Buying a house is a major milestone. Once you’ve unpacked and settled in, take some time to relax in your new space. New homeowners often find that after this initial, well-deserved rest, they’re excited to make some changes and take on some home improvement projects. From money-saving upgrades to landscaping ideas, here are five simple projects for new homeowners.
Install Ceiling Fans
Whether you move during the summer or winter, ceiling fans are a worthwhile investment for any home owner. Besides simply keeping you cool, ceiling fans circulate the air in your house which can save you money on your air conditioning bill. “Because of the air circulation effect, you can get away with keeping your thermostat a degree or two higher in summer and a degree or two lower in winter, netting a rather large savings,” according to Trent Hamm from The Simple Dollar. Even if you move in during the winter, install your ceiling fans right away so you won’t have to scramble once the weather heats up.
If you already have a light fixture in place, you’ll have to remove it before you can install your fan. If you’re pretty handy, follow these steps, otherwise call a contractor. Although it will be an initial investment, your fans will keep you cool and comfortable and save you money in the long run.
Buy Energy-Efficient Appliances
If you need new appliances or want to replace a pre-installed refrigerator or washer/dryer, consider buying energy-efficient appliances. Energy Star appliances help you save on your yearly utility bills. The average U.S. household spends $5,550/year on energy, according to the Alliance to Save Energy. You can save up to 30 percent on electricity bills with Energy Star appliances and an additional 30 to 80 percent if you replace your lightbulbs with energy-efficient models.
It can be costly to replace all of your appliances and light bulbs at once so focus on your most used items and upgrade those items first.
Invest in Home Security
You’re finally in your new house, and while you’re probably decorating and rearranging things to make it feel more like home, don’t forget to protect your investment. Even if you moved into a safe neighborhood consider this: according to FBI data, a burglary occurs approximately every 18 seconds in the U.S.
Luckily, there are several simple ways to boost your home security. You can upgrade your locks from the standard lock to a mortise lock, a double-cylinder deadbolt or even a digital lock. “Only about one in eight burglars reported picking locks or using a key they had previously acquired to gain entry,” according to security experts from Phoenix Lockmaster. “Simply having an intimidating lock can keep some potential burglars from trying to enter your home.”
You can also get a wireless home security system. Unlike the standalone systems, you can choose the components you need and have them up and running in minutes without worrying about start-up fees or installation costs. Another simple strategy is to put your lights and electronics on timers. If you set your lights to go on and off at random intervals, you create the illusion that someone is home and throw off a burglar who would prefer to hit an empty house.
Paint and Wall Decor
Whether you fell in love with your house or bought it as a fixer upper, it’s time to make it your own. You can re-paint, hang your own wallpaper, change your layout, or add some decor and accents to change the look and feel. All you need for these projects are some basic tools and a free weekend.
You can hire painters, but if you feel ambitious, why not go the DIY route? Invest in some decent brushes and rollers and find paint with a primer in it to save you time. According to Enemy of Debt, you can save over $300 if you paint yourself instead of hiring contractors.
Boost Your Curb Appeal
Outdoor improvements will make your house feel like a home, and like these other projects, can increase your resale value. Give your front yard some attention and plant colorful flowers, use flagstone to make a welcoming walkway, or build a rock garden. These are all simple, beginner-friendly projects that can make a big difference.
Now, what can you do to add some life to your backyard? Your backyard is one of the most versatile parts of your house. You can keep it simple and plant some colorful flowers and trees or create an outdoor sanctuary or zen garden.
If you want to entertain guests and hang out in your backyard, look into building a deck or patio. You can actually do this yourself, but it will require some planning, materials, tools and know how. Even if you hire a contractor, the initial cost will be worth the investment when you can host get togethers in your backyard.
Moving into a new home is exciting but it can be overwhelming. The good news is you don’t have to do everything all at once and you can prioritize the improvements and renovations you want to do first. Figure out what’s most important to you and start there. Whether you hire professionals or go the diy route enjoy the process of fixing up your home.
Maile Timon is a full-time blogger and content editor. She writes on health and fitness, lifestyle and family, real estate, education, business and more. When she’s not writing, Maile enjoys hiking in San Diego, CA.