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First Time Homeowner Do's and Don'ts


First Time Homeowner Do's and Don'ts

For many young families, summer offers an opportunity for no school, week-long vacations, and a break from most club sports. It is no surprise that many families pick this season to move into a new home across town or across the country. Since June is National Homeowners Month, we are offering tips for new homeowners in Lackawanna, Wayne, and Monroe Counties. If you’ve recently moved into a new home or plan to make a move this summer, consider Citizens Savings Bank’s Top Tips for First Time Homeowners in Northeastern Pennsylvania.

First Time Homeowner Do’s

You’ve changed your address with the post office, moved your belongings, and started living in your new home. Before you get too comfortable in your new place, set yourself up for success with these first-time homebuyer tips.

Do Update Your Monthly Budget 

A new home can bring changes to your mortgage payment, property taxes, and insurance rates. If your daily commute has changed, you may need to adjust the amount you budget each month for gasoline and car maintenance. If big purchases are on the horizon, plan ahead and avoid busting your budget with new furniture purchases, landscaping, or renovations. A monthly budget should take all these expenses into account and help you navigate your new financial situation.

Do Investigate Your Home Systems 

Hot running water, climate control, and electricity are components of your home that are easily taken for granted when they work properly. If one of these systems stops working or starts leaking, you’ll need to know where to look to solve the problem.

Create a new homeowner checklist and locate your HVAC compressors, water shut off valves, circuit breakers, and any other lines and control panels that keep your house running smoothly. Knowing how to quickly turn off a circuit breaker or water line can save you from extensive damage and costly repairs.

Do Create a Home Maintenance Schedule 

Keep your home looking fresh and running smoothly by creating a home maintenance schedule. An annual maintenance calendar should include everything from lawn maintenance to changing the air filters throughout your house. Spring and Fall are especially important seasons to spend time checking in with your home and preparing for big temperature changes. A well maintained home is less likely to need large, unexpected repairs.

Do Install Security Measures 

In order to feel secure in your new home, you may wish to add additional locks, ring cameras, or alarm systems to your house. If your new home comes with security systems already installed, make sure to reset all the passwords and ensure that only you and your family have access to cameras and alarm controls.

Do Invest in Energy Efficient Updates 

When the time comes for new appliances and renovations, consider alternatives that will increase your home’s energy efficiency.

  • Improved weatherization from windows, siding, and insulation can help maintain a comfortable temperature in your home throughout the year and reduce the need for artificial heating and cooling.
  • Many modern appliances have an EnergyGuide label that rates their energy efficiency. Energy efficient appliances use less electricity and reduce your energy consumption.

Rebates and tax credits may be available to offset some of the expenses that come with updating your home. The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection provides an overview of financial incentives for Pennsylvania residents who make their home more energy efficient.

Do Explore Your New Neighborhood 

Spend some time exploring your new area to get a hint of the best services and businesses near you. Walking around your new neighborhood, you may notice the trucks of local landscapers, repair men, and service providers that do business in your new town. Don’t be afraid to ask neighbors for their personal recommendations for restaurants, pet sitters, dry cleaners, and anything else you need.

First Time Homeowner Don’ts

Many new homeowners can’t wait to move into their new house and create the home of their dreams. For the sake of your budget and sanity, we suggest avoiding these common mistakes made by first time homebuyers.

Don’t Tackle Big Renovations Right Away 

Major renovations typically take thousands of dollars and months to complete. Give yourself a chance to live in your new home for about 18 months before starting renovations. By taking the time to live in your new house, you can prioritize your renovations and ensure that your remodeling fits the flow and layout of your new home.

You can also help pay for your renovations by waiting until you have built equity in your new house. A home equity loan or home equity line of credit can help you transform your house into the home of your dreams without taking a toll on your new budget.

Don’t Overwhelm Yourself with a To-Do List 

Unless you purchased new construction, your home likely has many imperfections that could use repairs or upgrades. Even though these repairs seem small, it is easy to become overwhelmed by a long to-do list when you first move into your new house.

Small repairs can often lead to uncovering larger problems and, before you know it, you've started an expensive renovation. Pace yourself and enjoy your home while you adjust to your new monthly budget. Once you’ve settled in and have some money put aside for home maintenance, pick a small project or two to tackle each month.

Don’t Be Afraid to Call a Professional 

If you are trying to fit home repairs into your budget, you may be tempted to tackle them yourself. While a good DIY project can save money, some repairs are best left to the professionals. If your home needs important maintenance or repairs, don’t put off calling a professional to do the job. It is especially important to call a professional to handle these homeowner tasks:

Electrical Repairs - If your project involves handling electrical wiring, it's best left to an electrician. Tampering with electrical wiring can lead to shocks and fires causing bodily injury and damage to your entire home.

Plumbing Repairs - Behind your walls is a complex system of fresh water and sewage pipes. A skilled plumber can easily identify the different types of pipes and understand how they connect throughout your house. Cutting the wrong pipe or failing to secure a leak can result in huge damage to your walls, floors, and plumbing system.

Large Renovations - With all the DIY home renovations on television and social media, it’s easy to think you can design a whole new kitchen or bathroom on your own. Most large renovations require expertise in multiple areas such as carpentry, plumbing, tile work, and electrical. If a big renovation is on the horizon, save time and money by hiring trained professionals for the task.

Don’t Buy Everything At Once 

It’s normal to want to fill your home with the perfect furnishings and décor. As a first time home buyer, you may not own enough furniture to fill your new space. Before you max out your credit card on items for your new house, make a list of the items you want to purchase. Are these items needs or wants? Do you have money in your new budget for these purchases? Don't be afraid to start off with hand-me-downs and thrift store purchases. Stay within your budget and slowly upgrade your furnishings over time.

We can help you succeed!

Citizens Savings Bank is proud to help families in Northeastern PA move into their first homes. Whether you need help creating a new budget or building an emergency savings account, we can set you up for successful homeownership. When the time is right we’re also here to provide you with the best home equity loan or mortgage refinancing.

If you haven’t yet purchased your first home, Citizens Savings Bank can help make that dream a reality with our First Time Homebuyers Program. Whether your home lies in Scranton, Mount Pocono, Taylor, Clarks Summit, or Honesdale, our friendly associates are here to help you navigate the homeowner experience.

Give us a call today or stop by your local Citizens Savings Bank office. We can’t wait to hear about your new home!


Learn More

Citizens Savings Bank has multiple locations throughout Lackawanna, Wayne, and Monroe Counties. For branch locations and hours, visit our website. We also have a Customer Support Team ready to answer any questions you may have. Call us today at 1.800.692.6279 or email [email protected]. Member FDIC. Equal Housing Lender.