Buying your first home is an exciting prospect, and few experiences compare to being finally handed the keys to your new house by the realtor. However, homes are expensive to run, and you may be anxious about the finances needed to keep yours in good order and prevent the need for constant repairs that can easily eat up funds.
However, there are some surprisingly easy steps you can take to save cash in both the mid and long term when it comes to running and maintaining your new home. Keep reading to find out what you need to do to keep both your property and your bank balance healthy.
Check the Plumbing
As soon as possible after moving in, and at regular periods thereafter, it’s a great idea to check the plumbing, looking for any possible leaks or other issues. What caught early could be a relatively inexpensive fix could, if left, turn into a major repair job and even pose a flood risk.
Check under sinks, toilets, and along the water lines in the basement, looking for any signs of a leak. You could also consider installing leak detectors in the potentially vulnerable area of your property, such as the basement. These systems – which often form part of a holistic smart home security package – will identify the smallest of leaks so that you can deal with them quickly before it becomes a big problem.
Take Out Home Warranty
A home warranty policy can potentially make a huge difference in keeping down the cost of property repairs, as well as giving you the peace of mind that your home is protected. Most plans will cover the majority of your major appliances and systems, and some home warranty policies also include free roof leak cover or give you the first month or two of the plan free.
There are a multitude of companies out there offering home warranties, so it’s worth taking the time to find the package that best suits you and your needs. For example, you may want to only consider policies that allow you to make an unlimited number of service requests or that guarantee the work of any repairs made for a set period.
Use Energy Efficient Appliances
Installing energy-efficient appliances in your home is an effective way to save money mid and long-term – in fact, you’ll likely notice the savings adding up during the first year.
In the kitchen, refrigerators and dishwashers tend to be the biggest culprit when it comes to energy use. Newer tech has meant that today’s versions of these products usually consume much less electricity than their older cousins, and so it’s worth an initial outlay to get new, energy-efficient fridges and dishwashers if possible.
You may be surprised by just how much power audio-visual entertainment systems can eat, so before buying a system for your new home, check its energy rating to identify the one that is likely to save you money long-term.
There are lots of small changes you can make in your new home to keep running costs down, too: switching all of the lightbulbs to the energy-saving variety will save you a significant amount of money over the years, as will getting into the habit of turning off appliances that aren’t in use.
Find the Best Tariffs
Shopping around to find the best tariffs for your new home’s utilities is an easy way to save a lot of cash. Think about the unique needs of your property and household when looking for deals to identify the one that’s likely to save you the most money on an ongoing basis. Comparison sites can be really helpful for this – and it’s always worth asking a representative whether they can make a deal more appealing to you by throwing in a perk or two.
It’s worth bearing in mind that, with most fixed price plans, the higher the standing charge, the lower the unit rate.
And finally, one of the very best things you can do to save money as a homeowner is to have – and stick to – a regular schedule of maintenance, upkeep, and checks. Taking a walk around the perimeter of your property a couple of times a year, specifically looking for fault lines or cracks that have appeared in the walls, is a good way to spot a problem early and take the steps needed to get things resolved.
Clearing out the gutters at least once a year is important, too, and can help protect against the cost of flood damage repairs or fixes that need to be made should a section of guttering detach due to its being weighed down.
Pay careful attention to mold that appears around windows or external doorways, as this could be a sign of water entering the property; installing new windows or adding sealant may be a solution. Finally, before each winter, it’s important to trim back any trees or remove branches that are close to or overhanging your property, to safeguard against damage caused by the season’s storms.