So, you just closed on your new home. STOP! There are a few things you may want to do before you start unpacking boxes & placing furniture. Right now is the perfect time to create a checklist of ways to save money on your home for years to come. Beginning now will allow you to start saving money sooner rather than later. Plus, some of them will be easier to accomplish before you get too settled in.
1.) Make any repairs that were noted in your Home Inspection Report. – You may want to wait on some repairs, but don’t forget about them. Make a list.
2.) Paint now. – Many home buyers move in first, then wish they hadn’t. Painting is a lot easier before furniture is in the way. Plus, if you plan to replace floor coverings anyway there will be less worry about drips and spills.
3.) New floor coverings next. – Again, this is a lot easier before you move in all you furniture and other stuff.
4.) Determine if your attic needs more insulation. – The FL Building Code is adequate, but the Department of Energy recommends R-48 to R-60.
5.) Install ceiling fans throughout the home. – Ceiling fans cut down on cooling bills.
6.) Make sure that all appliances are energy-efficient. – If it’s not broke, don’t fix it. But, when it’s time to be replaced, remember, energy-efficient models are better for your budget and the environment.
7.) Install LED or CFL light bulbs. – Again, if it’s not broke, don’t fix it. But, when it’s time to replace bulbs, these efficient light bulbs last for years.
8.) Check the temperature on your water heater. – 120 degrees Fahrenheit is the optimum temperature.
9.) Install a programmable thermostat. – A programmable thermostat allows you to schedule automatic increases and decreases in your home’s temperature if you keep a fairly routine schedule. This will save you money on cooling in the summer and heating in the winter.
10.) Replace your air filters. – When you first move in, you almost always need to replace the filter in your air handler. Record the size & remember to replace them monthly. An old filter doesn’t filter air as well AND has a negative impact on air flow, meaning your air handler has to work harder.
11.) Set up your home electronics with a surge protector. – Getting your television, cable box, DVD player, sound system, and video game console set up will likely require more outlets than you have. Plus, surge protection shields your equipment from electric surges.
12.) Plant shade trees near your house. – Mother nature can help you save significantly on your summer cooling costs. The shade trees will naturally cool your home during the hot summer months by reducing the amount of direct sunlight that hits your house. Just be sure to plant them a safe distance from power lines and your home itself. Plant them now and they’ll grow and shade your house sooner.
13.) Change the locks and make spare keys. – One of the first things many homeowners do is change the locks on their new home. There’s no way to know whether there are copies of your old key floating around, and who might have them. While you’re at it, get an extra copy of your key made and leave it with someone you trust.
14.) Take advantage of tax benefits and other incentives. – Did you apply (or transfer) your primary residence for property tax discounts? Can you get an energy tax credit for making energy-based improvements?
15.) Develop a home maintenance checklist. – This list should include regular home maintenance tasks that you’ll want to do on a monthly, quarterly, or annual basis. Then, make it a habit to run through the items on this list every so often.
I sure hope these few tips and tricks will help you make your new home your own.
Special Thanks to S.M. – Certified Master Inspector & T.H. – The Simple Dollar