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New homeowner? 5 common mistakes you can easily avoid

01 Oct 2019

Becoming a first-time homeowner is one of the most exciting and stressful times of your life, even after the final paperwork has been signed and your new home keys are in hand.

If you plan ahead as best you can, you’ll be able to enjoy all the excitement of owning your first home with less stress and frustration.

“With more than 55% of buyers in Richards Bay being first-time home buyers, my property tips for this month is for this group of buyers - specifically focusing on what common mistakes to avoid,” says Elaine Chetty from Seeff Richards Bay.

You’re suddenly faced with a whole new set of challenges: how to manage a home that’s yours, not your landlord’s or parents’. There are a lot of opportunities to learn and as you learn, mistakes will be made.

Luckily, many new homeowner mistakes can be easily avoided with a little preparation.

Don’t let the following potential mistakes damper your excitement. Instead, plan ahead and keep these tips and tricks in mind as you learn the ropes of being a homeowner.

1. Ignoring routine maintenance

You likely just did a walkthrough with your agent during the home buying process, so you’re aware of what issues need attention and which can wait, but that’s not where home maintenance stops.

Home maintenance includes tasks you may have never thought of before, like cleaning the gutters, pressure cleaning the roof, landscaping tasks, electrical work and much more.

The best way to avoid missing these critical tasks, which could lead to costly damage, is to set up a quarterly or monthly maintenance schedule for all of the areas of your home. This should include indoor and outdoor maintenance as well as details like plumbing and electrical.

2. Not budgeting for additional expenses

Moving can be expensive, but any experienced homeowner will tell you that there’s always more to budget for. These issues seem to pop up out of nowhere, like a broken washer right after you need to patch a leak in the roof. Plan for the unexpected by putting away extra money for emergency house needs. The rule of thumb is putting away 1% to 3% of your home’s purchase price each year to develop an emergency fund.

3. Making major renovations right away

It’s exciting to think about how you’ll make your new home feel more like yours with renovation projects, and while small changes are to be expected, major renovations should wait. Give yourself time to live in the home - see how it feels, and determine what larger renovations will look like as needs arise.

4. Making major life changes at the same time

As you can see, becoming a first-time homeowner is a lot of work. Adding to that by having a baby or getting married at the same time only increases the likelihood that you’ll make mistakes or become overly stressed.

If possible, leave yourself time to get to know what it’s like to be a homeowner and avoid making costly mistakes that come with being stressed, and in turn overlooking simple details.

5. Avoid new homeowner mistakes

There are some mistakes you can’t avoid, but many others that you can. As you get familiar with your role as a homeowner, keep these simple mistakes in mind. If you plan ahead as best you can, you’ll be able to enjoy all the excitement of owning your first home with less stress and frustration.

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