CONSUMER BLOG
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By : Tiffany Rowe, 05-31-2018

This is it! You’re finally buying a house! The to-do list has never been longer, larger or more exciting. Getting pre-qualified, going through the offer process, passing inspections and, of course, moving in, are all thrilling experiences. Overall, the process is a net positive - otherwise millions of Americans wouldn’t do it. However, just because you can soon look forward to building equity in a property of your own doesn’t mean you can ignore the less-than-exhilarating aspects of home ownership.

Getting Started
Homeownership vacancy rates are the lowest they’ve been in over 15 years. As millennials lead the charge into the 2020s, they’re occupying houses at a higher rate than many of the generations before them. Almost 65 percent of Americans now own their own house. That is up almost a full percentage point from early last year. It’s up even more from the year before when homeownership was hovering around a 50-year low.
 
A spike in owners also means a spike in information about ownership. There are tips that everyone going into (or just coming out of) an offer situation should know. These are tricks that will help you settle into a new home, not things that will magically quadruple the value of your house. Keep in mind, these tips aren’t thrilling, but they are must-knows for every prospective and new homeowner.

Get the Warranty
How does a home warranty work? It’s semi-complicated, but let’s just leave it at this: If something breaks, and you have a warranty, you’re in the clear. Generally, home warranties apply to appliances and fixtures in the home. Often, they apply only to the first year that you own the property, but you can extend them in some circumstances.
 
Perhaps the better way of explaining it is like this: if you are worried that you won’t have the financial capabilities to replace something that is super valuable if it breaks, opt for a warranty that will cover most of it for you. You’ll have to pay a monthly fee, but it’ll be small in comparison for the relief you’ll have should something catastrophic happen to an appliance in your home. Water-heater busted? That’s okay, you have a warranty. Furnace on the fritz? Go to the warranty. Dishwasher down? Yep, the warranty should cover that also.
 
There are different types of warranties with different payments, but the general idea is all the same - you’re covered if something happens.

Change the Locks
You don’t want just anybody waltzing into your new home, but that might be the case if the previous owners were close with family and friends. It’s a great idea to start fresh with a whole new set of doors and locks. Of course, you’ll also want to get as many of the keys from the old owners as possible.

Join the Homeowners Association
You want the lay of the land, and the best way to get it is straight from the people who know. Talk to the neighbors, have your own housewarming party, or simply introduce yourself before or directly after you buy. Chances are they’ll know the good and bad about everyone and everything on the block. You don’t necessarily need to join the homeowners association, but you should get as close as possible to the people you’ll be living directly next to.

Pet wear & tear can have disastrous results.
Pet wear and tear can sometimes cause permanent damage. 

Get a Survey
They should do this during the buying process, but you never can be too sure. Knowing your exact property borders is an important step - especially if you’re looking to add a shed, pool house or garage to the land. And don’t worry about the neighbors, they’ll want to know as much as you will. Of course, introducing yourself and informing them that a survey will be completed is a nice gesture.

Be Aware of Pet Wear and Tear
Everything should be cleaned up, wiped down and fresh when you move in to a new home, but there are some things that you just can’t get rid of. Much of the time, those tough elements are related to previous animals. If the previous owner had a dog, cat or other animal in the house, you’ll probably know thanks to torn up carpet or odd smells. In these circumstances, don’t hesitate to call the professionals. If you’re going to start off clean with a brand new house, then do it right. Go for the new carpets or hire a cleaning service.

If your new home is in need of repairs, new carpets, or a cleaning service, you can find reputable local service providers through EZBZ. Try it today, it's free, quick, and easy. 
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