One of my teammates at work just purchased his first house. As expected, he’s very excited and has already shared all of his projects he’s got planned. This is not uncommon when someone buys their first house and begins to look forward to having it set up just like it was in their imagination when they first viewed the house for the first time. I remember back to the first starter house my wife and I bought shortly after I started working at the credit union. Over time, I’ve made some observations about friends and family as they’ve made their first home purchase.
Ease into it
It is very easy to get carried away with your first home. Usually, when you buy your first home, you are either moving out of your parents’ house or out of an apartment. Either way, you have newfound space and freedom. One of the biggest mistakes I’ve seen is trying to fill the entire house with new furniture. Usually, shortly after moving in and before the first mortgage payment is made, a trip to the furniture store leads to over purchasing. Next thing you know, the mortgage and the first payment on that house full of furniture come due at the same time. I believe this may be where the term house poor comes from. Ease into adding furniture a bit at a time and never overlook a possible hand me down from friends and family.
Same goes for home improvement projects. They tend to be expensive too, and the cost can add up really quickly. Prioritize the projects in regard to need and value returned. Is it cosmetic or important to the integrity to the house?
Budget for the unexpected
First time homeownership brings with it the joys that you hear about but also the unexpected expenses that you didn’t have with an apartment. Something broke? No call to apartment office now as you are on your own. Try to set aside savings for repairs and appliance replacement if you bought a used home. I’d like to be more specific with my advice here but like I said, they are unexpected expenses. You’ll know them when they happen because you’ll think to yourself that you didn’t see that coming.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help or advice
Chances are you know plenty of people who have owned homes before. Lean on them for advice and never be afraid to ask for help. Your home is the biggest purchase you’ll ever make and it is important to get things right when it comes protecting the value in it.
Most of all, enjoy the fact that you are now a homeowner. You have your own space that is yours to do with what you want (within reason if you have an HOA) so you can make it what you’ve always wanted in a home. Just remember to take it slow.
Post author: Jamieson Mackay, CCUFC
The opinions expressed on this page are for informational purposes only and is not intended to provide legal or financial advice. The views expressed are those of the author of the article and may not reflect the views of the credit union.