5 Things to Do During Your First Year of Homeownership

5 Things to Do During Your First Year of Homeownership

So you just purchased a new home—congratulations! It’s your own to decorate, upgrade, and enjoy as you wish. Your first year of homeownership is an exciting milestone, but it also comes with a number of responsibilities. Set yourself up for success by following this checklist of things to do during the first year in your new home. 

1. Prioritize Hazardous Issues

Before you get carried away decorating your new place, spend some time—and money—ensuring that your home is safe from common threats. Inspect the trees on your property for overhanging branches or diseased limbs that could pose a risk if a brisk wind or hurricane kicks up. If necessary, hire a professional tree service to safely remove them. It’s not a fun way to spend money, but it could save you from costly damage down the road.

Many major home problems are caused by water damage, and a bit of preventative effort can go a long way. Take the time to check the caulking around your windows and doors and ensure a watertight seal. Inspect your plumbing fixtures and pipes for leaks, and check your roof for leaks (or have a professional do so). Promptly repair as needed to keep rot and mold away. 

2. Clean Your Doors for a Welcoming Entrance

It doesn’t need to be the very first task you tackle on the day you move in, but sometime in the first few months of living in your new place, you should give all of your doors a deep clean. It’s one of those areas that previous homeowners probably won’t think to clean before they move out, and it will feel good to know you’re starting fresh. Besides, clean doors can help create a warm welcome inside and boost your curb appeal outside. 

First, you’ll want to remove any excess dirt, dust, and grime by wiping with a microfiber cloth. 

cleaning doors

PRO TIP: An unused paintbrush is the perfect tool for that initial sweep of your door. It effectively removes dust and dirt from grooves and corners that might otherwise be missed by a dust rag or feather duster.

For both interior and exterior doors, you’ll likely need a few drops of mild dish soap (like Dawn) and water mixed together in a spray bottle. You’ll want to note your door material before you get started, and always test a small patch with any solution before you go gangbusters. 

Pay special attention to any dirt or grime buildup around the doorknobs and hinges. For step-by-step instructions on how to clean interior and exterior doors made with various materials, check out our full guide.

Think your doors have seen better days? Upgrade your new home with interior and exterior doors that suit your specific style and needs. 

3. Establish Home Maintenance Systems

As you spend more time in your space, you’ll start to get a feel for the areas that need constant upkeep. Creating a schedule can help keep home maintenance tasks manageable. For routine tasks, such as HVAC system inspections, scrubbing the dishwasher filter, and gutter cleaning, set up monthly or quarterly reminders in your calendar. If you share your home with someone, a shared digital calendar is a great way to stay on the same (virtual) page. 

gutter cleaning

If you’re more of a hard-copy type of person, a binder is a great tool for keeping a calendar in place alongside warranties, important documents, and service agreements. Establishing a home maintenance system early on can help keep your home running smoothly and help mitigate unexpected repair costs.

4. Furnish Your Home

You’ll notice this task is not at the tippy-top of our checklist—and that’s intentional. Although it can be tempting to throw any furniture together just so you can be “done” and settled, it’s usually a good idea to live in your space for a bit first. This allows you to gain a better understanding of how you actually use the space. 

You might be surprised to find that your family eats more frequently in the kitchen than in the dining room; you may learn that you need a dedicated office space; or, you may discover that you don’t ever use that random nook by the laundry room. Live in your home, learn how you function, and then put effort into furnishing and decorating. 

5. Start Saving Up Again

You purchased a house, so the expensive part is over, right? Unfortunately… no. First-time homeowners paid an average of $3,828 on unexpected home repairs in 2022. Whether it’s fixing a leaky faucet, springing for a new water heater, or doing a full kitchen remodel, it’s smart to start building back a cushion of savings as soon as you can. 

The first year of homeownership is full of highs and lows, and is hopefully a joyful season of learning. By staying proactive about home maintenance tasks, you can ensure that your home provides comfort for years to come. 

front door

P.S. Don't forget to go chat with your new neighbors at some point in your first year!