You’ve signed the papers, paid the movers and the new place is starting to feel like home. Game over right? Not quite. Let’s now examine some final tips to make life as a new homeowner more fun and secure.
- Keep saving.
With homeownership comes major unexpected expenses, like replacing the roof or getting a new water heater. Start an emergency fund for your home so that you won’t be caught off-guard when these costs inevitably arise. (To make saving for your emergency fund a breeze, read Build Yourself An Emergency Fund.)
- Perform regular maintenance.
With the large amount of money you’re putting into your home, you’ll want to make sure to take excellent care of it. Regular maintenance can decrease your repair costs by allowing problems to be fixed when they are small and manageable.
- Ignore the housing market.
It doesn’t matter what your home is worth at any given moment except the moment when you sell it. Being able to choose when you sell your home, rather than being forced to sell it due to job relocation or financial distress, will be the biggest determinant of whether you will see a solid profit from your investment.
- Don’t rely on making a killing on your home to fund your retirement.
Even though you own a home, you should still continue to save the maximum in your retirement savings accounts each and every year. Although it may seem hard to believe for anyone who has observed the fortunes some people made during the housing bubble, you won’t necessarily make a killing when you sell your house. If you want to look at your home as a source of wealth in retirement, consider that once you’ve paid off your mortgage, the money that you were spending on monthly payments can be used to fund some of your living and medical expenses in retirement. (To learn how to get the most for your house when it is time to sell, check out Fix It And Flip It: The Value Of Remodeling.)
This brief overview should help put you on the path towards filling in any gaps in your home-buying knowledge. Remember that the more you educate yourself about the process beforehand, the less stressful it will be, and the more likely you will be to get the house you want for a price you can afford – and with a smile on your face.