So, you’ve either bought a new home or are hesitant to take that big plunge. Definitely one of the biggest financial investments you will make in a lifetime, so hesitancy is expected and perfectly normal. Don’t fret over all the details, educate yourself on options, benefits and risks.
There are several things you will want to think about before making a final decision and we can help you with a list and a few tips.
• Location, location, location! Do you need to be within a defined distance of work, family, friends, schools, church, medical care?
• Know your pricing limitations. Have you been preapproved for a mortgage? Have you calculated how much you can comfortably manage for monthly payments? Should you experience a crisis like an injury or job loss, how much will you need in your savings to continue living in the same manner for a minimum of six months? While a lender may approve you for a more expensive home, be sure to do your own math and don’t over-commit financially.
• What will be the nature of new home furnishings? Are you already equipped with everything you will need in the new location? Furniture, appliances, window dressings, kitchen and bath supplies, carpets or hardwood floors, asphalt or concrete driveway, lighting fixtures, etc.? Think energy efficient if you need to buy any new things in this arena.
• Do you want to consider radiant heated floors? Installation is most cost effective during construction and they add beauty and value to your home.
• If you choose a multi-level home, will you need a residential elevator? Again, installation is most cost effective during construction.
• Security system options. According to the Federal Bureau of Investigations, there are over two million home burglaries in the United States each year.
• How long should a roof last? Depending on the roof type that you choose, it can last from 5-25 years.
o Asset protection devices if you have antiques, valuable artwork or jewelry;
o Burglar alarms aren’t the same as security systems;
o Will the system function during power outages;
o Is it affordable;
o Does it include personal safety for you and your family;
o Check the reputation of your chosen provider;
o Estimate your heating and cooling bills;
Do you need any handicap accommodations?
o Bath, shower, toilet;
o Safety rails;
o Access points; ramp if needed or a stair lift;
o Wider door/hallway openings for wheelchairs.
• If you opt to buy in a more rural area, it may change the costs associated with your work commute. Miles, wear and tear on your car, tolls. Do you need to be in an area that has access to public transportation?
• Garage door openers will ease many burdens when it comes to older residents, kids and loading/unloading.
• Will you need to employ a maid, nanny or cleaning service?
Shop for homeowner’s insurance and consider these tips:
o Don’t insure land;
o Install an alarm system;
o Consider a higher deductible;
o Try to quit smoking;
o Improve your credit score;
o Using one insurance company for all may allow you to bundle and save;
o Get multiple quotes and select the best one for your needs;
o If you have assets of significant value, determine if you need an added clause or actions to cover their replacement value.
• Landscaping: are you able and equipped to perform your own lawn care?
o Seeding, aerating, fertilizing;
o Weeding and bed creation/clean up;
o Yard tools (mower, spreader, hedger, hoe, shovel, trimmer).
Tips for landscaping:
Do you want to attract specific types of birds/wildlife?
o Large, shady trees will help cool your home;
o Leafy trees will require raking the fall;
o Certain plants require more watering than others, summers can be extraordinarily hot;
o Some plants grow best in shade and others best in direct/indirect sunlight;
o Consider year-round weather conditions for your region, as well as plants that are native to your home’s location;
o Edging for beds and/or fencing for pets;
o Be sure the plants are not poisonous for animals or children;
o Do you need/want to add an automated sprinkler system;
Bird feeders, bird baths, squirrel feeders, small ponds or fountains, koi ponds, pretty fire pits are all great additions that are fairly low costs yet add great value to your home and your living quality.
o Pet accommodations
o Housing in all seasons;
o Proper bedding if an outside pet;
o Veterinarian care;
o Required shots and physicals;
o Protection (fenced yard, invisible fencing, chip implant).
• Other minor things to be aware of include available cable/satellite TV, landline phones, sufficient cell phone service, water, sewage, trash pickup, US mail delivery (particularly if you choose a rural area), if you chose a community will you have to comply with existing covenants?
Whew! After all that, the good news is that with a new home, initially home maintenance should be reasonably low. That said, it will still be a significant future expense and you will want to be prepared. While there are many decisions to be made, they are enjoyable tasks especially if you take some time to research options. Several decisions can impact product life expectancy, level of maintenance, appreciation or “curb-appeal” for your home. Now, let’s chat about getting organized to properly care for your home.