5 Tips for a First Time Home Owner | Kathryn Smith
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5 Tips for a First Time Home Owner

You're about to become a home owner! Congratulations. You not only have a great place that gives you and your family shelter, but you are about to establish equity and maybe even tax deductions. This puts you on a healthy financial footing for the future. You can also decorate your place in any way you want – no more asking the landlord! It's yours.

There's a lot to think about in buying a home. But there's more to think about in your first time owning too. Here are 5 tips.

1. Save a Maintenance and Repair Budget Along with a Down Payment

When people hear advice about buying a house, often they focus only on the down payment and monthly payments. The fact is, you need to save an amount that includes a reasonable down payment and a reasonable maintenance and repair budget.

Why? Because maintenance and repair is part of life when you own a house. If the water heater stops working or the air conditioner goes kaput on a 100-degree day, it's not enough just to say you don't have the money right now. You need those things to inhabit a house.

Generally speaking, about $3,000 as a cushion should set up you nicely, so you can repair anything that needs doing without emergencies.

2. Inspect the House Every Six Months

We don't mean to harp on repairs and maintenance, but the fact is, they're your friend. Why? Well, minor maintenance, like fixing a leaky faucet or replacing a few shingles on a roof, can prevent major maintenance later on – like having a flood in your basement or having to repair the entire roof. It's less expensive ultimately, and it's safer.

Walk around. Either go up on the roof or hire someone to do it. Make sure that storm damage or trees aren't causing damage. Go down to the basement if you have one. Look for signs of pests (mice, insects) and mold. These have to be nipped in the bud.

Look at the plumbing and heat, ventilation, and air conditioning units (HVAC). Does anything look worn? Is everything in good working order?

3. Get Home Insurance

Never, never try to go without home insurance. If your home suffers from a natural disaster, such as flood or high winds or lightning, home insurance will reimburse you for damage. If you should have a theft, you will be reimbursed.

It's a good idea to take pictures of your house, both inside and out, as well as your furnishings and possessions. That way, you have a record for the insurance company of what you had and the condition it was in if you ever need to file a claim.

4. Keep Track of Your Expenses

One of the beauties of home ownership is that many things are tax-deductible. Your mortgage interest likely is deductible. Your property tax payments may be. So may certain home improvements, especially those that contribute toward energy efficiency.

Keep a file with all your household-related expenses in it. At the end of the year, you will receive a statement from the financial institution that holds your mortgage, giving the amount of deductible interest and property tax. Put that in it.

If you do your own taxes, refer to the file at tax time. If you have an accountant, give the file to that person.

5. Keep Manuals for Appliances and Fixtures

Never throw away the owner's manuals for appliances and fixtures. First of all, they come in handy if you have questions about the operation or repair. Do you suddenly need to know how to clean your humidifier or your dishwasher? Do you need to know a battery size for the flashlight? The owner's manual will tell you.

Second, if you ever want to sell the house, the new owners will want these, and they provide valuable information about the age of appliances and fixtures and how to operate them.

Equity Prime Mortgage is here for home buyers whether it's for your first home purchase, a refinance, or any other mortgage related needs; visit us online to start #YourLoanJourney by clicking here or calling us toll-free at 877-255-3554.