You’re finally a homeowner — congratulations! This is an important step in anyone’s life, and it’s absolutely normal to feel somewhat (or really) unprepared for the realities of owning a home. What if there’s an emergency, or what if something breaks? Do you know what to do? Here are a few people you should add to your contact list.
An insurance agent
If you have a mortgage loan on your home, then you’re going to need homeowners’ insurance, which protects the asset being backed — otherwise known as “your house” — from risk. And to get the best deals on insurance and make sure you’re fully covered for everything that needs to be addressed, you’ll probably need to talk to an insurance agent about your options.
Most home insurance policies cover things like fire, for example, but they don’t automatically include coverage for other adverse events like a flood or an earthquake. Do you really need earthquake insurance? Well, your insurance agent can tell you!
You may also be eligible for discounts on other insurance policies when you become a homeowner, like your car insurance. A good insurance agent can make sure you’re covered from all angles so that you can get on with the business of living your life.
House paint doesn’t last forever, whether inside or outside — but especially outside. To keep your house and fence looking nice and crisp, you’ll need to hire someone to touch it up every now and then. This is also a job you could potentially do yourself, but if you don’t have the ladders or the head for heights, it’s definitely worth contracting out, especially if your home has a funky Victorian paint job or some other specialized paint need.
A general contractor
As a homeowner, there are always going to be little things that need attention here and there, possibly as soon as you move in. A reliable general contractor is one that shows up on time and who can accurately quote a project so that you can budget for it. Reliable contractors can explain timelines, the cost of different materials, offer options, and get the job done on time (or within a reasonable window).
Like cleaning, landscaping can be a home maintenance activity that many homeowners prefer to tackle themselves. In many areas, you’ll find high-school students with a truck, lawnmower, and weed whacker who operate their own small business in the summertime to earn money, and that could be completely sufficient for your needs. If your lawn space includes a garden or requires shrub-trimming or more specialized work, then you might want to talk to a landscaper who has year-round experience dealing with lawns in the neighborhood.
Maybe you’re the type who really likes to clean — you find it relaxing or rewarding. Even so, you’ll still want to think about finding a cleaner who’s worth the cost in case you’re ever in a bind, such as if a health issue prevents you from cleaning and the mess is driving you bananas, or if you’ve got to leave town for an extended period of time and are thinking about turning your house into a vacation rental while you’re away.
We know what you’re thinking. “Wait, didn’t I already hire an inspector?” Yes, you did! But if you make any major changes to your home or disaster strikes and the house becomes uninhabitable for a time, then you might want to have an inspector on hand to help you figure out what needs to be done and whether it’s safe to live there. Remember, though: if they’ve inspected your home, they cannot provide any repair services for 12 months from the inspection—that’s where your contractor comes in handy!
A house sitter/pet sitter/babysitter
Your home is your castle, but everyone needs a break from the homestead every now and again, even if it’s just for a night out at a nice restaurant and trip to the theater. For longer trips like going to work or even heading on vacation, you might want to find a pet sitter or a house sitter. A pet sitter or dog-walker can come let your dog out for a walk or feed your animals if you won’t be home in time to do it yourself, keeping the fur babies happy.
A real estate agent
Of course, you aren’t ready to sell your house as soon as you move in — but keeping in touch with a local real estate agent is still a good plan. Your agent is often the first to know not only who’s buying and who’s selling, but can also keep you informed of your home’s current value. By knowing your home’s value you can figure out opportunities that would allow you to take advantage of your most valuable financial asset.
Plus, like your neighbors, a real estate agent can often help you fill in any gaps that are missing in your own personal homeowner network of helpers. At Freestyle Real Estate, your satisfaction is #1. Never hesitate to reach out!