4 min read

ellipse icon

Nov 2017

Top 7 Mistakes to Avoid as a New Homeowner

Buying a home for the first time has a big learning curve, and the reality is, that continues well after you’re handed the keys to your house. From understanding your new home’s systems and appliances to choosing paint colors, making renovation decisions and more, there’s always something to think carefully through as a new homeowner.

Even though you just moved in, it’s never too early to consider the resale value of your home.

Unless this is your forever home and you’ve declared you’ll never move again, it’s a good idea to understand how changes you make in the home will affect your resale potential. Below, I’ve highlighted some of the top offenses new homeowners make, so you can avoid making these same mistakes.

1. Painting everything

You always hear about how paint can transform your home without having to spend a ton of money – and for the most part, it’s true. But, it’s a good idea to think carefully before cracking open that can of paint.

How long do you intend to live there? If neon colors are your jam, just remember you’ll probably need to paint over your lime green walls if you ever decide to list your home for sale.

Are you using high-quality paint? Sometimes, it’s tempting to take the cheaper route – especially after shelling out a down payment on a new house. But make sure you use decent quality paint in your home to prevent wear and tear issues. The previous owner of my home, for example, used the cheapest paint possible on the trim, and it peels off at the slightest touch – which not only looks bad, but it means I’ll have to repaint all the trim if we plan to sell this home.

Is your vision too trendy? You can find a million different ideas on Pinterest for how to use paint to amp up your home décor – but it’s a good idea to err on the side of caution. Painting over the original finish of your flooring, cabinets, trim, and more might seem fun, but you may want to consider how a potential buyer may view this “improvement.”

2. Turning a blind eye to small issues

When you’re a homeowner, you’re also responsible for the upkeep of your home. Whether you intend to handle maintenance on your own or prefer to hire a handyman, make sure you take action on the smallest of issues before they become larger problems. As a general rule of thumb, the smaller the issue, the less it’ll likely cost you.

3. Sinking too much into a renovation

In most cases, homeowners take on renovation projects for their own benefit – to enjoy the finished product and achieve the look they desire. However, you should be aware that it’s easy to drop big bucks on a remodel – and the more you spend, the less likely it is for you to recoup the amount you invested if you sell. With that said, it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t move forward with your renovation – but perhaps you can find ways to complete the project on a tighter budget (shop sales, buy floor models, hit discount warehouses, etc.).

4. Eliminating bedrooms or bathrooms

Think before you begin tearing down walls in your home. That super-sized master bathroom might sound dreamy, but if it means sacrificing another bathroom to make it work, you should tread carefully.

If you ever plan to sell your home, the more bedrooms and bathrooms you can tout in your listing, the better. I’ve seen a situation where a homeowner cut one wall out of a bedroom to make it a “loft” – and it meant they could no longer count the room as a bedroom when selling, which tends to lower resale value.

5. Failing to budget for home maintenance

Inevitably, you’ll encounter unexpected issues with your home at some point in your homeownership journey that will require maintenance. It’s so easy to tell yourself that you’ll figure it out when or if something happens, but it will actually be so much easier on you if you add a line in your budget for emergency maintenance costs.

6. Tacking projects better fit for a professional

With homeownership comes responsibility, and many people try to handle home projects on their own – whether it’s to save money or just as a rite of passage. However, certain things are better left to the pros, especially when it comes to things like electrical work.

7. Forgetting the home's exterior

It’s easy to focus your ideas for improvement on the interior of your home, since it’s where you spend most of your time. But if you’re neglecting the outside of your home, you could be doing yourself a disservice if you ever plan to sell. The wear and tear on your home’s exterior seems to happen more quickly, mainly due to weather conditions. If you aren’t spending time maintaining things like gutters, siding, the lawn and more, you might find it difficult to get caught up later down the road. Because your home’s exterior provides potential buyers with a first impression, it’s important to take care of it. There are plenty of considerations to make as a new homeowner, but taking it one step at a time and thinking of the potential resale opportunity can help you finalize decisions large and small.