Being a first-time homeowner can be exciting…and a little scary. Anytime anything breaks, no more calling the landlord. You must fix it yourself. Plus, the expense comes out of your pocket. In your first year of homeownership, the learning curve can sometimes be steep. But you will get through it. Find out what to expect when you become a homeowner and how to prepare for it by reading below.
First Year of Homeownership Expectations
Something Will Break
It is inevitable. Even owners of newly constructed Ventura homes find themselves fixing something during their first year. It might be something as simple as a doorknob or something more complicated like the air conditioner. The longer we live in a place, the more likely a repair or replacement comes up.
To prepare for your first year of homeownership and reduce your stress, create an emergency fund. Financial experts suggest your “rainy day fund” includes up to six months of mortgage payments, interest, insurance, and taxes. Even if you cannot afford that, start saving up what you can afford. Next, make sure you know where your water and gas shutoff valves are located in case of an emergency. Then, look for professionals you trust to handle electrical, plumbing, and other handyman issues that may reach beyond your skills. Finally, make sure you purchase a home warranty to cover unexpected repairs. Talk to your Ventura real estate agent to see if a home warranty can be included as part of the sale of the house. Even in a seller’s market, the seller might throw this in as a perk.
Hello Junk Mail
Once a bank approves you for a home loan, expect to see a lot of junk mail come your way during your first year of homeownership. While most of it tends to be junk, sometimes you find some pretty valuable deals for things like windows, roofing, landscaping, and flooring. Plus, expect to see refinance offers come pouring in. When you change your address with the post office, they also provide a welcome packet full of helpful information about your community and valuable coupons for moving supplies among other things.
Prepare to Spend Some Money
You just plunked down a nice chunk of change for a downpayment and closing costs on your new Ventura home. But the money train does not stop there. You will spend some money after you move in, too. You might need to buy a lawnmower, rake, and other landscaping implements. If you scuff up the paint or ding the walls during move-in, you will want to fix those when things settle. A good deal of the time, you tend to move from a small apartment to a larger home when you buy your first house. That means more square footage to heat and cool, raising your energy costs. (Perform an energy audit to reduce any extra costs.) With more room comes more furniture and other decorations, too. So, just be ready to dole out more cash once you start to actually live in your new home.
Expect to Boldly Go Where You Might Not Have Thought To Go Before
Finally, it is a good idea to clear out the air ducts and clothes dryer vents. The buildup of lint and debris in these two areas makes it harder for their respective systems to work properly. And, unfortunately, people overlook these areas quite often. Plus, this buildup can be flammable, creating a potential fire hazard. While you are at it, change the batteries in your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. Otherwise, you might get woken up in the middle of the night with an annoyingly grating sound tearing at your eardrums. Because, for some reason, the batteries in these devices only seem to start dying at 2 AM.
Congratulations on the purchase of your very first Ventura home. Do not let these things stress you out. You can handle them, especially if you prepare ahead of time
Dave & Pat Zumbrun, Your Ventura County real estate specialists