Buying your first home is an exciting milestone, putting you on the path to a smart financial future. There are certain traps you can fall into as a new homeowner, however, that can put your financial well-being at risk. Avoid doing the following too soon:
- Remodeling. Unless there’s something in need of serious repair, hold off on any remodeling projects. This will give you time to assess the cost vs. value of the project, ensuring that the money you put into it actually increases the value of your home. Waiting will also give you time to research and secure the best professionals to work with.
- Furnishing the whole house. You don’t have to have every room perfectly outfitted at once. Take your time and settle in to your new home. This will give you time to make better furniture choices. It will also allow you to budget over time as opposed to a big financial hit all at once.
- Taking out an equity loan. Let your equity serve as a cushion for future needs. As homeownership plays out, there are countless needs and issues that will arise. If you’ve already exhausted your equity, you won’t have that emergency fund at the ready.
- Moving up. You might be on a mission to get to your next bigger and better home as soon as possible, but wait it out a bit. You want to make sure you have the finances to do so comfortably, and you want to make sure you choose the right location. Living in your current home will teach you a lot about your likes and dislikes.
- Making major aesthetic changes. Don’t go crazy with paint, wallpaper or any other bold design statements just yet. You’re still in the getting-to-know-you phase, so feel your new home out for a while before you start changing its look.