Buying a new house is expensive. In order to become a homeowner, you will have a lot of upfront costs, like saving a down payment for a house, your mortgage fees, valuation fees, taxes, and so on. What you probably have not accounted for are all the hidden costs that will be required to turn your new house into a home. While it can be obvious that the bathroom will need some improvement, between light bulbs, a fresh coat of paint, and new furniture, little costs can add up quickly. Here are a few tips to lower your move in costs.
If you are just moving to another part of town, you probably have some friends or family ready to lend a hand. Rent a van for the day, order some pizza, and get going. Storage facilities sell bubble wrap and boxes, although if you go to your supermarket they are usually happy to get rid of boxes for free. You can also find cheaper vans for rent on Craigslist.
Pack and label your things carefully, and explain to everyone that boxes labeled 1 should go to the first room, two to the second room, and so on. Taking a few days off work may lower the pressure to get it all done at once over the weekend. With previous packing, you should get the real moving part in one day. Consider getting rid of any piece of furniture that you don’t plan on using at your new home to save on the van’s size. Your time is precious and so is your friends’ so calculate carefully the size of the van to avoid making lots of trips back and forth. For a little upgrade fee you may save on gas, especially if your new home is quite far away.
What must you change right now to make the house comfortable? By starting first with the urgent items on your list and working your way down over the first months you will avoid charging your credit card and paying interest on the work.
I am not the handy type, really. But I have painted rooms, hung wallpaper, and Jason even showed how they made a headboard out of plywood. Both tasks are really easy, you just have to ask for advice about what supplies to buy at your local hardware store and you are ready to go.
Another easy thing is electricity. I am now able to install a new switch, or change an old one, or put a new light socket somewhere. Nothing a 5 minutes Youtube tutorial can’t teach you.
Plumbing is much easier than it sounds too. Fixing a leak or a faulty toilet flush is very simple. When you consider the call in fee for a plumber or an electrician, your get a very high return on your time investment.
The last thing anyone can do is change the locks, which I would recommend as there is no way to be absolutely sure the previous owner hasn’t kept a spare. A new lock and a screwdriver is all you need to save about $100 if you call a locksmith.
Sometimes, it is worth calling in a professional, even just to check everything is fine. I am thinking heating system, boiler, AC unit. Consider it a paid teaching lesson. Ask a lot of questions, the first hour is usually a flat rate anyway. Ask when should an inspection take place, if there is any seasonal maintenance that needs to be performed, and how to do it. Hopefully, the previous owner will have left the manuals, if not try to get them online.
Also call someone to check your chimney as it may invalidate your home insurance if you don’t carry an annual professional cleaning and the house burns down.
My house in Guatemala is an amazing example, as it came almost furnished and with a 90 acres piece of land. When my BF first visited it, he told me we had to burn the house down and build a new one. Turns out we are still living in the house and with a few minor fixes it has become really pleasant. Those old pieces of furniture are the only ones we have so far and we are grateful for them. A strange looking little hut was turned into a hen cage. The land provided stones to build a new room, and the cattle fences inside the land were dismantled so we could reuse the wood to make a table, chairs, and part of the deck. We even sold a cattle scale that just sat there for $1300!
If you are lucky, the attic of your new house may be filled with what looks like junk, but can be turned into treasures with a little TLC. Or sold on Ebay for a profit.
With every professional coming over to your place to give you a free quote, you will get suggestions of how to carry your works, as well as ideas to make it even better. Learn from the first contractor and try to appear more seasoned to the next one, the prices will drop if they think you know your topic.
If this is your first house or you are upgrading to a much bigger one, chances are you will need extra furniture. Garage sales, the local ads paper and Freecycle are great places to start looking for discounted or free used furniture. Beginning of the year and the end of university year when students move out are the best times to get super cheap stuff. And you can really get ANYTHING. I got a free phone, a kitchen mixer and a huge wardrobe on Freecycle, for the price of pickup. I went to a furniture store that I liked, jotted down the references of some pieces I wanted, and found them at about half price on Craigslist. With a little time and patience, you can get a nice starter house, then upgrade progressively with better or new furniture. No item is too small to look for, but consider distance and the cost of gas to pick it up.
Look for used:
With a little creativity, those old pieces of furniture can be rejuvenated to your taste and adapted to your new home, providing huge savings compared to the new price tag.
You can also find discounted construction materials like paint, concrete, iron, window frames… on local ads sites. People buy too much and are left with gallons of paint that they will probably never use, so if you are not too picky on the color you can grab yourself a bargain.
How do you save money on a new house?
Picture by FreeDigitalPhotos.
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