Many people dream for years about buying their first home. There are countless Pinterest boards for hidden bungalows or refurbished urban townhomes, with tips and tricks for the DIY decorator. Unfortunately, there’s not a huge room left in the budget for mason jars and book nooks after the mortgage and realtor fees. Where do you start? How do you start? Follow these four tips to set up your home.
Prioritize the Most Important Items
While a hammock on the patio or a waterfall showerhead would be nice in any home, you’re not going to appreciate them if you don’t have the basics. Within the first few weeks, make a list of items that need to be added or replaced, and prioritize them by need. You might want a dishwasher so you don’t spend hours scrubbing after a meal, but you might need a handrail so you don’t fall down the stairs.
Get creative with the priorities (there really are creative bannisters out there), and invest time and money into creating something that you love. Then, go cheap on items that can wait until you have the funds. In the short run, $2 Target cups will suffice until you can fully invest in the hand-etched goblets.
Consider Insuring Your Big Investments
Not all home insurance policies cover damage to your items, and there may be exceptions based on the cause. For example, flood insurance is optional in many states, and you might not expect one until it’s too late. If you’re making a major purchase, like that new washing machine, smart TV, or car, then you might save in the long run by insuring it. However, read the reviews of different companies before buying, or you might be wasting time and money.
Look for Industry Disruptions
There are a few industries that are working to change how you invest in home decor, with the mattress industry leading the way. These new mattresses arrive via box and cost a few hundred dollars instead of the few thousand that you would pay in a store. For major electronics, look to marketplaces and comparison shopping sites like Newegg to make sure you’re not overspending on Best Buy and Amazon prices. Most of these sites are more niche and appeal to technologically advanced customers.
Invest In Smart-Home Technology
Speaking of technologically advanced homeowners, you don’t have to be one to jump on the smart home train. Small changes like programmable thermostats or smart LEDs can save you hundreds on your electric bill if you’re a small family or big energy user.
Taking advantage of this might involve the triage method that was mentioned before. Rather than connecting your whole house, you might start with a new thermostat and upgrade the lights as they’re needed or as you have the budget to change them.
Rome wasn’t built in a day, and your dream home won’t be either, but if you’re smart about when and how you buy something, then you should have a budget for that hammock and mason jars before you know it.