- Becoming a homeowner is a big adjustment.
- The right financial choices could make it an easier one.
- It’s important to prioritize your spending so you don’t deplete your savings.
Be sure to check all of these off your list.
Buying a home could change your life -- for better or worse. The upside of owning a home is getting to enjoy more living space (in some cases, at least), building equity in a property of your own, and not having to follow a landlord's rules. But the downside of owning a home is that you'll be on the hook for not just a monthly mortgage payment, but also a host of added costs that could really add up, from property taxes to homeowners insurance.
That's why you'll need to be careful with finances after buying a home. Here are three essential moves to make once you move into your new place.
1. Boost your emergency fund
When you own a home, there are, unfortunately, a host of things that could go wrong. Some of those things may be minor, such as having a faucet leak. Others could be major, such as having to replace an expensive appliance or deal with an issue like termite damage or a sinking foundation.
That's why it's so important to have a robust emergency fund as a homeowner. Generally, it's a good idea to save enough money to cover at least three full months of essential bills. But once you become a homeowner, it pays to pad your savings even more.
2. Make a list of home improvements and repairs
Once you move into your new home, the items that need work should become more obvious to you. It's a good idea to make a list of the things you'll need to fix and improve in order of priority so you can put your limited funds to good use.
If you have a banister that needs to be replaced, for example, that should really trump getting new kitchen countertops that may be a nice thing to have, but aren't an absolute necessity. Making that list could also help you establish a savings goal for home improvements and repairs. If you work a side hustle, for example, you may decide to ramp up your hours to scrounge up that cash sooner.
3. Come up with a plan to furnish your home
Unless you have enough furniture from your old place, you may need to furnish your new home over time. Once again, you'll want to make a list of the items you need in order of priority. That will generally mean first buying a kitchen table and living room couch, and then buying a bed and dresser for the guest room you won't necessarily be using right away.
Tempting as it may be to furnish your home in one fell swoop, doing so could mean depleting your savings account or taking on debt you really don't need. If you tackle your home room by room, you might manage to limit your debt or avoid it completely.
Becoming a homeowner is a big adjustment. These moves could help you manage that from a financial standpoint, so be sure to tackle them once you've unpacked your boxes and are getting settled into your new digs.
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