Here Are Some More Things That Could Be Helpful For You!
Buying a home is a major undertaking, but it’s nothing compared to owning a home. From wrestling with cable providers to finding reliable experts to help you with complex projects, home upkeep takes a lot of effort and research.
When you rent a property, you are insulated from some of the responsibilities of homeownership since your landlord is obligated to care for them. When you begin maintaining your own property, you may learn that it is much harder and more expensive to maintain a home than you originally anticipated.
Before becoming a first time home buyer, you should know what you’re signing up for. Below you can find six important tips on purchasing and maintaining your own property. Whether you want to leave renting behind or you’ve just signed your closing paperwork on a mortgage, be prepared for what lies ahead with these tips for owning a home.
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1. Know the Terms of Your Mortgage
When buying a house with a mortgage, you must understand the terms and conditions before signing. For instance, do you have a 30-year fixed rate mortgage or adjustable rate mortgage? Who pays the closing costs? What is the home equity you will hold up front based on your down payment? Are you putting down a large enough down payment to avoid mortgage insurance? How quickly will you accumulate equity in the house?
A mortgage is a contract you commit to for 15 years or more. As such, it’s important to know what you are signing up for. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and write down answers during the closing process.
It is also important to find out if you have the option to refinance your mortgage in the future. This can provide you with more favorable terms and bring down your monthly payments. Depending on other factors, you may also be able to request a reverse mortgage, or take out a home equity line of credit.
2. Set Up Utilities Before You Move in
It is also beneficial to set up your home utilities with the appropriate companies before you move in. In most locations, there are a couple utility companies to choose from. Your choice may affect how much you pay, the services offered and your overall experience.
If you require a particular service at your home, make sure to learn all the options available in the area. This is especially helpful for internet and cable providers. For instance, if your job requires you to have a fast internet connection at home, you want to avoid purchasing a home in an area where only dial-up connection is available.
When it comes to electricity, you may want to find out how to get solar panels installed on your home. In some cases, this can help you lower or eliminate your energy bills entirely. Additionally, you want to research whether your home has a septic system or a sewer system.
There are two main approaches that consumers take when getting free credit reports. You can request reports from all three bureaus at one time to see how the scores vary slightly (as they often do). Otherwise, you can spread out your requests throughout the year to track your credit increases or decreases every few months.
Sewer systems are typically controlled by local municipalities and require less day to day maintenance. However, you pay a monthly fee to participate. Meanwhile, septic systems must be manually pumped periodically and you are expected to maintain it yourself, but there is no sewage fee.
3. Look Up Your Property Lines and Zoning Laws
When buying a home, it’s important to know exactly where your property begins and ends, and what you can do with it. Zoning laws, easements and the size of your lot all affect you long after you sign your mortgage paper work. If you want to add a fence, move your sewer tank or even mow your lawn, you must know what property is yours to control and modify and what you cannot touch.
In some counties, you can find blueprints for the exact lot available to you to determine if there are any government easements on your property. Government easements may be used to run sewer lines through neighborhoods or otherwise provide municipal services. If you have an easement on your property, you typically cannot do any work around it.
Additionally, you should research the zoning and construction laws in your area. For instance, some counties have restrictions on how many levels you can build, or how many rooms you can have. Before you make any modifications to your property, familiarize yourself with local housing regulations.
4. Plan a Schedule for Maintenance Work
Perhaps one of the hardest parts of being a first time home buyer is learning how to clean and repair the property as needed. Removing stains from the walls, clearing the gutters, identifying potential signs of termite damage and cleaning are all part of homeownership. In order to ensure that your home remains well maintained and you do not end up with major damage down the road, you must develop a regular schedule of maintenance.
For example, you should be cleaning your gutters out twice a year, in the spring and in the fall. You should also replace your air filters every two to six months, depending on your household. Creating and sticking to a schedule for regular maintenance work ensures that you catch minor problems before they become major.
5. Research Before Hiring Professionals
Before you hire any home repair services, it’s important to do your research. Not all contractors have the training required to do certain complex tasks, even if they say they do. Therefore, it is important to look for recommendations and reviews from past customers before hiring someone to work on your home. If they do a bad job or cause further damage, you may need a lawyer and court visits to recoup the costs. Meanwhile, it will generally be up to you to cover costs to fix bad work.
Rather than fighting bad contractors in court after the fact, you can avoid requiring expensive repair work or lawyers’ fees by researching your options beforehand. Additionally, carefully review any contracts before signing them. Confirm that the contractor will be required to cover the cost of any unintentional damage they cause to your home while completing the work.
6. Learn Your Garbage Days and Local Dumps
It’s time to talk trash. As a first time home buyer, you must familiarize yourself with the garbage and recycling pick-up days and dumping regulations in your area.
You will typically be provided with a garbage bin and a recycling bin, if recycling services are available. You must learn your local municipality’s schedule for collecting garbage and recycling and learn to put your bins out on the appropriate days.
Additionally, you may generate a large amount of trash from major projects, such as landscaping your backyard, replacing a fence or trimming back a tree. In most municipalities, you cannot dump large amounts of garbage on the street without arranging a pickup. If dump pickup is not available, you may need to bring larger debris to the local dump on your own.