Most people, when buying a new home, budget for the obvious things: a down payment, a moving truck, closing costs. There are some other things you should always keep in mind, however, so that they don’t creep up on you just when you least expect them, and can least afford them:
- Locks. Most sellers will leave several keys; the catch is that you don’t know how many others are out there. It’s usually a good idea to have all of the house locks changed after closing, including garage doors, especially if the house can be accessed from the garage. You can also contact Canada Post to have the mail box locks changed as well.
- Yard maintenance. Most people realize that they will need to maintain the inside of their home. What sometimes slips through the cracks is maintenance of the outside. Lawns need to be cut, which requires some sort of mower; gardens need to be weeded, which requires some tools. Both require time. The other option is hiring a service to take care of it for you, which can become expensive for a new homeowner. If you don’t maintain your yard, you can run into trouble with your municipality; most have by-laws against “noxious weeds” and will take action if your yard gets bad enough. Even if the by-law officer isn’t showing up, you will not make any friends among your neighbours if you have the one unsightly yard on the block.
- Window treatments. Most of the time, you will negotiate with the seller to leave you the window coverings. Most of the time, you will only do that to have something covering the windows until you get something better. Curtains and blinds can be quite expensive. While this is often a cosmetic change that can wait, it is such a big part of the look and feel of your home that many people want to change them quickly. Be sure to budget for the expense and save enough to cover the cost.
Owning a home is a great experience, but the more prepared you are, the better it will be.