The road to getting your foot on the property ladder and owning your home can be one long and hard journey.
Not only have you got months of saving for a deposit, finding the right location and then tedious meetings with solicitors and mountains of paperwork, when you finally do get the keys to your house, you’re met with a whole heap of new challenges. From mundane tasks like registering for council tax, to the more creative chores such as embracing your inner interior designer when kitting out your new pad. Here are 7 things all first time homeowners should know.
1. Bills, Bills, Bills
While you may be excited to no longer be living with your parents and never have to hear them moan about you leaving the light on ever again, you’ll soon learn why you heard the phrase “We’re not made of money, you know?” so many times.
Yes, utility bills can be quite expensive. Along with paying your mortgage each month, as a homeowner you are also responsible for financing the water, gas and electric; as well as other outgoings such as the council tax and TV licence. Before committing to buying a house, you would no doubt have already budgeted but now you’re in and settled, you can start looking at ways to reduce those monthly bills. Always use comparison sites to compare and contrast offers from companies and see which will work out the best deal for your household. Set aside a couple of hours to research and make calls and make inquiries and your future finances will be thankful.
2. Learn about upcycling as well as recycling
As the head of a house, you’ll now have the glamorous task of learning and being responsible for which piece of refuse that goes into the numerous collection bins. Recycling is certainly great for the environment so why not get to grips with upcycling too and see how it can benefit you even closer to home?
Scour Pinterest and specialist sites to learn all the tips and tricks required to make the most of furniture that has seen better days and you’ll be able to fill your home with unique pieces that will give the look of belonging to the rich and famous but at a fraction of the cost.
Furnishing your first house from scratch can be pricey too so transforming a battered £5 bookcase from Gumtree into a statement piece of furniture that will wow your guests can certainly help your bank balance. Just acquiring a few DIY skills, a bit of creativity and patience can see you cheat your way to having Instagram worthy interior without having to go into your overdraft.
3. Prep Like A Boss
It’s time to fill those kitchen cupboards with food and learn what an absolute minefield completing the big weekly shop can be. We’ve all done it – nipped out when hungry and left the supermarket having spent way more than intended. When it comes to getting your food and drink in, it’s time to prep like a boss. It may seem that this is a technique used exclusively by Instagram fitness models but those looking to save a few pounds in the wallet should adopt this method too.
Set aside an hour each week to plan your meals for the week and be strict with what you purchase from the shops – take advantage of online shopping if you can. Make big batches and make the most of your Tupperware you received as a housewarming present and freeze the rest for future evenings. Not only will your purse thank you, but you will always be grateful of this forward thinking when you come home from a long day at work and have a meal ready in a few microwave minutes.
4. It’s good to talk… as cheap as possible
While a house phone may not seem like a necessity during a time where we all have smartphones glued to our hands, you will need a landline if you want WIFI installed in your new digs. It’s tempting to just get the cheapest deal possible and never even so much as buy a phone for your home. However, with great packages available that give you free evening and weekend calls, amongst other perks, it may be worth looking into which offer could see you use less of your minutes on your mobile. You could find yourself in a position to reduce your monthly contract with your mobile phone provider and save overall.
5. Ensure your shower is spa standard
When you’ve been away on holiday, nothing is more comforting than experiencing your own bed and shower once again. To make sure you enjoy your creature comforts you need to have a few things in place to make the most of them. Taking a pick from Grundfos shower pumps will ensure that your shower is always working at it’s best and you never have to experience a lacklustre trickle of a shower.
When it comes to sleeping arrangements, if you find you haven’t got the finances for a fancy mattress, simply getting your hands on a memory foam topper can make the world of difference to your night’s sleep.
6. Be aware of your surroundings
Prior to moving in, even if you’re only moving a few miles away from your childhood home, it’s wise to research the neighbourhood and surrounding areas. Information is available online which will tell you all about the local crime rates, investment that will occur in the community, the general profile of fellow residents and what schools are in the catchment area. You may be a while off having a child but if your first house is where you plan to spend many years, you need to consider future issues that may arise. Also, these factors can have an impact on the value of your house which is something to think about if you plan to sell in the years to come.
7. Learn to love staying in
You’ve spent a lot on buying your house and then more on transforming it into a home – why would you want to spend more time away from it than in it? Learn to love hosting nights in and enjoying days in the garden on sunny days rather than wasting money in the local pub. Instead of pricey trips to the cinema, grab some popcorn from the shop and make the most of your Netflix subscription. Have friends round for a bottle of wine that costs less than what you’d be paying for per glass in a pretentious noisy bar where you can’t hear your conversation. If you’re lucky enough to have a spare room, transform it into a home gym that could allow you to finally cancel your membership. The possibilities are endless – learn to love being a homebody. You’ve worked hard to get to this position – enjoy the rewards.
Written by Jennifer Nixon (@PR_Yoma collaboration)