Last year, I became a homeowner for the first time ever. Until then, my partner and I had rented apartments and a small house. This was our first step towards owning an asset of this magnitude. While we both felt ready to be new homeowners, and already had a lot of ideas about how to furnish, decorate, and use our new home, moving in was nonetheless a huge shock to the system.
Owning a home is not a passive endeavor. Many see it as a kind of part-time job. When you have just moved in, it is more of a full-time job. There is a lot of unexpected admin to take care of, and you will encounter problems you had no idea existed.
To help you get a handle on what it is like to become a homeowner for the first time, here are some of the things you can expect in your first 100 days in a new home.
What are the first challenges when owning a home – Paperwork
When owing a home, the amount of paperwork can be surprisingly big. The most important paperwork when buying a home is done a while before you move in. You sign everything that needs to be signed in order to get your home loan, offer to purchase, purchase, and transfer it into your name. But the paperwork does not end there.
If you’re lucky, you will be on top of everything by the time you take ownership, but you are more likely to spend hours emailing lawyers and administrators to put different accounts in your name. You will probably have to be in touch with the previous owner or their representative on a regular basis just to ensure that a miscommunication doesn’t lead to your electricity being cut.
Then there is the matter of homeowners insurance. Find out what’s covered by homeowners insurance so that you can confirm your needs are taken care of when worst comes to worst. It is crucial, and some of the nitty-gritty can only be completed once you have taken ownership.
Be ready for all the paperwork with the documents you need, including copies of your ID, proof of address, and bank statements.
Interpreting bills when owning a home
One of the realities of owning a home, that we were not prepared for was just how complicated bills can be. When you get your first water and lights bill, you will find items you didn’t know existed. For more information have a look at: https://www.epa.gov/watersense/understanding-your-water-bill. From sewer availability charges to demand management fees, you can spend hours on Google or speaking to people at state agencies.
The best way to avoid this is to ask the previous owner for a copy of their bills in advance. If you don’t understand anything – or have a question about why they are paying for certain things which they probably shouldn’t be – ask your realtor. They may have the answers or can speak to the previous owner for you.
Challenges when owing a home – Expensive maintenance issues
The previous owner should have followed all the correct processes to get a stamp of approval that the house is in working condition. They should have disclosed any issues that they were not going to take care of before you even made an offer. However, even with all of this completed, you are going to come across expensive maintenance issues within the first 100 days.
This is not necessarily because you were misled. But every home has maintenance needs. When a person is ready to sell, they are going to put off doing as much maintenance as possible. So, while you receive the house in perfect condition, you are going to learn that it will take a fair amount of money to keep it that way.
Ask the previous owner about their maintenance schedule. Even if they are going to leave you with issues to take care of, it is best that you know about them in advance. They can tell you how they have maintained the house, giving you a headstart on creating a schedule of your own.
Interior decorating can wait
Most new homeowners want to fit out their new home as soon as possible. As such, you may intend to buy all the furniture you need immediately, as well as art for all your walls and rugs for all your floors.
However, it is worth giving yourself a few months before you get started on anything but the basics. This allows you to spend your money on what needs to be done, including those unexpected maintenance costs. Instead of being left in the lurch when your roof needs waterproofing, you can leave the guest bedroom incomplete for the time being.