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13 Great Tips for New Homeowners and First-Time Home Buyers

New homeowners take heart. Experienced DIYers share their tips about what to door not doafter moving in.

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Scout the neighborhoodFamily Handyman

Scout the neighborhood

We went on three separate occasions (Saturday, Sunday and Monday) at different times of the day. We asked neighbors about the neighborhood, schools, etc. It gave us a real indication of what the neighbors and neighborhood were like. We bought the house and love the neighborhood?no regrets.
?Jon Rump

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Tackle one project at a timeFamily Handyman

Tackle one project at a time

When we first bought our old house, I tore right into a porch and kitchen remodel and started on a fence. Before I knew it, I had the whole house AND yard torn up. Ultimately it all came together, but there was a lot of added stress with everything going on at once. Kirk PenningsHome improvement causing stress in your marriage? Learn how to DIY without divorce here.

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Watch this video to learn more things you should do before you move:

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Make a Homeowner's JournalFamily Handyman

Make a Homeowner's Journal

Buy a ring binder and keep insurance papers, repair receipts and all other paperwork pertaining to the house in it. Storing all your house information in one handy place makes life easier for the homeowner and can be a sales 'plus' when selling the house later. reader Debora EmmertPaying too much for your insurance? Learn how to save money on insurance here.

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Get to know your house before making big changesFamily Handyman

Get to know your house before making big changes

Live in your home for 12 to 18 months before undertaking any major renovations such as additions or knocking down walls. What you initially think you want may change after you've lived there for a while. Fran Carpentier

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Check the furnace filterFamily Handyman

Check the furnace filter

This can give you some insight into whether the previous owner took care of regular maintenance. Michael Guarraia

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Don't be afraid to DIYFamily Handyman

Don't be afraid to DIY

Ninety percent of a DIY project is having the guts to try. Worst caseyou mess up and then bring in the professional. Best caseyou save money, learn something new and feel a great sense of accomplishment. Fran Skwira

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Finish projects ... NowFamily Handyman

Finish projects ... Now

Don't learn to live with incomplete projects. If you do, the last couple of pieces of trim can linger for years! Jack Bauer

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Budget for troubleFamily Handyman

Budget for trouble

We bought a house with an old furnace, and we knew it was going to go. Sure enough, the first winter did it in. But since we were prepared, it was just an expense, not a financial shock. Pat Minick

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Verify everythingFamily Handyman

Verify everything

Insist on full written disclosure from the seller about remodeling, repairs, old damage, leaks, mold, etc. Check with the city or county, and getin writingthe property's permit history, zoning, prior uses, homeowners' association restrictions and anything else you can find out. Forget 'location, location, location.' I say, 'Verify, verify, verify!' Paul Bianchina

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Get a Home WarrantyFamily Handyman

Get a Home Warranty

We had the seller throw in a home warranty. This saved us from a faulty dishwasher and got us a brand new furnace. Larry Gusman

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Check crime statsFamily Handyman

Check crime stats

Before buying, get a report of police calls in the neighborhood. A bargain price may be due to the crime rate in the area. Mike Collins

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Ask neighbors about pros they trustFamily Handyman

Ask neighbors about pros they trust

If you're looking for plumbers, electricians or other pros, ask your neighbors. You tend to get decent advice if you get it from people who live near you. Bob Bessette

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Offer to buy the tools tooFamily Handyman

Offer to buy the tools too

If you buy from a couple that's downsizing, you might get a great deal if you purchase their garden tools, tractors, snow blowers and tools in general. Alena Horsky-Gust