It can be a uniquely satisfying experience to finally buy your first house. Just the experience of applying for loans, looking at houses, and closing the purchase can be both trying and exciting. But once all that is done, you now have something that will change your life in many ways:
- You will move less often. The average homeowner stays in their home for 13.3 years before selling and moving.
- You will become more financially stable. For homeowners between the ages of 35 and 44 years old, their home contributes about $21,000 to their net worth.
- Your federal income taxes will decrease. Taxpayers who bought homes before 2018 can deduct mortgage interest on loans up to $1 million.
- You gain an important financial asset. In fact, a home is the greatest asset in their investment portfolio with the value of the average home increasing between 3% and 5% per year, depending on location.
These may explain all the rational reasons for buying a house. But turning your house into your home is a different matter. It means personalizing your space so you feel comfortable. It means filling out a bare building into the place you want to return to after work and spend your weekends.
Here are five ways to make new house into a home:
Whether your house is new construction or existing construction, a good cleaning will help make it homey. For new construction, new carpet and fresh paint give off gases that can give your house a chemical odor. Moreover, dust and even loose nails and screws can create an unhealthy environment. Vacuuming and wiping everything down will be a good start for cleaning up newly built houses.
Some of the best home cleaning tips are for existing construction. If a prior owner smoked or had pets, you might need a deep cleaning to just be able to live in the house without suffering from an asthma attack or allergies.
The best home cleaning tips for pets include rubbing a wet rubber glove or rubber flip flop across carpeting and drapes will pick up pet hair. To get pet stains and odors out of carpets, do not use steam cleaners or carpet cleaners that use hot water. The heat can literally bake the stain into the carpet. Specially formulated pet stain removers use enzymes to break down the stain and can be well worth the money if you have a lot of pet stains to clean up. If you only have a few stains, one of the best home cleaning tips is to pour a vinegar solution on the stain to neutralize the odor, then sprinkle baking soda on the stain to neutralize the vinegar.
Likewise, the best home cleaning tips for getting cigarette smoke out of carpet is by sprinkling baking soda or carpet freshener on the carpet and vacuuming it up. If the cigarette smoke smell lingers, spray the carpet with a solution of water mixed with essential oil. Citrus tends to cover up the cigarette smoke odor. Alternatively, you can sprinkle dried lavender on the carpet and leave it overnight before vacuuming it up.
For walls that smell of cigarette smoke, the best home cleaning tips include making a weak vinegar solution and wiping the walls down. Be aware, however, that once you start cleaning walls that smell of cigarette smoke, you may need to clean all your walls because any uncleaned walls could appear brown compared to the cleaned walls.
The best home cleaning tips for removing cigarette smoke residue from windows are to use straight vinegar on the first pass, then wash the windows again using window cleaner. Also, try using a coffee filter instead of a paper towel. They are more durable and just as absorbent.
In fact, vinegar is an all-purpose cleaner that is one of the best home cleaning tips because it works wonders all around the house. If you have a clogged shower head, tie a plastic bag containing vinegar to the shower head. The acid will dissolve the lime scale and unclog the holes. Similarly, a little bit of vinegar will remove the rust stains and lime from your shower walls, faucets, and drains. Vinegar in a spray bottle can remove water spots from your shower curtain and kill the bacteria that cause the shower curtain to smell sour. You can even clear a clogged drain by pouring baking soda down the drain followed by some vinegar. The reaction will often loosen the clog so that it can be flushed through the drain pipe with some hot water.
Cleaning an empty home is a lot of work. Make sure you delegate chores with the rest of your family or roommates. According to surveys, about 80% of people living with a partner have disagreements over housework. One of the best home cleaning tips is to set a precedent that everyone has to contribute to keeping the home clean.
Once your space is clean, you can start moving in. Furniture often reflects your personality. Rather than relying on others, choose a style that you enjoy. After all, you have to live with it.
However, if you do not know much about furniture styles, do some research online or using design magazines before you go to the furniture store. You want to avoid wasting money or filling up a storage unit with unused furniture because you changed your style halfway through furnishing your home.
If your budget is a constraint, look for a furniture discounter. The retail markup on furniture can run anywhere from 200% to 400%. This means that furniture discounters have a lot of leeway in their pricing. This is particularly true for furniture discount stores that work directly with the furniture manufacturers rather than a wholesaler. This arrangement eliminates the wholesaler’s markup, reducing both the discounter’s costs and your price.
If new furniture is out of your budget, you can also look for second-hand furniture. Used furniture works well with many decorating styles, including shabby chic, rustic, and vintage styles. There are many websites and apps for finding used furniture. Since furniture is so durable, it can often be one of the best products to purchase used. Moreover, used furniture is a sustainable and environmentally friendly way to furnish a new house.
When looking at used furniture, keep in mind that the best home cleaning tips can also be used to restore used furniture. For example, one of the best home cleaning tips for moisturizing wood cabinets — wiping them with olive oil — can also be used to restore wood furniture. Similarly, one of the best home cleaning tips for restoring scuffed wooden baseboards or banisters — rubbing a walnut over the scuff marks — can also remove scuffs from wood furniture.
Also keep in mind that technology plays a large part in your every day life. Set aside space for your electronic accessories and home audio solutions when you furnish your home. Home electronics have shrunk in size, but have also become more ubiquitous in the home as technology has improved. For example, over the span of just a couple years, the humble doorbell has evolved from a simple switch to an Internet-enabled smart device that can communicate with you even if you are on the other side of the world.
You can really express yourself when it comes to decorating your home. Decorating your home is not limited to making sure the pillowcases and comforters match. Rather, your home’s decor can show visitors what is important to you, whether it be through photos of your travels and your family, your collection of porcelain dogs, or your baseball trophies.
While there are no rules to expressing yourself, you may want to consider a few things as you decorate:
- Do not feel constrained by the names of the rooms. If you want to use a bedroom as your man cave with your sports or movie memorabilia, then do it.
- Think about your theme. Do you want to keep all your travel souvenirs and photos together in one room themed to travel? Or do you want to spread your travel souvenirs and photos throughout the home? Remember that the human brain tends to want to find connections and think in narratives. Use your decor to tell a story about you.
- Remember that your house has to function as a living space. While you may want to place your porcelain plate collection all around your home, consider how difficult it will be to live in a home surrounded by fragile objects.
- Do not forget that you will need to keep your home decor looking clean. If you want to show off your shot glasses collected from around the world, consider getting a curio or display cabinet so you do not spend all your time dusting them.
It may seem strange to buy a home, then immediately remodel it. However, if you love everything about a house except the master bathroom, you are fully justified in buying the house and immediately consulting remodeling designers for a master bath remodel. After all, you should be comfortable in your home.
The two rooms that you will spend the majority of your waking hours are the kitchen and living room. In fact, up until a few years ago, kitchen remodeling was the most common home remodeling project until it was overtaken by bathroom remodeling.
Kitchen remodeling can be as simple as replacing appliances or as involved as replacing flooring, cabinets, and counter tops. If you plan to do it yourself, many home improvement stores offer rental tools so you are not limited to what you have in your toolbox.
On the other hand, if you plan to go all out for your kitchen re-design build, you may want to consider hiring a professional contractor to make sure everything is built according to building codes and construction best practices. Mistakes installing plumbing, natural gas lines, or electric wiring can be dangerous and may be expensive to fix.
The majority of home buyers say that the landscaping and the kitchen are the most influential factors in deciding whether to buy a home. In fact, realtors have a name for the effect your landscaping has on visitors to your home — curb appeal.
When you move into a new home, tailoring the residential landscaping to your tastes may just consist of cleaning up the yard from the prior homeowner. For example, one of the best home cleaning tips for small rust spots on railings or other iron work is to rub a little bit of ketchup on it. Ketchup contains vinegar but because of its paste-like consistency, it generally sticks better to objects so the vinegar can remove the rust.
Sometimes, your landscaping project goes beyond clean-up. One of the most effective ways to increase curb appeal is to have your lawn fertilized. A green lawn can go a long way to making your house look nice. It also gives you a place to play with the kids and wrestle with the dog.
If you want to make your home more environmentally friendly, planting trees are a great way to add shade and offset your home’s carbon footprint. Trees tend to be a better option for removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere because they require very little carbon to maintain. By contrast, grass requires mowing and fertilizing, which release greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide and nitrous oxide into the atmosphere.
Of course there are much more extensive projects that you can undertake to customize your landscaping. For example, swimming pools have some of the highest satisfaction ratings among homeowners who install them. That is, even though they can be expensive to install and time-consuming to maintain, a majority of homeowners say that a swimming pool increased their enjoyment of their home. If a swimming pool is outside of your budget, a majority of home owners who installed a hot tub also found that it increased their enjoyment of their home.
Other landscaping projects can not only improve the curb appeal and enjoyment of your home, they can also increase your home value. Patios and decks are in high demand and often pay for themselves by increasing the value of your home. That is, when it comes time to sell your home, a patio or deck will add enough value to your home to make up for the cost of installation.
Another trendy landscaping project is an outdoor kitchen. Built-in grills that run on natural gas rather than propane are often more efficient and safer than portable barbecues. Moreover, if you add an outdoor sink and prep area, you have everything you need to entertain guests enjoying your deck or patio.
The things that make your house into your home are very personal. It may be the way that you employ the best home cleaning tips to remove any smells or stains from the previous homeowners. It could be the furniture and decor you choose. It could be the way that you customize the interior and exterior of the home to suit your tastes.