10 Practical Renovation Tips for First-Time Homeowners

Olivia Elsher

Jun 5, 2023

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You’ve found a property you love, organized your finances, submitted a winning offer and maybe even moved in already — congratulations, you’re first-time homeowners! The house-buying process is tough but you made it, and now you get to enjoy your new home. However, your work isn’t over.

Chances are you’re interested in making sure your new house reflects your style and serves your family’s practical needs. Whether you’re considering major renovations or just a few minor improvements around the property, keep these practical tips in mind as first-time homeowners. You’ll be proud to call your new house a home in no time!

1. Do Your Research

This tip should come as no surprise — you’re probably familiar with the research process after all the work you put into finding and buying your house. Your studying isn’t done yet. Before you jump into any renovations, make sure you know what you’re getting yourself into.

Educate yourself about your home’s current condition, check out any HOA or zoning regulations, find some home improvement inspiration and get to know common budgets for renovation projects. You want to be prepared for everything — consider all your options before getting started and you’re much more likely to achieve the dream home look you’re after.

2. Spend Time in Your Space

Sometimes renovations and repairs are necessary from the get-go — if you bought a fixer-upper, you expect to fix it up! However, other renovations are more about your style and preferences. If that’s the case, give yourself time to get used to your new house as it is.

Familiarize yourself with the existing layout. The wall you wanted to knock down to create a more open floor plan as soon as you moved in? Maybe you’ll learn you like the quiet and privacy of keeping the kitchen and living room separate. Instead of painting up a storm right away, take your time to consider color options before you go bold in a big way.

Enjoying your home as is for a few weeks or months — as long as it’s safe and up to code — will give you a better perspective on the changes you want to make and whether they’re worth it.

3. Make a Plan

Once you’ve decided to start your renovations, you should make a concrete plan that encompasses everything you’d like to get done. Be specific and detailed. How many rooms do you want to tackle? Will you paint everything at once? How much will the entire project cost? Writing down the answers to these questions will keep you organized and on track throughout your renovation.

4. Budget for the Expected and Unexpected

While you recently made a down payment on your house and you’re dealing with a mortgage for the first time, you’re not done shelling out cash yet. Your budget is of the utmost importance when it comes to renovations — without money, your projects won’t get very far.

Hopefully, you’ve set aside some savings for your planned renovations. You’ll need to purchase tools, materials, paint and furniture as well as hire contractors. However, make sure your budget includes some wiggle room. Renovations are full of unexpected expenses and you want to be prepared for whatever arises.

5. Respect Your Timeline

Buying a house is exciting and most first-time homeowners can’t wait to jump into their renovation projects. However, it’s easy to become overwhelmed. You need to maintain your energy and enthusiasm for a few months, so pace yourself and tackle one project at a time to prevent burnout.

If you set a timeline during your renovation planning phase, stick to it. Rushing could lead to mistakes or disappointing results. You’re only at the start of your homeowning journey — you have plenty of time to get projects done in the future.

6. Invest in Finding the Right Contractor

Your contractor will be one of your closest partners as you undergo renovations, so you want to make sure you’ve picked the right one. While there are plenty of horror stories out there, it’s possible to find an honest and reliable contractor.

Be sure to do your research. Once you have a few potential candidates, check out their past projects, get in touch with former clients and ask any questions that come to mind. It’s your home, after all — they should be ready to support your vision.

7. Get to Know Your Neighbors

While this isn’t a strictly renovation-based tip, it’ll come in handy for years to come. Getting to know your neighbors when you move into a new place has endless benefits. You’ll feel like part of the community, they can look out for your property when you’re out of town and it’s also a great way to get recommendations! Maybe they’ve recently renovated their kitchen and know the perfect contractor for the job. These local connections are invaluable — and maybe you’ll make some new best friends in the process.

8. Use Your DIY Skills

While a contractor is often a necessity for big projects you can’t handle alone, there are plenty of home improvement projects you can do yourself. Painting, interior decorating, minor repairs or replacements — you’re a capable homeowner who can handle these challenges with a little elbow grease.

Don’t be afraid to ask questions and find answers on your own. Whether you get advice from trusted friends and neighbors or you look up tutorials online, you can use your DIY skills to transform a house into your home.

9. Make Compromises

Renovating your home isn’t a cut-and-dry journey. There are bound to be a couple of bumps along the way, whether you order the wrong countertops or don’t love the color you painted the dining room walls. Plus, with unexpected costs, you may not be able to achieve all of your projects at once.

Learn to embrace changes and make compromises when possible. You don’t have to give up on your dream home — just see it in a new light.

10. Keep Up With Maintenance

You’re a homeowner now, which means there’s no more relying on a landlord or maintenance team to fix the leaky faucet or broken dishwasher. Keeping up with regular maintenance around your home is essential to ensure everything lasts as long as possible. You spent good money renovating your bathroom — keep the shower clean and drains clear of clogs.

Reno Tips for First-Time Homeowners

As first-time homeowners, you’re embarking on an exciting new adventure with a property of your own. While it’s easy to get overwhelmed with so much to do, keeping these home renovation tips in mind will keep you organized and excited as you make your dream home a reality.

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