After a great deal of anticipation, you’ve finally signed the closing paperwork, unloaded your boxes and you’re getting settled into your new home. You’ve successfully overcome any obstacles that tried to hinder your home buying journey, and at long last, you can officially call yourself a homeowner. But what comes next? As a new homeowner, it’s natural to feel a bit uncertain about what major steps you need to take after the home buying process has come to an end – after all, the entire experience is new to you. Don’t wait for the initial excitement of owning a home to fade before taking care of serious business in your new place, and follow these helpful tips to ensure that everything is in order your investment in a house is protected for years to come.
1. Get the Right Insurance – Virtually every lender requires borrowers to carry a homeowner’s insurance policy that’s enough to cover the entire value of the property in the unfortunate event of a total loss. Obtaining proper homeowner’s insurance should be on the top of your priority list as a new owner – but it’s not the only insurance you’ll need. If you’re sharing the house with family members who rely on your income to pay the bills – your spouse and children, for example – you should also consider taking out a life insurance policy with your spouse or another trusted adult listed as the beneficiary so the house isn’t loss if you pass away suddenly. Disability-income insurance is another great idea to consider, as it will help offset costs by substituting your income if you become disabled and unable to work.
2. Don’t Overspend on Decorating – Owning your home provides complete and total freedom when it comes to décor, and as a long-time renter, it’s easy to get a bit carried away with your new found freedom once you switch to owning. While you may have grand visions of a seven-piece furniture set to fill your new bedroom or a big screen TV to serve as the centerpiece of your living room wall, it’s important that you don’t go overboard and overspend on décor during your first few months as a home owner. Chances are, you spent a pretty penny out of pocket to get into your new home between your down payment, closing costs and other fees, so your savings account is likely a bit depleted to begin with. Save the big décor projects for once you’re fully accustomed to making monthly payments on your mortgage, utilities and homeowner’s insurance – and after your savings account has had a chance to recover.
3. Hire a Professional to Do Your Taxes – One of the greatest benefits of home ownership is the tax breaks, but it’s often frustrating for a new owner to figure out which deductions they truly qualify for and which ones are sure to set of red flags with the IRS. For at least your first tax season after buying, hire a professional to file your taxes and explain the rules regarding deductions to you.
4. Create an Organized Filing System – From warranty information to maintenance receipts and tax returns, there’s a lot of paperwork involved in owning a home. As soon as you’re settled, invest in a filing cabinet or a similar storage container that will help you keep all of your paperwork neatly organized. Develop a system for organizing and storing all of your important documents so if you ever need to reference a specific document you can find it quickly and easily.
5. Invest Time in Maintaining Your New Home – The nice thing about moving into a new home is exactly that – it’s new! New homes require far less upkeep than older houses, but that doesn’t mean they will magically maintain themselves. You should spend time on minor maintenance projects with the change of every season to maximize the life of your home’s internal systems and appliances and keep it looking great for years to come. LGI Homes offers a comprehensive seasonal maintenance checklist for our residents, which you can find here.
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