Have you just made the exciting but terrifying move into homeownership? Welcome to the club! No longer is your home a rental with limits. You can switch up your abode however you please. It’s time to really make it feel like home. To do this, check out our top tips for new homeowners.
Install Ceiling Fans
Ceiling fans are a low-energy way to keep up the airflow in a home. Instead of turning on a bulky air conditioner that will only cool down one area of the house at a great expense, consider ceiling fans as a low-cost and more efficient alternative. Because of how air circulates, you can keep your thermostat a few degrees higher in the summer and a few degrees lower in the winter, ultimately saving you even more money.
Check the plumbing
Before you need a professional, do a survey of the plumbing before you settle in. Does the toilet leak? Do you have a leaky faucet? Are there any areas that faintly smell like mold? Repair any of these issues quickly; otherwise you’ll not only have water running, but money–out of your pocket. Plumbing issues can lead to problems with home insurance, so it truly is better to be safe than sorry.
Plant shade trees near the house
Being kind to Mother Nature can significantly lower your cooling and heating costs throughout the year by planting trees that will lose their leaves in autumn on the western and eastern sides of your house. Their leaves will naturally cool your home during the summer by reducing the amount of direct sunlight hitting your home. In the winter, without their leaves, they’ll allow sunlight to beam into your windows and warm the sides of your house more. Mature trees also can increase your property value, as long as they are planted a safe distance from power lines and the house itself, if inclement weather was to make them fall.
Change the locks and make spare keys
Make your house your home by changing the locks and making new keys. You don’t need to hire a professional to install new hardware for your doors and new doorknobs, and locks are not that expensive. While it may seem unnecessary, you do not know if there are any spare keys floating around that you do not know about, so again, it is better to be safe rather than sorry.
Instead of waiting until you’re locked out and have spent around $100 for a locksmith, make a spare set of keys and save yourself the hassle.
Take advantage of tax benefits
Take advantage of benefits that can decrease your homeownership costs. The energy tax credit has been renewed, meaning that homeowners who made energy-based improvements to their homes were eligible to receive a tax credit for up to 10% of the cost. You can also receive a 30% tax credit toward the cost of solar energy systems, residential wind turbines, and geothermal heat pumps that will go into effect next year.
Many states and local utility companies also provide home energy audits for a discounted rate. They will inspect your home to see where you are wasting energy by checking for air leaks and uninsulated pipes, inefficient heating and cooling systems, and may even replace older incandescent light bulbs depending on the company providing the service.
Your city or state may offer even more benefits, from no-interest loans to rebates, so make sure to do some research when you are planning to improve your home’s efficiency.
Develop a home maintenance checklist
This list should include regular home maintenance that you want to do on a monthly, quarterly, and annual basis. Make a habit of running through the items on this list occasionally, adding things to the list as you add things to your house. Doing so will extend the life of almost everything in your home. Protect your investments and stop problems before they even become problems.
Before you settle in, take the time to think about your investment. What sort of set up did you see when you first saw the house? What kind of feelings do you want to evoke for your family and their guests when they walk through the front door? Before you unpack, paint the walls the colors you prefer, install new carpeting, flooring, and tile–change whatever you need to change to make your home as unique as you are. Go to a modern store to find finishing touches like lamps, canvas prints, even a scratch-off world map to make your house your home.