New Homeowner Syndrome: 5 Expensive Mistakes to Avoid

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new home mistakesThis post originally appeared on BrightNest.

If you were handed keys to a motorcycle right now, would you assume you could drive it? For most of us, the answer is no – not without some guidance. Your home is no different!

If you’re the proud owner of a new home, avoid making these five costly assumptions:

1. Do-It-Yourself Is Always the Way to Go

When it comes to decorating, doing it yourself is usually the most cost-effective option. Beyond that, it’s important to know your DIY limits. Unless you’re trained, don’t take on an electrical or plumbing project on your own!

Not only is it dangerous, it could wind up costing you more than you expected to purchase the necessary tools and materials or fix potential problems. It pays to hire a professional service provider for any job that requires plumbing or electrical work.

2. Fire Isn’t a Real Threat

According to the National Fire Protection Association, more than 400,000 United States homes caught fire last year, resulting in more than $8.5 billion of damage. If you’re a new homeowner, make fire safety a priority.

Buy a fire extinguisher for every level of your home and one for your garage. Make sure you have working smoke alarms, and test them regularly to keep your family (and your property) safe.

3. Small Problems Can Be Ignored

If your toilet is running, it’s easy to ignore, especially when there are larger problems looming. But, ignoring the small issues can lead to expensive fixes down the road. For example, a constantly running toilet can waste hundreds of gallons of water a month, meaning you’re spending on average over $300 on wasted water. Save money by fixing small problems as soon you discover there’s an issue.

4. Windows and Doors Are Energy Efficient

When you’re moving into a new home, you should always do a summer energy audit, with special focus on your doors and windows. If you assume that the previous homeowner took the time to make sure air wasn’t leaking in or out, you could end up wasting as much as $600 a year! Do an energy audit as soon as you move in to make sure you aren’t wasting precious dollars.

5. The More Expensive the Air Filter, the Better

Instead of going for the most expensive air filter, go for the right air filter for your furnace unit. Check your owner’s manual to make sure you have the right type. Then, unless your furnace specifically needs a fancy filter, choose a pleated filter. Typically, this $1 one-inch pleated filter will do the job and won’t cost nearly as much as the higher-maintenance fiberglass option.

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