When you buy a house, you spend lots of time on paperwork to get a mortgage. Lots of people are involved, all with a vested interest getting to the closing as that's when they get paid – the real estate agent, loan officer, title company and more. The roles leading up to the closing are well understood. Even better, the date gives everyone a deadline but who's there to help you with home management decisions and tasks after the closing?
You're excited when you get the keys to your new house. You've probably got all the utilities transferred to your name, mail forwarding and the basics that you dealt with as a renter. You know your priorities like high-speed Internet because my husband and I work from home.
Home Management is More Than Decorating
During the buying process, you probably started a list of decorating ideas – paint colors, window treatments and even some new furniture (we got new beds when we went from one to three bedrooms). But before you spend all your extra cash on decorating, you need to pull out your home inspection report.
As a homeowner you now have responsibility for home maintenance, repairs and renovations. The home inspection report you got is a great first step to getting to know your new home. Home management means doing pro-active home maintenance to minimize emergencies, and trust me, they will happen.
- It was scary when Denise shared on Facebook, that her boiler (do you have a boiler or a furnace) died in one of the coldest winter spells in New Hampshire.
- Having just told Kendall that there were water issues with her roof, I was horrified when her kitchen ceiling (first floor in three story house) fell down about ten days later.
Before your first home emergency, you should focus on assembling your team of key home professionals. You won't find one company or tight knit industry group that offers all the home products and services you need, so allow time in your schedule to get recommendations and interview prospective contractors. (Get our Homeowner Guide, Finding and Hiring the Right Contractor)
Home management also means putting together a list of renovations like a new refrigerator and roof, the bigger expense items you'll have to pay for over the next few years. It takes discipline and a budget to prepare for these replacements but you'll be glad you did. For example, by knowing where to buy a new appliance and even better, buying it during a holiday sale, can save up to forty percent. (Read: 5 tips for Buying a Refrigerator)
Home Management Done Right Saves Time & Money
You learn a lot faster when you're managing hundreds of homes, which is one way to look at my role when I owned a handyman business for 8 years (more than 2,000 homeowners). I spoke with many women and often, conversations started with “… I'm not sure what the problem is, or I don't know how to explain what's wrong”. I told them don't worry, let's talk about what's happening and we'll figure it out together“.
We had wonderful conversations and were always able to drill down to find solutions to their problems, and I became a home management expert in the process.
- What problem(s) they were seeing at home.
- Discovering the cause of each problem, for example a gate latch that wasn't working due to a missing concrete column, causing it to sink into the ground.
- What solutions were available to solve the problem, as there are multiple ways to solve the problem, based on the time required, choice of materials and cost.
- How to pick the best solution for you, your house and your budget.
My goal was to help these women by sending my technicians out to solve their problems. After we talked through the problems and they understood how I could make the necessary repairs, we would schedule the work to be done in the next few days.
The funny part was, after we got off the phone, I would panic … yes, you heard me right.
I'd get really nervous that the woman would try to share our conversation with their husband that night, and they'd stumble (some of this stuff isn't easy to understand) … and the work we'd scheduled would get canceled. So I wrote emails summarizing our discussion and after a few months, found I was sending the same emails because many homeowners have similar problems.
And those emails, the first fifty-five articles, became the foundation for this website.
There's no way I can talk to hundreds of women homeowners personally. I love teaching through my articles and the Savvy Homeowner Club compliments our library of more than 1,000 articles. As a member you can ask questions and get answers from myself and other home professionals, people who aren't trying to sell you a product or service. So what are your waiting for?