Inside: Being a new homeowner comes with a lot of responsibility and the first year of home ownership is the most important. We’ve been new homeowners twice now, so I decided to write down everything we did with our first home (and what I plan to do in our current home) to keep everything in tip-top shape as well as add value to the home. These 9 tasks should be on every new homeowner checklist!
What Should New Homeowners Know?
I’ve compiled a list of 9 easy tasks to complete in your first year as a new homeowner. This list can not only help maintain the value of your home but also add value to it when you’re ready to sell!
So just follow this new homeowner checklist I made and you’ll be in great shape!
Add Home Security
One of the very first things you should do as a new homeowner is increase the security around your doors. This was definitely number one on our new homeowner checklist. If you’ve never looked at the strike plates on the front door in your new house, let me tell you, they aren’t very secure! The builders never use very long screws to install them and they can easily be kicked in with some force.
We installed this steel double strike plate in our house and I feel so much better knowing our door can’t easily be kicked in! The best part is it only costs $7! Such a great investment!
We also installed top locks on our two exterior doors for two reasons. The first is to keep our kids from going outside whenever they want, but also to add another level of security on our doors. It’s not as strong as the steel plate, but it’s better than nothing!
The last task we did for home security is to install a video doorbell. I can’t tell you how much peace of mind I have knowing we have that video doorbell! I love getting notified whenever someone is at my door and the fact that I can look at a live feed to make sure everything around our house is safe.
One of my best new homeowner tips is to add some home security to your house when you move in (if it’s not there already!)
Install A Water Softener
If you live somewhere with hard water (hello, Utah!), I highly recommend investing in a water softener. It’s a good amount of money up front, but the cost will pay off in the long run!
We didn’t get a water softener in our last house because we didn’t plan on being there more than 5 years, but we made it a priority for this house! And I’m sure it would have been more of a selling point in our last house if we had one.
Just to share the cost, our water softener was around $2000 and has a 10-year warranty. We set aside some of the money we got from our house sale so that we could install a water softener in our new house right away and it could not have come soon enough! Our dishes were coming out of the dishwasher filthy because of the hard water in our new city. Gross!
Having a water softener as a new homeowner will not only save your dishes, skin, and hair, but it also helps your appliances last longer. Things like your dishwasher, water heater, faucets, etc. If you have a water softener and keep up on preventative maintenance (see below) your appliances will last so much longer!
Switch Out The Air Filters Regularly
I’m ordering more air filters as I write this because I haven’t switched ours out yet in our new house. Oops!
This is one of the new homeowner necessities to keep your furnace and A/C running correctly and to keep the air in your house clean.
The HVAC company I use recommends switching out the air filter every 2 months normally and every month if you live by construction.
This is an easy item to forget on your new homeowner checklist. If you need a little nudge (like me) create an event in your phone so that you get a reminder when it’s time for a change.
Install Ceiling Fans
This task might not seem like an obvious item for your new homeowner checklist, but it is so worth it! In my opinion, we waited too long to install ceiling fans in our last home. It’s such an easy task for new homeowners! The ceiling fans don’t have to be super expensive (I’ll share some of my favorites below), and by installing them soon after you move in, you’ll save yourself a lot of money cooling the home that normally would be spent running the A/C.
Having a ceiling fan in our master bedroom right over our bed was the best because I love to sleep a little cold at night!
Stay On Top Of Preventative Home Maintenance
I cannot stress this enough if you’re a young homeowner: preventative maintenance will be the key to keeping your home running well and will save you lots of money in the long run.
In our last home, I scheduled an A/C and furnace tune-up as well as a water heater flush yearly even though we had a brand new home! Why?? Because I had seen family members who didn’t schedule preventative maintenance and had expensive repairs come up all of the time.
If you stay on top of the preventative maintenance, you can often catch any problems early on before they become expensive repairs.
I just look at taking care of my house like I do taking care of my health. Going to see the doctor every year may not be necessary, but knowing that there’s nothing wrong with my health (or my house) gives me a lot of peace of mind.
I would definitely schedule preventative maintenance for your major appliances if you’re in an older home that maybe hasn’t been taken care of well in years past. Better safe than sorry!
Clean Your House Weekly
Along with preventative maintenance, I highly recommend every new homeowner develop a weekly cleaning schedule. It doesn’t have to be intense, but it should be consistent.
I’m somewhat of a clean freak #noshame, but it really paid off when all of the realtors who walked through our last home told me it looked like it had been staged or that it was a model home. Did we pay to have our home staged? No way! I just put in the time weekly for almost 3 years to keep our home in the best shape possible so that it looked *almost* brand new when we were ready to sell.
Schedule A Home Inspection
One of the BEST pieces of advice our realtor gave us before we moved into our first house was to schedule an independent home inspection before our warranty ran out.
If you’re buying an existing home, the inspection should be done as a part of the buying process. But if you’re buying a brand new home (like we’ve done twice now) a home inspection isn’t required to close.
If you’re new homeowners for a new construction, schedule a home inspection about 9 months into home ownership. This will give your home time to get through most of the seasons and will be far enough away from your warranty deadline that you can still get major problems fixed.
Our home inspection for our first home cost about $300, but it was great to know that nothing major was wrong with our house. I’ve included this on the new homeowner checklist because once you pass the one year warranty, those major repairs fall on you to fix.
Submit Homeowner Warranty Requests
Along with having a home inspection done, you should add warranty requests to your new homeowner checklist. Don’t be afraid to submit those requests! That’s what it’s there for! And if you don’t have a home warranty, make sure you get one ASAP!
A home warranty is what will save you from having to pay for expensive repairs out of pocket. In our last house, we used our home warranty to fix our floor, repair our ceiling, repair a crack in our wall from the drywall tape splitting, get our roof fixed, and repair the HVAC.
I’ve had family members use their warranty for appliances that went bad after a few months of living in the house and more! The warranty is there for you to use, so don’t be afraid! And don’t wait until it’s too late either!
Get Small Problems Fixed Quickly
Whether you submit it through the warranty or take care of them yourself, make sure you take care of small problems quickly.
If you have a leaky pipe or crack in the wall, be sure to get that taken care of before it becomes a bigger problem. It may seem silly to worry about a small leak, but that leak can turn into a huge issue over time.
For example, in our last house, we started noticing some leaking from our roof after it would rain. I called a company ASAP to have it looked at because you do not want your roof to be compromised. I could have left it for a week or so, but I didn’t want to risk the chance of it becoming an expensive repair (our HOA insurance covered the repair, thankfully).
The Benefits Of Being A Homie Homeowner/Seller
We completed (almost) all of these tasks in our last house, which I believe added lots of value and appeal for potential buyers, but what really made our home selling process go smoothly was listing our home with Homie!
If you’re not familiar with Homie, they are the new way to buy or sell your home! They bundle all the services you need when you buy and sell so the process is less complicated and they can cut out all the crazy fees. They offer Homie Real Estate for buying and selling, Homie Loans for mortgages and Homie Title for easy closings.
And you don’t just have to take my word for it. Check out some of their awesome stats:
- Homie is the #1 brokerage office in the state of Utah by overall listings
- Homie has closed over 4,500 transactions
- Homie’s customer satisfaction scores rival Amazon and Apple
- Homie has saved customers over $40 million in real estate commissions
- Homie is selling homes faster than traditional brokers and over 99% of listing price in both Utah and Arizona
Final Thoughts on My New Homeowner Checklist
Being a new homeowner is definitely a stressful and exciting time and it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by all of the tasks you need to get done, but don’t let that first year slip by without following the new homeowners guide I shared above! You’ll be so glad you did when you go to sell your home!
And if you’re ready to become a homeowner, make sure you use Homie for the entire home buying process! They even have a Buyer Refund program that can give buyers that use Homie and Homie Loans for their mortgage up to $5,000 in a buyer refund to help with closing costs.
I’ve got more great tips for new homeowners! If you liked this homeowner checklist, check out these Steps to Building a Home: The First Time Buyers Guide!
Now that you’ve read through my new homeowner checklist, are there any questions you have that I missed or any suggestions you’d add? Let me know in the comments!
And if you liked this post, please share!