Tips for New Homeowners

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Becoming a new homeowner is a reason for celebration, but it also comes with new responsibilities as well. Following the tips below can help you get off on the right foot with home ownership.

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Don’t Ignore Maintenance

As a homeowner, repairs and fixes around the house are on you. There is no landlord to arrange for a plumber or even to mow the lawn. If you’re handy, you can save money by taking care of simple fixes yourself. However, attempting to “economize” by taking on major tasks, such as rewiring a faulty electrical system or fixing a leaky roof, will almost certainly be costlier than hiring a professional contractor or electrician right off the bat. Worse, you could be putting yourself and your family in harm’s way by neglecting needed repairs. Take the time to stay on top of the maintenance schedule for your home

Get Help with Your Tax Returns

Tax laws concerning home ownership, including what does and does not qualify for a tax break is especially confusing for new homeowners. The money you spend to hire a certified public accountant (CPA), or an attorney who specializes in laws pertaining to home ownership, to file your tax returns for the year after you purchase your home will be money well spent. You may well gain enough in tax breaks to cover the expense of hiring a professional.

Save Receipts from Home-Related Projects

Receipts from home improvements can be used to increase your home’s tax basis, which is the purchase price of your home plus the total costs of any improvements you have made in the home.  A higher basis translates into lower taxable income whenever you decide to sell your home.

Obtain the Right Insurance Coverage

As a homeowner, skimping on insurance can drain your finances if you suffer a major loss, and even potentially leave you legally vulnerable. At a minimum, you should purchase enough insurance to replace the full value of your home and its contents in the event of a total loss, either through a natural disaster, fire, or a criminal act. Other types of insurance may be needed as well, depending on your circumstances and the location of your home. An independent insurance broker can help you determine what coverage is needed.

Becoming a first-time homeowner is exciting for any individual or family. By dotting the I’s and crossing the T’s listed above, you’ll ensure that your new home continues to fulfill your family’s vision of the American dream.

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