully, this is one step that your realtor reminded you to take care of before closing on your home. This will include water, electric and setting up an appointment for your cable and internet service.
2. Change Your Mailing Address
Sorry, I know you don’t need your bills finding your new location, but I’m here to remind you that you can not afford your credit score to take a hit! Welcome to adulthood.
3. Clean, Clean and Clean
Please try not to become overwhelmed during the cleaning process. It’s completely normal to find more issues with your new home along the way as you are now inspecting it inch by inch.
As you scrub away, your home will begin to show its appreciation for the attention you are giving to it.
To your surprise, you will probably begin seeing a sign of hope. A few of your wishlist items (e.g., a new stove or refrigerator) are now showing signs that they have earned themselves a chance of sticking around longer than you initially had planned.
4. Change The Locks
This is a crucial step, and not one that should be skipped! I, for one will always lose count of how many keys are out there for my home. A while back, during an outing with friends, I realized I did not have my keys. To my surprise, one of my friends handed one to me. The scene below from the last episode of friends has a lot of truth to it.
5. Update Your Drivers License and Registration
You will probably not be getting to this one for the first week or two of your move. It will be helpful to make a reminder in your google or outlook calendar so as not to forget to make this change as most deadlines are usually 30 days or less.
Great! Now that the necessities are out of the way, you can now begin with a few basics, which are easy since the house is empty. This will provide you with a good foundation for future decorating.
Your Decorating Plan After Buying Your First Home
It’s absolutely fine to decorate your house piece by piece, rather than one room at a time. That being said, there are some items you should consider doing before unpacking if you have the budget to do so.
Many homeowners believe they should do the floors after the painting to avoid paint on their brand new floors. I can understand your concern; however, professionals will say the opposite.
In the process of removing and updating flooring, which is a dirty job, there is a good chance your freshly painted walls and trim will get ruined. Instead, use Rosin Paper which is a water-resistant floor protection material to protect your floors after they are completed.
Painting is yet another one of those things that are best done before unpacking is done. Not only will it be less of a hassle, but it will also be a faster and neater process with an empty home.
Oooh, and the transformation will be amazing! Nothing entirely does it like a fresh coat of paint.
Your Essentials Furniture Pieces
There are a few essential items you will need after moving in; the rest of the things can be purchased over time.
Surprised that a bed made it on the list? If you’re starting with nothing, choosing a bed should be a priority to buy.
Fortunately, these days there are more quality mattress options that can be tested in your home Risk-Free for 120 nights, and carry affordable prices.
In a mattress store, you only get 5 minutes to test out a mattress. With a Nolah mattress, you get 120 nights in the comfort of your own home. If you don’t love your Nolah mattress, they’ll send a driver to pick it up for FREE.
Pro Tip: When buying large and costly pieces of furniture, it’s best to look for classic styles that will stand the test of time rather than a style that will be outdated quickly.
Well, you need somewhere to eat, don’t you? If you’re low on cash, this is where you can be creative. Fortunately, a decorative floor-length tablecloth can hide anything, including a card table or a piece of plywood with a sturdy base.
After your bed, a couch will probably be your next crucial upholstered piece. It’s where you’ll lounge, watch TV, eat meals, take naps and entertain family and friends, so it would be wise to invest in one that will last.
Find Your Decorating Style
Okay, now comes the fun part – let’s tackle your new home’s interior decor in a way that makes sense without breaking the bank! To avoid making random impulse purchases, it’s helpful to learn the style you’re aiming for.
Personally, I’m not one to tell a client to stick to a particular design style such as farmhouse, transitional, modern, or even eclectic. Instead, I usually ask for them to gather images of rooms or furniture they are drawn too. In doing so we can begin to find a pattern in their choices and make a home that’s unique to them.
Are they drawn to bright or neutral colors, clean lines, a relax and comfortable setting or a formal one? Pinterest is an excellent way to do this. Here are a few posts you will find helpful to review Seven Ways to Create a Cohesive Home Decor, How To Avoid Decorating Mistakes, and How To Create a Mood Board
When working with a very tight budget, focus on the items you already own, (and love) and work on building around them.
Find Areas To Save After Buying Your First Home
Add-In Some Character
New is not always better. In fact, heirloom pieces can immediately add character and charm into a space. Hunt down some unique pieces at estate or garage sales.
Try A Little DIY
A fresh coat of paint or a new set of handles may be all that is needed to bring new life to an old piece. Consider using the furniture piece in a different room for an unconventional change. Find some inspiration in our post DIY Furniture Hacks To Try.
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How Your REALTOR® Can Help You Save Money
When it comes to furnishing your home, your REALTOR® can be a great resource.
Meghan Henderson, Client Care, of The Cameron Team, says, “If you know you’re moving into a home without a refrigerator, ask your REALTOR® to keep an eye out for other clients looking to sell theirs. We see people upgrading appliances in new construction homes and selling what the builder installed initially. That means someone is getting a good deal on a practically brand-new appliance.
We also often see clients who need to unload whole furniture sets, because they’re downgrading to a smaller home. They’re not new, but it’s an opportunity to save money.”
Should You Take On Major Renovation Projects?
After buying your first home, your funds will be limited, and you will need to get used to your new financial responsibilities. Our friends who are seasoned house flippers provided us with the following advice shortly after our first house purchase, which was a major fixer upper.
It is a good idea to wait a few months to a year before doing any major renovations to your first property. After living in the house for a while, you will have a better idea of what is truly needed or lacking in the home (e.g., HVAC, roof), and you will be able to prioritize the projects accordingly.
Lastly, and most importantly, make sure all your decisions are made with future resale value in mind. Even if you plan to live there for the next 15 years, you should always, ALWAYS think resale value.
Within six months after buying our first home, we learned a thing or two. The charming fireplace had interior cracks from the basement to the third floor. The termite damage was not just isolated to the cellar; it extended to the second floor sill plates. The oil tank which the house was still using had begun leaking.
Again, we are blessed to have friends that are all contractors, and we, fortunately, turned a nice profit, but had we not taken that advice….yikes!
Congratulations on buying your first home! Even if your moving boxes are currently playing double duty as your dining room table, be proud knowing it’s yours.
Sometimes we like to rush the process and are in a hurry to turn our houses into our fully decorated and cozy homes. I’m here to remind you to enjoy the process of bonding with your family and friends during those late nights of painting and pizza take out dinners. These are your future memories that are your “present.”
Lastly, for those homeowners that are willing to take on a few DIY home projects, you will reap the satisfaction of adding value to your homes. Plumb and Lined is an excellent resource for guidance on a number of DIY projects and even reviews tools on frequent tool purchases for homeowners.
For more home styling tips and tricks drop by anytime. Hey, we’re always up for company.