When a person goes from renting an apartment to owning a home, it is one of the greatest accomplishments of their lives. It takes many people several years to build their credit and to become financially ready to purchase their own home. While home ownership is a huge accomplishment, it also involves a great deal of work. When you were renting, your landlord was responsible for everything. Your only responsibility was to keep your unit clean and pay your rent on time. This is not the case when you own a home. There are several responsibilities that you would need to learn to embrace now that you are a homeowner.
We want to set you up for success on your journey to home ownership, so here are 10 tips:
1. Make your mortgage payments.
One of the biggest responsibilities that you have when you purchase your home is making your monthly mortgage payments. It is important that you make these payments on time every month. When you were renting, if you were short on cash one month, you could sometimes get away with an apology and a promise to be on time next month. This is not the case when you are paying a mortgage. If you are late, the late payments would have a negative effect on your credit report. If you cannot make your mortgage payments, you risk having your home go into foreclosure.
2. Pay your property taxes.
Now that you are a property owner, you need to start paying property taxes. This is something that you never had to worry about when you were renting. If you stop making your property tax payments, interest would be added to the amount of money that you owe. Also, over time, the government can put a lien on your house. Paying property tax is a very important responsibility.
3. Pay your water bill.
When you are renting, often, the only payment you are responsible for is your rent, electricity, and heat. Most landlords pay for the building's water bills. When you own a home, you will need to start paying your own water bill. Your bill would depend on how much water you use. If you have a large family who takes long showers, if you do laundry in the home often, or if you use your water to fill a pool, your bill would be higher than the average.
4. Schedule trash pick-up.
When you were living in an apartment, you took your rubbish to the curb once a week and it was picked up. This was likely set up by your landlord. When you buy your home, you are responsible for setting up your rubbish collection.
5. Landscaping duties.
When you were living in an apartment, it was the responsibility of the property owner to take care of the landscaping duties. When you own your home, you would need to do all of the landscaping yourself. This would include mowing and watering the lawn, trimming the bushes and hedges, and planting any plants or flowers that you want to have in your yard. If curb appeal is important to you, you should start to assume landscaping responsibilities right away.
6. Schedule snow removal.
After a snow storm, your landlord was responsible for plowing the driveway and clearing the stairs and walkways of snow and ice, to make getting in and out of your home safe. When you purchase your home, you would be responsible for the snow removal yourself. Some homeowners shovel and treat their driveways, walkways, and stairs, while others hire a professional to do the job. Either way, you can no longer rely on a landlord to handle the snow removal duties for you.
7. Clean the gutters.
The gutters on the home are designed to drain all of the water from the roof down to the ground. Over time, leaves and other debris can clog up the gutters, which can result in standing water. During the summer, this standing water can result in a mosquito problem. During the winter, the water can freeze, creating ice dams. These can be very damaging to the roof. As a homeowner, it would be your responsibility to clean your gutters regularly.
8. Regular maintenance of the furnace and water heater.
To be sure that a furnace and water heater are running as efficiently as possible, they need to be maintained every year. If they aren't, it can be a waste of money and it can result in an expensive breakdown. As a homeowner, it would be your responsibility to make the appointments for regular maintenance.
9. Home repairs.
When you were living in your apartment and something needed repaired, you would call your landlord and they would have it fixed as soon as possible. When you own your home, any necessary home repairs would be your responsibility. This is one of the most expensive responsibilities of being a homeowner. There are certain home repairs that can be very costly. If you are handy, you can handle the job on your own. If not, you would need to hire someone to make the necessary repairs for you.
10. Pest control.
There is nothing worse than a pest infestation. Whether it is ants, spiders, bed bugs, termites, mice, or any other pest, you need to get the pests out of your home as soon as possible. When you lived in your apartment, you did not need to worry about pest control. It was the responsibility of your landlord. When you own your home and you have a pest problem, you would need to hire and pay for an exterminator yourself.
Becoming a homeowner is one of the most fulfilling and exciting times of your life. There are, however, several new responsibilities that you need to start taking on yourself to make sure home ownership is a positive experience!
Sarah Williams is a business woman in the rubbish collection industry in Sydney. She loves to write on topics that cover home, living, and morals based on her own experience and understanding.