Home Improvement Tips for First-Time Homeowners

Are you currently looking to buy a house for the first time? If so, you’re not alone. One-third of American home buyers in 2021 were doing so for the first time.

With home values at record highs and would-be buyers in constant bidding wars, the pressure to pick the perfect house has never been greater. But given the competitive market and unprecedented values, it’s not uncommon for folks to settle on residential property that has good bones but requires some TLC before becoming a comfortable abode.

If home improvement projects are marketed as an inherent part of buying an affordable “fixer-upper,” the next steps will prove crucial in determining whether your decision to buy is wise or foolish. Here are six tips for first-time homeowners staring at the prospect of sinking money into home improvement within the first six months:

Assess Before Buying

Being told a house needs work is one thing. Accurately assessing the work required to bring it within the standards you desire is another. To successfully pull off a home improvement project as a first-time homeowner, understanding what’s required is key. Make a point to document every pressing issue with a home for sale and factor that in before deciding to buy. In essence, know what you’re getting yourself into before committing. Sure, there’s always the possibility of something else popping up down the line, but itemizing the problems before buying will put you in a better position to negotiate a fairer price. It also prepares you for what’s ahead. 

Start with Priorities

If a house for sale requires additional effort to become a home, you might end up with a long list of things to do. If so, the goal is to organize these projects in terms of priority. For instance, if the house needs a new roof and hardwood floors, the first thing you should focus on is the roof. The floors are more important from the view of someone living there, but a good roof keeps floors and everything else from worsening. Once the roof is secure, you can safely move on to the next thing. Are there windows that need replacing? If so, then it takes priority over the floors. Sooner or later, everything will be handled. By working on the top priorities and working down, you tackle it all without running the risk of putting the cart before the horse.

Shop Around

You’ll probably need professionals to help you tackle your most pressing home improvement projects. If so, it pays to shop around for the best option. Whether it’s water softening companies, carpenters, foundation repair services, or plumbers, you want to ensure you’re working with the very best. Read reviews, ask questions, and compare pricing before making your decision. Your house, pocketbook, and peace of mind will be forever grateful.

DYR Before DIY

Maybe you can handle that home improvement project yourself without needing professionals? If so, you need to DYR before you DIY. That means doing your research before you do it yourself. The last thing any first-time homeowner wants is to get deep into a complicated home improvement project before realizing they need to call in the pros. While there’s nothing wrong with doing it yourself, just make sure you can pull it off before opting to do so.

Secure Permits

Every major home improvement project requires a permit before it can be done legally. Failure to secure a permit could mean fines and the forced dismantling of all your hard work. Even if what you did was by the book, failure to secure the necessary permits may condemn the project to disaster. While it might require a few hours spent waiting in city hall or a week of rigamarole before it’s made official, permits will be the golden tickets that allow you to do what needs to be done. With this in mind, don’t neglect their importance.

Prepare for Setbacks

No matter how well you plan a home improvement project, there’s always the potential for setbacks and other hassles. Rather than let yourself get caught off guard by these unwelcome disruptions, factor them into the final analysis. That way, when they happen, you aren’t terribly inconvenienced. And if they never materialize, then the only cost was unnecessary preparation, which is still a win if you never needed to worry.

First-time homeowners taking a chance on fixer-uppers are under a lot of pressure. But if you plan and prepare accordingly, the risks are minimized while the rewards are enriched. With this in mind, take the time to go about the first-time home buying process in a methodical and thoughtful way. You have little to lose but potentially everything to gain!

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