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7 Tips New Homeowners Need To Know Before Moving In

7 Tips New Homeowners Need To Know Before Moving In

If you’re in the process of buying your first home, you most likely have a ton of questions regarding basic maintenance and upkeep—stuff that you used to let the landlord take care of. While there is definitely a lot to know, you shouldn’t get overwhelmed in the process of becoming homeowners. If you keep up with this routine maintenance throughout the years, you’ll find the little things much easier to deal with than if you were to ignore them and let the problems build up. Before you even start moving in your furniture, all new homeowners:

1. Check the insulation

Insulation keeps the warm air in during the winter months and out during the summer ones. Check the attic to see if there are any patches missing, or if the insulation is growing thin in some areas. Proper insulation should be about 6 inches thick throughout the entire area. If any area is missing or has been damaged, don’t ignore it. You’ll end up letting some much needed warm air out during the winter months, and your heating bill will show it.

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2. Lower the hot water heater temperature

Your hot water heater should be set no higher than 120°F—that is, unless you like making coffee straight from the tap. All joking aside, you most likely won’t have any use for water over 100°F anyway, so setting your heater for higher than 120° only wastes energy. While you’re at it, throw an old blanket over your hot water heater. Even if it’s more modern, you won’t run the risk of losing heat and expending excess energy over time.

3. Wrap pipes with insulation

You’ll likely have at least a couple feet of visible piping throughout your house. Invest in a good insulator for them to avoid losing heat as the water travels from the heater to its destination. Again, a loss of heat causes the heater to work harder, causing more and more energy to be expended. Losing one or two degrees from the heater to the shower might not seem much, but over time your wallet will end up feeling it.

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4. Replace air filters and check the vents

Even if they look clean enough, replace the air filters for your furnace and air conditioning units. Remove any blockages to improve air flow and overall effectiveness of your HVAC units. Depending on the system’s condition, however, you may need to refer to a furnace or AC repair company, especially if there’s a problem with the central unit.

5. Check plumbing for leaks

Your plumbing system has the potential to lead to disaster if not maintained properly. First of all, even the smallest drip or a toilet that won’t stop running could end up costing you hundreds of dollars over the course of a year. Second of all, any excess leakage could damage your interior and foundation, and lead to mold and other issues that simply will not be easy (or cheap) to fix.

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6. Replace light bulbs

It might be a little time consuming, but you’ll save yourself time and money in the long run if you replace all the light bulbs in the house with LED bulbs. Not only are they more energy efficient, but they last much longer than standard bulbs. This will save you not only time and money, but it will also save you from the aggravation of having to run to the store in a few weeks to pick up even more bulbs.

7. Secure the perimeter

If you do nothing else on this list, at the very least change the locks on all of your doors. Ensure that all openings to the outside of your home, no matter how high up, have secure locks on them. If necessary, install a security system and camera that will monitor any outdoor movement throughout the overnight hours. While ignoring all other items on this list may cost you in money and time, an unsecured home may cost you much, much more.

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Featured photo credit: house for sale by owner / Images Money via farm6.staticflickr.com

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Last Updated on January 21, 2020

The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

Creating a vision for your life might seem like a frivolous, fantastical waste of time, but it’s not: creating a compelling vision of the life you want is actually one of the most effective strategies for achieving the life of your dreams. Perhaps the best way to look at the concept of a life vision is as a compass to help guide you to take the best actions and make the right choices that help propel you toward your best life.

your vision of where or who you want to be is the greatest asset you have

    Why You Need a Vision

    Experts and life success stories support the idea that with a vision in mind, you are more likely to succeed far beyond what you could otherwise achieve without a clear vision. Think of crafting your life vision as mapping a path to your personal and professional dreams. Life satisfaction and personal happiness are within reach. The harsh reality is that if you don’t develop your own vision, you’ll allow other people and circumstances to direct the course of your life.

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    How to Create Your Life Vision

    Don’t expect a clear and well-defined vision overnight—envisioning your life and determining the course you will follow requires time, and reflection. You need to cultivate vision and perspective, and you also need to apply logic and planning for the practical application of your vision. Your best vision blossoms from your dreams, hopes, and aspirations. It will resonate with your values and ideals, and will generate energy and enthusiasm to help strengthen your commitment to explore the possibilities of your life.

    What Do You Want?

    The question sounds deceptively simple, but it’s often the most difficult to answer. Allowing yourself to explore your deepest desires can be very frightening. You may also not think you have the time to consider something as fanciful as what you want out of life, but it’s important to remind yourself that a life of fulfillment does not usually happen by chance, but by design.

    It’s helpful to ask some thought-provoking questions to help you discover the possibilities of what you want out of life. Consider every aspect of your life, personal and professional, tangible and intangible. Contemplate all the important areas, family and friends, career and success, health and quality of life, spiritual connection and personal growth, and don’t forget about fun and enjoyment.

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    Some tips to guide you:

    • Remember to ask why you want certain things
    • Think about what you want, not on what you don’t want.
    • Give yourself permission to dream.
    • Be creative. Consider ideas that you never thought possible.
    • Focus on your wishes, not what others expect of you.

    Some questions to start your exploration:

    • What really matters to you in life? Not what should matter, what does matter.
    • What would you like to have more of in your life?
    • Set aside money for a moment; what do you want in your career?
    • What are your secret passions and dreams?
    • What would bring more joy and happiness into your life?
    • What do you want your relationships to be like?
    • What qualities would you like to develop?
    • What are your values? What issues do you care about?
    • What are your talents? What’s special about you?
    • What would you most like to accomplish?
    • What would legacy would you like to leave behind?

    It may be helpful to write your thoughts down in a journal or creative vision board if you’re the creative type. Add your own questions, and ask others what they want out of life. Relax and make this exercise fun. You may want to set your answers aside for a while and come back to them later to see if any have changed or if you have anything to add.

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    What Would Your Best Life Look Like?

    Describe your ideal life in detail. Allow yourself to dream and imagine, and create a vivid picture. If you can’t visualize a picture, focus on how your best life would feel. If you find it difficult to envision your life 20 or 30 years from now, start with five years—even a few years into the future will give you a place to start. What you see may surprise you. Set aside preconceived notions. This is your chance to dream and fantasize.

    A few prompts to get you started:

    • What will you have accomplished already?
    • How will you feel about yourself?
    • What kind of people are in your life? How do you feel about them?
    • What does your ideal day look like?
    • Where are you? Where do you live? Think specifics, what city, state, or country, type of community, house or an apartment, style and atmosphere.
    • What would you be doing?
    • Are you with another person, a group of people, or are you by yourself?
    • How are you dressed?
    • What’s your state of mind? Happy or sad? Contented or frustrated?
    • What does your physical body look like? How do you feel about that?
    • Does your best life make you smile and make your heart sing? If it doesn’t, dig deeper, dream bigger.

    It’s important to focus on the result, or at least a way-point in your life. Don’t think about the process for getting there yet—that’s the next stepGive yourself permission to revisit this vision every day, even if only for a few minutes. Keep your vision alive and in the front of your mind.

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    Plan Backwards

    It may sound counter-intuitive to plan backwards rather than forwards, but when you’re planning your life from the end result, it’s often more useful to consider the last step and work your way back to the first. This is actually a valuable and practical strategy for making your vision a reality.

    • What’s the last thing that would’ve had to happen to achieve your best life?
    • What’s the most important choice you would’ve had to make?
    • What would you have needed to learn along the way?
    • What important actions would you have had to take?
    • What beliefs would you have needed to change?
    • What habits or behaviors would you have had to cultivate?
    • What type of support would you have had to enlist?
    • How long will it have taken you to realize your best life?
    • What steps or milestones would you have needed to reach along the way?

    Now it’s time to think about your first step, and the next step after that. Ponder the gap between where you are now and where you want to be in the future. It may seem impossible, but it’s quite achievable if you take it step-by-step.

    It’s important to revisit this vision from time to time. Don’t be surprised if your answers to the questions, your technicolor vision, and the resulting plans change. That can actually be a very good thing; as you change in unforeseeable ways, the best life you envision will change as well. For now, it’s important to use the process, create your vision, and take the first step towards making that vision a reality.

    Featured photo credit: Matt Noble via unsplash.com

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