This Is How to Make Your First-Time Home Experience a Positive One


While buying a home for the first time is undoubtedly one of life's most exciting milestones, it's also one of the most stressful. There are many details that need to be taken care of, so once you choose a home, the first thing you should do is create a moving checklist that outlines every task, ranging from creating a budget and taking time off work to choosing a school for your kids to hosting a garage sale. Not only will having a sense of control keep you organized, but it will also lessen your stress levels. Here's a look at some of the key elements that come with being a first-time home owner so that you can strive to have a positive experience from start to finish.

Figure Out What You Can Afford

Don't start looking at homes until you figure out what you can afford. To simplify this process, use an online calculator to plug in key elements such as your salary, loans, debts, investments, entertainment expenses, etc. in order to determine what your potential down payment, loan term, real estate taxes, and annual homeowner's insurance would be. It's important that you're extremely honest with your numbers so you don't get in over your head. Don't forget other important financial factors such as applications and closing costs, home repairs, memberships and utilities, equity and interest, insurance and taxes, and down payment options.

Research Homes in Your Area

Next, research homes in your area — keep in mind that properties in Sandy, Utah, have sold for an average of $400,000 in the last month. Some key things to look for include whether the roof needs repair, structural damage, old heating and cooling systems, plumbing, the land, and insulation as you don't want to be saddled with expensive fixes from day one. It's not a bad idea to hire a professional to conduct an inspection so you don't find any surprises later on.

Hire Professional Movers and Packers

Unless you can take substantial time off work, know how to perfectly pack a box to maximize space and minimize damage, and can seamlessly get your couch through the front door and into your new home, it's best to hire pros. Along with being a serious time saver, all of your items will be insured in case of damage — this would not be the case for a DIY job. Not to mention, these experts have a way of organizing your items so that move-in day is stress-free. Contrary to what you may think, hiring professionals is actually less expensive than trying to do everything yourself.

Don't Forget the Details

The devil is in the details, so don't forget key items such as turning on your utilities two weeks before moving day, changing your mailing address via and updating all of your other pertinent contacts, and making arrangements for pets on moving day (or finding a safe spot for them in your new home). It's also crucial to pack an essentials box with toiletries, pajamas, a change of clothing, snacks, disposable dishes and utensils, cleaning supplies, electronics and chargers, an all-purpose tool, and a flashlight and candles in case of a utility mishap.

Take time out of the unpacking process to get to know your new neighborhood. Take a stroll and grab dinner at a local hot spot, join community organizations, and get involved with your kid's school if applicable. Make an effort to introduce your self  to your neighbors and consider throwing a housewarming party once you're settled. More importantly, enjoy your new home!

Guest contributor

Jim McKinley