10 Things to Do the First Year After Buying a Home

a small house with a key attached to it, sitting on a desk

Moving into a new home is exciting, but what do you do first? We spoke to recent home buyers regarding immediate safety precautions homeowners need to take after buying a home, but what other projects deserve to be at the top of your to-do list that first year? We have a few practical suggestions.

1. Got tools?

Even if you are not Bob Vila, there will be some projects you’ll need to do yourself, and you’re not going to want to call an expert every time you need to hang a photo. Invest in a good set of tools that fits your needs and level of DIY desire. (Consider buying a starter tool kit.)

2. ‘Cause you’re hot, then you’re cold…

How often do you need to clean your air filters? When should you do annual maintenance? (AHA! That was a trick question!) You’ll need to know what your specific heating and cooling systems require in order to maintain them properly, so they will keep blowing hot (and cold) air. Check out our vipTIPS: Heating + Cooling for HVAC system information and more maintenance tips.

3. New home, old problems

An electrician stands on a ladder and works on the electrical wiring over the opening of a garage
Be prepared for repairs.

You just made an extremely large purchase, perhaps the biggest you’ll ever make, but many homeowners, especially first-time home buyers, forget to put aside money for repairs. These costs can add up quickly. We recommend saving 1%-4% of the purchase price of your home annually, but check your home cheat sheet – also known as the “inspection report” – to see if you should be saving a bit more for big upcoming repairs, like a new roof.

4. Extreme steam clean

If your new home is a new-to-you home, a lot of life has happened on those carpets and in that house that you don’t even know. Steam cleaning carpets can help get rid of pet hair, smoke, spills, and stains. Doing a deep clean, whether you tackle the challenge yourself or hire a professional, allows you to start off on the cleanest and most hygienic foot.

5. Lights out but you’re home

Believe you me, finding a circuit breaker for the first time when the lights go out is not a fun experience. Instead, find your circuit breaker as soon as you’re in your new home and ensure that it’s labeled properly. If not, call a professional to help light up your world and keep it that way.

6. Test the waters

Leaks and plumbing issues can cause lots of damage very quickly. Listen for any running toilets, dripping water, or visible signs of water damage. To be on the safe side, you might want to hire a plumber to do an inspection and ensure your plumbing system is working properly. For more advice on plumbing, check out our vipTIPs: Water + Plumbing.

7. The fire prevention starter pack

a homeowner stands on a ladder as he installs a smoke detector on the ceiling
Stay safe while home.

Before you spend your first night in your home, you should test all your detectors to make sure they’re in proper working order and positioned correctly. Have at least one carbon monoxide detector on each floor. Smoke detectors should be in each bedroom, outside each sleeping area, and on every level of your home, including the basement. Every home should have at least one fire extinguisher. We recommend having an ABC rated extinguisher for your home. Now you can sleep tight and not worry about a fire’s might.

8. In the case of an emergency…

We don’t like to think of worst-case scenarios, but it’s important to be prepared for them. Have a small first-aid kit, flashlights, potable water, blankets, the last season of Outlander downloaded onto your smart tablet — anything that would help you in an emergency. Find yourself in the path of a hurricane? Check out these essential tips to prepare your family and home for the storm.

9. Get smart about home security

While it’s not a bad idea to invest in a monitored alarm system after closing on a home (most insurance companies even give homeowners discounts for installing one), some newer, less expensive smart devices can give you peace of mind. With digital doorbells that allow you to see who is at your front door, electronic locks that you can operate from anywhere, and lights that turn on automatically, smart home tech has made securing your home easy and affordable.

10. Subscribe to vipHomeLink

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Give your house a home.

Be the best homeowner you can be and start your new home off right. Use your app to start a home inventory as you unpack, store all your important home documents, and have a maintenance schedule created for you. You will always know what to do and when to do it with tailored recommendations and personalized reminders.

Be safe and smart. Become a subscriber.

Not a member? Subscribe today to get a monthly or annual membership.

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Any offers that appear on the vipHomeLink site, in our content, vipTIPs or other recommendations are for the convenience and benefit of our users. vipHomeLink may receive compensation from any purchases that are made by our users. This compensation is paid by the seller and will not impact the prices that are offered. This compensation arrangement may impact which offers appear and which sellers are featured on our site. If you elect to use or purchase services from third parties, you are subject to the third parties’ review of your information and to their terms and conditions and privacy policy. vipHomeLink does not endorse, warrant or guarantee the products or services available through the vipHomeLink offers (or any other third-party products or services advertised on or linked from our site), whether or not sponsored.

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