As a first time home buyer; the worst is behind you. That’s the good news! You managed to find the home that meets your needs and fits your budget, maneuvered your way into an acceptable interest rate and survived closing costs. However, you’re not out of the woods yet! Following are a few common mistakes that first time home buyers make in their first year as a home owner.
1) Stick to your budget
Your budget is your best friend, your lifeline and it can and will save you moving forward. As a renter there were things you never had to worry about because your landlord took care of them, but now? It’s on you. When something breaks or is in need of repair, that’s all going to fall to you my friend. Don’t let obvious but not often thought of items such as homeowner’s insurance or utilities sneak up on you. You’re adult-ing hard now, you’ve got this!
2) Life Happens
You can’t possibly plan for everything, how could you? It is better, though, to be even a little prepared for the unexpected, than not at all. A flat tire and a leaky sink are harmless enough but what if they happen in the same day or week? Add that to a branch from a nearby tree falling onto your guest room or your washing machine dying unexpectedly and you’ve got a real nightmare on your hands. The best offense is a good defense, right? Defend yourself against things you can’t possibly foresee so that when they happen, it’s only a slight headache rather than a full blown popped blood vessel in your eye and your hair in your hands rather than on your head.
3) Take a deep breath
What’s your rush? You’ve managed to secure your home, cleared a lot of hurdles in the process and now, sit back and put your feet up. Many first time home buyers feel the need to rush right into a DIY home renovation project that could have otherwise waited. Maybe the backsplash in your kitchen isn’t what you had initially dreamed it would be or perhaps the dining room has a carpet you can’t wait to live without; first ask yourself: are they functional? 9 times out of 10, the items you can’t wait to do away with are still good and will be able to serve you and your family for some time while you replenish your savings and get a plan in place.
4) Debt: In this case, more is definitely more
At this stage in your life, you’re probably pretty comfortable with your debt to income ratio and there isn’t much in the way of monthly expenses that can surprise you or catch you off guard. However, even if it seems like you’ve got it all factored in correctly on the phone with the credit card company or at the car dealership, I can assure you that could be a pitfall waiting to happen. A mortgage payment can be thought of much like a new boyfriend or girlfriend; there is so much more than meets the eye on the surface. Sure you know you have the mortgage payment but stop to consider everything else that comes with it. Make sure you’re able to devote your time and attention, financially, to your mortgage less it feel forgotten with all the other new payments you’re taking on.
5) “I don’t like change.”
We as a people generally do not like change. Oh, you do? You’re the exception not the rule, trust me! If you’re planning on making a large lifestyle change, don’t. At least, not yet. Your new home is change enough, trust me. One of the biggest transitional periods you’ll ever go through. More drastic, even, than moving from your childhood home into your first dorm room. Yea, it’s that intense. Even if you have a great emotional range and are an excellent multitasker, I can assure you, too many large changes at one time are enough to make even the best of us snap.
In short? Take the time to plan out a budget, remember that life happens, sometimes you’ll have to take a deep breath; debt is not something you want more of and one large change at a time IS enough. If you take these tips and remember even parts of them in your first year as a home owner, you’ll experience more of the moments you intended on having when you got your home in the first place!