So, this is it – you’ve finally purchased your first home, and you can’t wait to move in.
Congratulations! Owning your own home is one of the biggest things you’ll ever achieve in life, and once you’re on that property ladder, you’ll likely never want to rent again.
However, it’s important that you plan your move carefully and make the most of those first few weeks and months in your new home, whilst also pacing yourself along the way. So, here is a super-simple six-point checklist to help new homeowners to plan in advance and settle in, stress-free.
1. Budget for your mortgage
Before you dive head-first into refurbishing your home, or making any big decisions about the property, it’s important you budget properly for your mortgage.
It’s probably the biggest bill you’ll have each month, therefore it’s important to get a bit spreadsheet-y about it and create a budget plan that accounts for all your monthly outgoings and income, to ensure you have enough left over to save for any refurbishments you have planned.
After all, it’s no good shelling out for a costly refurb straight away, if you then can’t afford to keep up the mortgage repayments and your home gets repossessed.
2. Buy only the essential things you need to live comfortably to begin with
It might be tempting to immediately buy loads of new furniture and funky additions for your new home, but this will quickly eat into your savings and any funds you might need for unexpected events (what if the boiler suddenly needs replacing, for instance?).
This is why you should start by only buying the things you need to live comfortably. If this means a new cooker, because you don’t already have one, then go for it. Similarly, if it’s just a case of replacing the previous owner’s tatty curtains, this should be OK as it’s a low-cost purchase that likely won’t break the bank. But replacing an entire kitchen… well, this is an expense that will need to be considered very carefully, over time, in the context of your monthly and annual budget.
3. Make sure you’re covered
Depending on the stage you’re at with your home purchase, you may already have the necessary insurance in place, but if not, this will need to be sorted, pronto.
This means buildings and contents insurance, life cover, and anything else your mortgage company requires to secure your loan.
If you run a business from home, make sure that’s covered, too, along with any other specialist insurance you might need for any hobbies carried out from home.
Many a new homeowner has been caught out by failing to organise their insurance in a timely manner. Unforeseen events such as flooding, fire, burglary, and burst water pipes can strike out of the blue at any time, and if any of these disasters were to occur, not having the necessary insurance in place would be something you’d regret for the rest of your life.
4. Get off on the right foot with your neighbours
You’ll probably be living in this house for a number of years, and you really won’t need any neighbour issues during that time.
Good neighbour relations are vital if you’re to enjoy living in your new home. So, start by popping over to introduce yourself and always give them a friendly smile and a wave when passing in the street.
There’s no need to become bosom buddies (unless that happens naturally, of course) – it’s just a great idea to get on friendly speaking terms early on, and make it clear that you’re there if they ever need you. Most neighbours will happily reciprocate.
5. Decorate slowly and when needed
A bit like buying those large-purchase items for your new home, or carrying out a huge refurbishment straight away, you may be tempted to go all-out on decorating immediately.
If you have the budget, the time and the inclination, there’s no problem at all. However, few people do, and this often leads them to overspend on decorating, stress themselves out, and leave jobs half completed.
Promise yourself that you’ll undertake one room at a time, but only when absolutely needed. Start with the rooms you use the most or those which need decorating badly, but pace yourself; this is a marathon, not a sprint, after all.
6. Don’t forget to take meter readings on the day you move
You should take gas, electric and water meter readings on the day you move, both at the property you are moving from, and the property you are moving to. Call up your energy and water suppliers with the readings from your old property, and keep a note for your own records (or take a clear photo of the meters).
This will ensure that you’re not charged for anything you haven’t used at your old home. When you receive your final bills for your old address, you should check that these match with the readings you have noted down.
You should also take a note (or photo) of the meter readings in your new home on the day you move, and before you use any gas, electricity or water. This will ensure you’re not charged for any energy and water supplied to the property before you moved in.
Call up the existing suppliers and give them the meter readings. You can then either choose to open an account with them, or shop around for better deals on the market.
There’s such a lot to think about when moving house, and even more so when it’s a first-time purchase. The main thing is to keep calm, plan thoroughly, make lists, keep records of everything, and avoid any big snap decisions during the moving process and the settling-in period.
But, most of all, you should enjoy and revel in the feeling of becoming a homeowner; after all, it’s a huge achievement, and a significant milestone in your life.
About High Spec Windows
High Spec Windows has been supplying double glazing, conservatories and composite doors to thousands of satisfied customers across the West Midlands for more than 30 years. We enjoy an enviable reputation for our impressive range of quality windows, as well as our high standards of workmanship.