Costs associated with buying your first home? 

Now more than ever it feels like you have to climb a mountain before you even get your foot on the first rung of the property ladder. But after several years of student halls, houses shares, and tiny rental flats I finally made it!

But once you’ve got the keys and the initial excitement has settled down a bit, the reality of moving in to new house (with an empty bank account) can feel like yet another mountain to climb. As I start to negotiate that mountain, here are my top tips so far.

So, in no particular order…

Furnishing your new home – work out what you really need

Having always rented furnished, when I moved in all my ‘furniture’ could fit in the back of a Ford Fiesta. Furnishing your new home can be very expensive and even if you get everything from that well-known Scandinavian home shop, the costs can mount up very quickly.

Set out your budget at the beginning and be ruthless about what you really need. I found that buying key items first, and then living with these for a few weeks helped me work out what additional pieces I actually wanted and what would just be clutter. I signed up to a cashback website and got a great bargain on a bed, the cashback from which went to cover a bookcase and bedside table! Equally, if your area has a furniture specific charity shop have a look in there for any hidden gems or items that could be updated – never underestimate the difference a coat of paint can make!

Home insurance – wanting to wrap your new home in bubble wrap

Of course I was going to mention home insurance given that I work for an insurance company but the difference between renting and owning a property really struck me when I got my keys. It was a classic ‘who you gonna call?’ moment, my mind racing with all the things that could potentially go wrong. No landlords anymore, this is all mine… so what if I lose my keys? Or what if something goes wrong with the gas? I went back and added a few extras to the policy including ‘Keycare’ and ‘Home Emergency Assistance’ and checked that other items were included as standard with my policy and relaxed a bit more!

Painting parties’ – treat with caution

The premise of painting parties is that all your friends are keen to help you redecorate so you put on a bit of dinner and wine, everyone piles round yours one evening and hey presto all your redecorating is done. Unless your friends are tee-total professional painters this is not a good idea! But there is a way to make it work:

  • Only do as many rooms as you can completely cover in dustsheets
  • Make sure the walls are ready to paint (filled, sanded and masking taped) before everyone arrives
  • Just do the first coat – you can do the second coat the day after to remedy any over-enthusiastic paintwork from the evening before

Getting your first home definitely feels like a steep learning curve, and I have no doubt there are a lot more ‘learning experiences’ around the corner. Next weekend I’m attempting to lay a laminate floor using YouTube video instructions, what could possibly go wrong!

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