First Time Homeowner A Must Read Guide To Pre-Move-In Upgrades
So you’ve finally done it — you’ve found a home you love, been approved for a mortgage, and are ready to kick renting (and apartment living) to the curb. Congratulations! You are now a first time homeowner!
And, needing help on upgrades isn’t just for the new homeowner – When we bought our townhouse, I had a menu of upgrades handed to me from the builder and was pressured to choose upgrades I was clueless about.
Of course, while you’ll love the independence that comes with having your own home, you may not love the wall color in the guest room, the outdated floor tiles in the kitchen or the washing machine in the basement that looks like any load could be its last.
But that’s okay! Being a homeowner is all about customizing your home to your liking, so unless the previous owner had the exact same tastes as you and kept everything in perfect condition, you’re bound to want to change or improve something.
I remember for the kitchen alone we had at least six upgrades to choose from. They ranged from the countertop, kitchen cabinets, appliances, and even the type of wood flooring.
However, for many of these projects, completing them prior to moving in is the most efficient and cost-effective way to get them done. According to the 2017 National Association of Realtors Home Buyer and Seller Generational Trends report, 24% of buyers reported using an FHA loan, and most homeowners don’t have the budget to get everything done at once.
That’s why understanding what to prioritize can help ensure that you’re moving into a home that’s comfortable and welcoming. Here are just a few simple upgrades to consider completing prior to moving into your new home.
Anybody who’s ever had to shift around an entire room full of furniture to paint the walls can tell you that it’s not ideal, and certainly not time effective, either. But more importantly, you’re putting your health at risk by living in a home and spending too much time in a room with a fresh coat of paint.
Many paints contain high concentrations of VOCs, and studies have shown that levels of several organics average two to five times higher indoors than outdoors — when inhaled, they can contribute to several health problems. Getting the job done before you move in gives the home plenty of time to air out and let some of the VOCs dissipate.
We were lucky with our townhouse – the windows were top quality and I was glad I didn’t have to upgrade them. The doors, however, weren’t so I ended up having to pay extra for upgraded doors. I was glad that was a choice we made prior to moving it and not having to deal with it down the road.
Having windows and doors replaced after you’ve moved in can be a hassle, not to mention time-consuming. Completing the job early ensures that you won’t be disrupted during its various stages of progress. But more importantly, you’ll have the ability to start making energy-saving improvements before you even move in.
In the average home, 38% of heat loss is through windows and doors. If your home has drafty single-pane windows, heat loss through windows may increase to 50%. If you’re moving in during the fall or before the cold season hits, this is absolutely a home improvement project worth highly considering.
Kitchen Cabinet Replacement
Kitchen renovations are popular among homeowners who finally have the freedom to get creative in their culinary endeavors. However, there are certain kitchen upgrades that are best completed prior to your move-in date. Specifically, kitchen cabinet replacement. As a first time homeowner, there are so many decisions that need to made and it’s a great idea to create a spreadsheet with your priorities.
We did choose to upgrade our kitchen cabinets – that was another smart decision we made before moving in. Our countertops were also upgraded to granite and again, we nailed that decision too. The only improvement I made to the kitchen was upgrading the hardware by adding gorgeous pulls and knobs. I absolutely love them and am thrilled with how they turned out.
“If you’re going to install new or refaced cabinets and you’re going to finish them on site, make health a priority. The formaldehyde used in cabinet glues will be released into your home (what’s known as “off-gassing”) for a long time, so choose cabinets labeled NAUF, which means “no added urea formaldehyde,” suggests Sears Home Services.
It’s very much in style to paint kitchen cabinets, especially in a Farmhouse white color. I do love how they look but we made the decision to never have them painted. We figured it wouldn’t be the wisest choice in case potential homebuyers don’t want painted cabinets. Farmhouse Decor has been a very popular trend for some time now even though country-style decor has been around for ages.
There are many folks out there who love the look of wood kitchen cabinets, and I wouldn’t want the risk of decreasing property values for personal aesthetics.
Being a first time homeowner can be one of the most important purchases in your life, and being knowledgeable about what you can and will be faced with it is one of the best things you can do to make the transition easier and more fluid.
Ultimately, in 2016, the U.S. construction market was worth approximately $1,162 billion, and there are always going to be opportunities for home improvement. But being vigilant and mindful of what you can do to make your new home as comforting as possible is the key to getting that much closer to eventually transforming it into your absolute dream home.
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