After the move: a guide to caring for your first home

As someone who has been through the process, I know just how frustrating and scary buying a first home can be. It’s a steep learning curve, for sure. And while there are many things that are often talked about in this process – such as the importance of location and a solid house foundation – there are some less talked about aspects of settling into a first home that are well worth knowing about. Here is Canstar’s guide to what to keep under your hat for after you have bought your first home. 

If you’re looking for some pointers on what to look for in a first home, how to get over losing out on properties and how to save for a first home, you can check out my outpourings in my previous emotional, but hopefully helpful, guides, below:

In this guide, however, I’ll take you through a few things that are helpful to be aware of after you’ve settled into the first home and have finally unpacked all those boxes of belongings.

Find the name of reasonably priced and reliable plumber

Depending on what industry you work in, you may have just laughed out loud at the thought of a “reasonably priced plumber”. It’s true, the cost of fixing leaky pipes in your home, or adding in spouting, can feel like an expensive and unglamorous use of money. But, after working so hard to buy your home, protecting that asset is really important. So, if you notice leaking in your bathroom and/or kitchen, you’ll want to get onto that pretty quickly. To make life easier, ask around and do some research on plumbers that offer a reliable and reasonably priced service. That way, if a plumbing disaster does crop up, you don’t go into panic mode and book in a plumber who may charge an arm and a leg, and with no assurance the job will come up to scratch.

Set up utilities or review contracts and providers

This probably won’t feel as fun as picking out furnishings and deciding how to arrange the room. But how are you even going to see your lovely first home if you haven’t got the electricity working to turn on the lights? Of course, you’ll want to have sorted out utilities, such as electricity, before the move-in date, but that doesn’t mean you should never think about those contracts again. Once you’ve given yourself some time to breathe and recover from the house-buying process, have a think about whether your electricity and broadband providers suit your needs. We know that there is a lot of choice out there – making it easy to spin into decision paralysis – that’s why we survey New Zealanders to find out their level of satisfaction with providers in New Zealand. You’ll find these customer satisfaction reviews on Canstar Blue, but we’ll link them below, to make it easier:

Compare broadband providers

Compare electricity providers

Learn how to do some basic repairs yourself

So, I have an, ummm, friend, who was trying to move a table outside to seat extended family for Christmas and may have backed said table into a wall, leaving a nice hole. You could do what my friend did and cook her partner a steak dinner and strategically position a vase or, you could upskill yourself with some basic trade videos. DIY stores, such as the winner of Canstar Blue’s customer satisfaction awards, Mitre 10, have a stack of how-to videos that can help you with relatively simple tasks, such as filling in a hole in a wall. Once you learn some basics, you can save time on cooking “I’m sorry dinners” and stop throwing away money on tradespeople for tasks that you can easily do yourself.

How to patch a hole in the wall, with Mitre 10

Review your home loan

Same deal as with your utilities, these contracts work in your favour when you don’t take a “set and forget” approach. For example, your needs might change down the track and you decide a floating account, where you can withdraw funds when required for renovations, may work better than fixing your whole home loan. Or, you might get a new job that includes bonuses and want to be able to throw that into paying off your mortgage without penalty. This is why Canstar recommends regularly reviewing your home loan, to check that it still suits your needs. Also, you may be able to negotiate a better rate, so it pays to do your homework to find out what rates home loan providers are offering. Just a word of caution, if you have a fixed home loan, make sure you consider any possible fees associated with breaking a home loan contract before you jump ship. To help you out with choosing a home loan, Canstar researches, rates and reviews home loan providers and products. Use our free comparison tools to make a shortlist of providers to approach.

Compare home loans with Canstar

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