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6 Steps to Take the Day You Buy Your First Home

6 Steps to Take the Day You Buy Your First Home

Buying a home is a big responsibility, financially and for many other easons. It is easily the single biggest expense in life for most people, and it may not be the only home you ever own. There are scores of things that you need to get done in order to prepare a down payment, secure a mortgage, and purchase the home of your dreams, but the work is not done the day you sign on the dotted line or get handed the keys. Here are six things you should get done the day you buy your first home.

1. Take pictures.

You will want them to remember what your house looked like the day you took ownership, and you may need them for an insurance claim later on. Digital cameras mean you can take a lot of pictures without having to worry about the cost of developing film. However, you may want to print out an 8 by 10 of how your house looked the day you bought it.

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Store the rest of the images in the cloud or on digital media. Realize that even flash drives do not hold data forever. Degradation of the digital data on a flash drive takes years, but it does happen. Shooting some video of the inside and outside of your home with a narrative will be fun to view years from now too.

2. Confirm your insurance.

Look over the fine print of policies. Contact your insurance agent to make sure all paperwork has been filled. Buying a house is a hectic time. Make sure your actual coverage is in step with the market value of the house as well as what is owed on the mortgage. Reassess the coverage after moving in with your possessions. Do you have too little, too much, or just the right coverage for the contents? You want adequate insurance coverage, but you do not want to pay excessive premiums.

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3. Change the locks.

Whether you do it yourself or hire a locksmith, make sure the door locks on your home are changed the day you take possession of it. You have no idea who the previous owner has given copies of the keys to. It is better to be safe than sorry when it comes to home security. The home is now yours. No one who was granted access before has that right now, and the best way to control access is to change the locks. Do not forget to have the locks changed on outbuildings too. New door locks can all be keyed to open with one key. Specialty keyed locks may offer more security than mass-produced models.

4. Get a security system.

The FBI Uniform Crime Report statistics indicate that there were 1,729,806 burglaries in the United States for 2014. That is about one burglary every two seconds of homes and businesses. Home security systems act as an early warning system and a deterrent. Criminals do not want to get caught, and they choose easier targets than homes with alarm systems. Plus, fire and carbon monoxide detection tied to a central monitoring station can send help whether you are home or away, and also if you or your family is incapacitated.

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5. Check your utilities.

It is easy to tell if the electricity is on, but it is more difficult in some homes to determine if the natural gas is on or if propane is available. Also, it is important to check your water heater. It may have been turned off or turned to its lowest setting to save energy while the house is unoccupied.

If you do not have a gas stove but have gas heat, turn the furnace on and listen for the flame to start. Check the temperature setting on the water heater. If you do not know how to check for a lit pilot light on a tank water heater, just run the hot water for five minutes and listen for the flame to start at the water tank. If it does not, have it checked.

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6. Look over home guarantee policies.

Within a few days of living in your new home, you may discover things that need fixed that neither you nor your home inspection expert noticed. Homes that have been unoccupied for a time may develop slow drain issues. The sewer systems of unoccupied homes dry out. Sludge in the drains can harden to a plaster-like consistency. As you begin to flush solids down the dry drains, build up may cause slow drains or clogs. This can especially be a problem in homes that have terracotta drains.

After a few months, a lot of homeowners start to develop a nervousness as they realize that something could break and cost them a lot of money that they simply don’t have. I use a home warranty in order to better budget and not have to worry about large repairs breaking the bank around the holidays.

Your new home is going to quickly become your castle and family place of comfort, safety, and refuge. However, it is practically inevitable that there will be some issues, quirks, and other things you notice about your new home after you move in. Every home has its own sounds and peculiarities that can be irritating or endearing. Some have never forgotten the sound of a noisy water pipe, a cozy sunny spot, or even that cold drafty spot in a home they have lived in. Enjoy your new home and all it has to offer.

Featured photo credit: https://pixabay.com via pixabay.com

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Last Updated on July 10, 2020

How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

We all have them—those hurtful, frustrating, offensive, manipulative people in our lives. No matter how hard we try to surround ourselves with positive and kind people, there will always be those who will disrespect, insult, berate, and misuse you if we allow them to.

We may, for a variety of reasons, not be able to avoid them, but we can determine how we interact with them and how we allow them to interact with us.

So, how to take control of your life and stop being pushed around?

Learning to set clear firm boundaries with the people in our lives at work and in our personal lives is the best way to protect ourselves from the negative effects of this kind of behavior.

What Boundaries Are (And What They’re Not)

Boundaries are limits

—they are not threats or ultimatums. Boundaries inform or teach. They are not a form of punishment.

Boundaries are firm lines—determined by you—which cannot be crossed by those around you. They are guidelines for how you will allow others to treat you and what kind of behaviors you will expect.

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Healthy personal boundaries help protect you from physical or emotional pain. You may also need to set firm boundaries at work to ensure you and your time are not disrespected. Don’t allow others to take advantage of your kindness and generosity.

Clear boundaries communicate to others that you demand respect and consideration—that you are willing to stand up for yourself and that you will not be a doormat for anyone. They are a “no trespassing” sign that makes it very clear when a line has been crossed and that there will be consequences for doing so.

Boundaries are not set with the intention of changing other people. They may change how people interact with you, but they are more about enforcing your needs than attempting to change the general behavior and attitude of others.

How to Establish Boundaries and Take Control of Your Life

Here are some ways that you can establish boundaries and take control of your life.

1. Self-Awareness Comes First

Before you can establish boundaries with others, you first need to understand what your needs are.

You are entitled to respect. You have the right to protect yourself from inappropriate or offensive behavior. Setting boundaries is a way of honoring your needs.

To set appropriate boundaries, you need to be clear about what healthy behaviors look like—what healthy relationships look like.

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You first have to become more aware of your feelings and honest with yourself about your expectations and what you feel is appropriate behavior:

  • Where do you need to establish better boundaries?
  • When do you feel disrespected?
  • When do you feel violated, frustrated, or angered by the behavior of others?
  • In what situations do you feel you are being mistreated or taken advantage of?
  • When do you want to be alone?
  • How much space do you need?

You need to honor your own needs and boundaries before you can expect others to honor them. This allows you to take control of your life.

2. Clear Communication Is Essential

Inform others clearly and directly what your expectations are. It is essential to have clear communication if you want others to respect your boundaries. Explain in an honest and respectful tone what you find offensive or unacceptable.

Many people simply aren’t aware that they are behaving inappropriately. They may never have been taught proper manners or consideration for others.

3. Be Specific but Don’t Blame

Taking a blaming or punishing attitude automatically puts people on the defensive. People will not listen when they feel attacked. It’s part of human nature.

That said, you do not need to overexplain or defend yourself. Boundaries are not open to compromise.

Sample language:

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  • “You may not…yell or raise your voice to me…”
  • “I need…to be treated with respect…”
  • “It’s not okay when…you take things from my desk without asking…”
  • “I won’t…do your work…cover for you anymore…”
  • “It’s not acceptable when…you ridicule or insult me…”
  • “I am uncomfortable when…you use offensive language”
  • “I will no longer be able to…lend you money…”

Being able to communicate these without sounding accusatory is essential if you want others to respect your boundaries so you can take control of your life.

4. Consequences Are Often Necessary

Determine what the appropriate consequences will be when boundaries are crossed. If it’s appropriate, be clear about those consequences upfront when communicating those boundaries to others.

Follow through. People won’t respect your boundaries if you don’t enforce them.

Standing our ground and forcing consequences doesn’t come easily to us. We want to be nice. We want people to like us, but we shouldn’t have to trade our self-respect to gain friends or to achieve success.

We may be tempted to let minor disrespect slide to avoid conflict, but as the familiar saying goes, “if you give people an inch, they’ll take a mile.”

It’s much easier to address offensive or inappropriate behavior now than to wait until that behavior has gotten completely out of hand.

It’s also important to remember that positive reinforcement is even more powerful than negative consequences. When people do alter the way they treat you, acknowledge it. Let people know that you notice and appreciate their efforts.

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Final Thoughts

Respect is always a valid reason for setting a boundary. Don’t defend yourself or your needs. Boundaries are often necessary to protect your time, your space, and your feelings. And these are essential if you want to take control of your life.

Start with the easiest boundaries first. Setting boundaries is a skill that needs to be practiced. Enlist support from others if necessary. Inform people immediately when they have crossed the line.

Don’t wait. Communicate politely and directly. Be clear about the consequences and follow them through.

The better you become at setting your own boundaries, the better you become at recognizing and respecting the boundaries of others.

Remember that establishing boundaries is your right. You are entitled to respect. You can’t control how other people behave, but you do have control over the way you allow people to treat you.

Learning to set boundaries is not always easy, but with time, it will become more comfortable. You may eventually find that boundaries become automatic and you no longer need to consciously set them.

They will simply become a natural extension of your self-respect.

Featured photo credit: Thomas Kelley via unsplash.com

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