Updated March 4, 2022 . AmFam Team
When you were shopping for a home, you had an idea of where you wanted to buy and how much you could afford. And if you’re like everyone else, there was probably a difference between what you’d love to have and what your budget could afford. After you’ve closed on a home, it’s time to put pen to paper once more. Make a master list of things to buy for your new house and then find ways to afford them.
But finding the money for everything you need for a new home can be a challenge. Especially if you’ve fronted most of your savings just to pay for closing costs. We’re here to help you figure out what items to purchase by getting organized — and carefully spending your hard-earned money the right way.
Now that you’re the proud owner of a new place, it’s time to make up your wish list. You’ll need to think about the basics first. What’s it going to take to get your home up to speed, and can you afford it? Rank your list so that you buy the essentials before you invest in those “nice to have” items.
Purchase a lawn mower and snow blower. You’re probably going to need a lawn mower and maybe a snow blower to keep your place looking great. Consider Black Friday deals for off-season purchases or other holiday sales to leverage great financing and lower prices. Another money-saving option is to look for used items on Facebook marketplace and locally at garage sales.
Build a solid tool box. Homeownership is all about DYI when you can. If your current toolbox is rusty or incomplete, get it retooled and ready to go. You’ll need the basics — plus it’s a good idea to pick up wrenches and other items to manage minor maintenance and possibly plumbing issues.
Plan on a little painting. Look around for cans of paint in storage. If the cans look old or rusty, you may need to pick up a few cans of new color. Remember to get brushes, rollers, trays and drop cloths too.
Invest in outdoor entertainment. Since you’ll likely eat at home more frequently, investing in a grill and patio furniture makes good sense. Explore deals online for used furniture and save.
If you closed on a fixer-upper, the purchase price was likely more affordable. When you’re planning major home improvements after you closed on the house, there are ways to fold those costs into the purchase price. Here are a few great ways to keep within your price range, and maybe even have the seller help out in footing the bill.
Negotiate for upgrade cash at closing. When building your offer to buy the home, have your real estate agent request that escrow cash be put aside for repairs. Include quotes from contractors with the request, and reference the inspection report to justify the action. The seller may agree to place funds into a special escrow account. This is a great idea for older homes that have been on the market a while and require a lot of work.
Get the things you need second-hand. Before buying from a retailer, take a look for high quality used items online and locally too. Sourcing garage sale listings and items for sale in Craigslist is another way to secure inexpensive items for your home.
If you plan on streaming your TV entertainment, you’re probably going to have a wireless router in your home. With the advent of smart speakers and all the ways you can customize and control your home. Smart home tech can add connectivity and convenience to your new home.
Wi-Fi connected smart sensors can save you. When you’re away, the Internet of Things (IoT) can bring you details on home issues right to your smartphone. And that can help you to feel connected and more secure that your investment’s safe.
It's always a great idea to ensure the safety of your home; obviously, that's a core benefit of home insurance. But what about your home when you're out of town, or gone during the day? It can be a good idea to invest in a smart home security service to protect your home when you can't. You'll get an advanced warning when something's wrong, so you can monitor your home's safety from anywhere!
Change the locks. Even if you’re buying a new home, it’s likely that extra sets of keys to your place are out there. Get your home re-keyed, or upgrade and invest in a smart locking system for your new home. You’ll be able to unlock remotely for service technicians if they need access to your home and you’re out.
Smart window coverings can help to keep your home safe. Upgrades like this might fall into the “nice to have” category of that Wants and Needs list. But smart blinds can be a good idea if you’re traveling and your home will be vacant from time to time. Groups like MySmartBlinds and Lutron Serena offer IoT connectivity that adjust the blinds in your living room while you’re out. And they also shift on a daily schedule that can help you wake up to natural light, too.
Special life events like buying a home are more than just a big financial responsibility. Many times, they’re also an investment in the future of your family. But if something should happen to you or the breadwinner of your family, having a life policy in place can make all the difference. Before closing on your new home, be sure to reach out to your American Family Insurance agent (Opens in a new tab) and secure a life policy. You’ll find real peace of mind knowing that your big investment and your family’s future is well-protected.