3 Tips for Transitioning from Renter to Home Owner

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3 Tips for Transitioning from Renter to Home Owner

Staff Writer · Jan 11, 2010

Transitioning from being a renter to a home owner is much like going from working for someone else to being your own boss. You don’t have a landlord to call anymore. You’re responsible for when the water pipes break, or if you have to go your neighbor to resolve a conflict. This can be a refreshing change for some, but a frightening proposition for others. Here are some tips to help you prepare for the big change:

1. Have an Emergency Repairs Fund

As a renter, you expect your landlord to pay for repairs. That’s often how lease agreements are drafted. As a home owner, you have to pay for those repairs, and often the day the work is completed. You shouldn’t rely on your credit cards to charge up fees to a handyman or to buy parts. You’ll be in a much better bargaining position if you have cash. Therefore, saving up for a small emergency fund is key to having money on hand for the inevitable: broken appliances and minor home repairs.

2. Grow a Garden

Being a home owner can get expensive. Besides home repairs, property taxes and other expenses can add up quickly. Doing what you can in other budget categories can help you pay for those expenses if you think outside the box. For example, grow a garden to help reduce (though slightly) your grocery budget. The seasonal fruits and vegetables you grow will be cheaper than going to the grocery store, even if you add up the costs to buy seeds, plants and fertilizer. Depending on the amount of land you own, you could decrease your grocery bill by 25% to 50%. Also, if you live in a rural area where the land is zoned for agricultural and residential use, you could keep small livestock, such as chickens and goats, which could also reduce your trips to the store for dairy, eggs and meat. This may be a huge transition, at least in one’s mindset, after renting for so long. However, the change will be monetarily worth it, not to mention the health benefits.

3. Introduce Yourself

It’s important to do what you can to meet your neighbors. Beyond it being polite, there may come a day when you may need their help. For example, if you travel a lot, they could keep a watch on your home for you, or harvest your vegetables when you’re away. Some neighbors may be avid do-it-yourselfers and can help you with minor repairs or even give you some tools. If your car gets stuck in the snow or mud, they could give you a much needed push or help jump-start your car battery. As a renter you may be used to “drive-by” hellos from your neighbors, but you need to change your approach when you become a home owner.

Becoming a home owner is a big step in a person’s life, and not everything can be anticipated beforehand. However, if you follow these tips you’ll be better prepared for the journey set before you.

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