Moving into a new home, especially if you are first time home buyer, can be daunting. There are a few things to do when you walk through the door, which will help smooth the way.
“Taking a few steps back, deciding on a plan and not rushing yourself will put you in a good position to enjoy your new home,” says Dr Simphiwe Madikizela, head of special projects at FNB Housing Finance.
Take advantage of an empty home
It is unlikely that your home will ever be completely empty again, so once you have the keys and step into your place for the first time, take some time to go through all the spaces.
“Use this time to go through each room and clean any dust or dirt in hard to get places,” suggests Simphiwe. “It is also a good time to examine the structure carefully for any issues you may have overlooked when viewing. This includes any problem areas with the floors, walls and built in cupboards.”
Be sure to keep a note of any issues
This is also a good time to plan, before any of your household stuff arrives.
“Decide which room certain boxes and furniture need to go into and when everything arrives assign those boxes to those areas, this will make unpacking far simpler,” suggests Madikizela.
Don’t rush to buy the furniture
Furniture is a big expense, and the first instinct, in the excitement of buying a new home is to rush out and buy everything in one go.
“This is a temptation to be avoided at all costs as not only is it a fast track to indebtedness, but furniture should be build up over a long period of time. You need to choose pieces that go with your home, and fit your own style, not bought all at one store, on higher purchase,” says Madikizela.
As long as you have the very basics, such as a place to sleep, even if this is just a mattress and somewhere to sit, the rest can come.
“If you need to, borrow as much as you can in the beginning and spend some time in your home before choosing various pieces of furniture,” says Madikizela.
Introduce yourself to your neighbours
Introducing yourself to your neighbours is important for a number of reasons. They are a great way to keep an extra set of eyes on your place, such as a gate left open or any suspicious activity. It is also important to establish a relationship in order to sort out any problems, such as noise levels, before they become an issue.
“As a homeowner, you will be living in your street and with your neighbours for possibly years,” says Madikizela. “So make an effort to introduce yourself and exchange numbers, for a good start to this relationship.”
Sort out your rates
As a homeowner, you are expected to have rates in your own name. You can’t inherit a rates account, so one will need to be opened in your own name. An account should be automatically opened when the property is registered at the deeds office, but it is your responsibility to open the water and lights accounts at the required department.
“Opening an account is your own responsibility and should be done sooner rather than later, could result in a bill shock if you wait too long,” concludes Madikizela.