Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Welcome home. The fun is just beginning when first-time home buyers move in and personalize their new space.

Furnishing a new home can be expensive. Have enough funds to provide the basics and not experience short-term financial stress.

First-time home buyers who took advantage of the $8,000 tax credit program now have the experience of moving into home ownership with all accompanying responsibility and adventure. For many, this will be the first real place to call home; the urge to personalize the new “nest” is compelling.

Coming from apartments and their parents’ homes, new home owners may not realize the scope of furnishing a home with all the necessities to make the place livable, let alone lavish. According to the National Association of Home Builders, a typical homebuyer spends an average of $7,400 on their home, with more than half of that during the first year after purchase. The first order of business for new owners is to make sure at least that amount is available and won’t send the owner into a severe budget crunch. Here are some tips to make that house a real home.

Before moving, take stock of what you have and what has just become part of the scenery. Make a list of what has sentimental value and what is clutter. Moving clutter can cost a lot, either through professional moving companies or calling on friends to heave all those boxes.

After you’ve packed up your stuff, outfit and pack a basic toolbox. Many of projects you’ll do to personalize your space require tools. The basic minimum includes a hammer, screw drivers, pliers, wrenches, a tape measure and a staple gun. Hanging those new curtains loses a lot of appeal if you have to run to the hardware store in the middle to get tools. Be prepared first.

Personalizing and furnishing your new home is one of the most exciting activities for new home buyers. Before running out to purchase that super extra king size bed or several pieces of oversized living room furniture, take accurate measurements of all the rooms and use them to judge what fits and what doesn’t. After all, too much furniture in a room makes it feel small and claustrophobic. Be a fair judge of what would compliment the furniture you already have.

You’ll also need basic appliances to get started. A stove, refrigerator, washer and dryer should be energy efficient to reduce your utility bills. Spending a bit more right now makes more sense than purchasing a cheaper model that may become a problem and financial drain later on. If you are angling for an entertainment system and a huge flat screen television, check your budget first to make sure you can buy basic furnishings before such large ticket items.

Window coverings and linens are another way to express your personality, plus add security and privacy. Budget accordingly, since some new home owners don’t plan for the cost of outfitting a house with new drapes and curtains.

Garden tools will be a necessity to keep your curb appeal top notch. The basics include a lawn mower, garden hose, sprinkler, clippers, a shovel and rakes. For people moving from an apartment, this category of necessities will be a new experience.

Purchasing and personalizing your first home is a real thrill. Be creative but approach this one room at a time. As you begin feeling at home, you’ll be able to capitalize on your home’s features and blend that with your own uniqueness.

Written by Myra Vandersall

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