For as long as you can remember, you’ve been saving money to buy a house — and you’ve finally bought one. It was an incredibly expensive purchase, perhaps the most important one of your life, and now it feels like you are starting from financial scratch considering your drained savings account and the bevy of brand-new expenses facing you.
Indeed, buying a home and living in one can cost an arm and a leg, but it is possible to continue saving money as a homeowner. Here are a few tips to keep your costs low and your financial gain high.
DON’T Focus on the Fun Stuff Just Yet
Moving from an apartment into a house usually means you have all sorts of new space to fill up with new stuff — but before you start looking at sectional sofas and high-end bedroom sets, you should move in, get settled and take score. Most likely, there are more pressing expenses than fancy furniture, and spending your remaining savings on the fun stuff means you’ll have to wait to address the leaking toilet or the fist-sized hole in the drywall. Eventually, you will have the time and money to play with new décor, but for a few weeks at least, you should hold off to determine what you truly need right now.
DO Install Cost-saving Updates
Few millennials are moving into their perfect, updated dream home with perfect, energy-efficient appliances. That means you’ll have to add your own — and it’s a good idea to get that done first because it will save you money the longer you have them. Some major systems you should prioritize include:
- Low-flow faucets and toilets. Contrary to how the name sounds, these plumbing fixtures don’t decrease water pressure, but they do reduce how much water you waste.
- Tankless water heater. If you have a gas water heater, you can benefit greatly by upgrading to a tankless unit. Not only do these use less resources to heat water, but they also last longer.
- Energy Star large appliances. Plain and simple, these are newer models that utilize less energy.
- Heating and cooling. These constitute majority of the energy costs of your home, so anything you can do to increase efficiency is smart. Start with a programmable thermostat, add ceiling fans to your rooms, and maybe spring for a newer A/C or furnace if you can.
If the appliances that came with the property are already breaking down, you might be able to use your home warranty to cover some of the costs of replacing them. If your home didn’t come with a warranty, you can look up home warranty pricing to see if getting one is worth your money.
DON’T Invest in a Bevy of Smart Tech
For decades, futurists have been predicting that smart homes will be big. However, you should resist the urge to outfit your new place with a bevy of built-in smart technology. First, smart tech isn’t all that smart yet; it is riddled with insecurities that make it dangerous to use. Secondly, you have to commit to a certain type of smart tech; Apple Home devices don’t play with Google Home devices, etc. Finally, the tech changes so quickly that when you eventually sell your home, your future buyers won’t be impressed by your 10-year-old tech. You’d do better to save that money for things you can take with you, or easily change.
DO Make a Maintenance Schedule
Now that you’re a homeowner, you are responsible for all home maintenance — and as of right now, you don’t really know what that means. It’s worth your time and energy to look up what in your home needs servicing when, and then you should assemble that info in an easy-to-read schedule. You can go whole hog and build a home maintenance binder, filled with phone numbers for service professionals, a log of updates you’ve made to the home and more — but that’s optional. As long as you know you are completing necessary maintenance on time, you should save money on repairs in the long run.
DON’T Assume Issues Can Wait
If you can remember way back when you were in the process of buying your house, you underwent a home inspection that revealed all the problems that might dissuade you from going through with the purchase. Now that you’re the owner, you should dive back into that inspection report and fix the things your inspector pointed out as serious issues. Undoubtedly, there are many little things that don’t affect the safety and security of the home, but there is probably one or two major concerns that need addressing right away. Fix them before you move in, and you’ll never need to worry about spending money on them again.
Owning a home is expensive, but as long as you stay in the same house for at least five years (10 years is better) you’ll recoup your costs and then some. In the meantime, if you use these money-saving tips, you’ll be back on the road to financial health faster and feeling better about your home purchase sooner.