Becoming a first-time homeowner is a very exciting process that many celebrate as a landmark in their lives. While it is easy to get caught up in the moment and overlook certain details, it is very important to be sure that you are making rational choices that will have a positive impact on your journey to becoming a homeowner. Seattle Times offers several, practical steps that can make this significant life event a successful endeavor.

The first tip provided by the article is to save for emergencies. Oftentimes this can be overlooked, as landlords carry the burden of replacing a broken furnace or leaky faucet when you are renting. As a homeowner, you are now responsible to attend to any home repairs needed. It is suggested to save enough to pay for your cost of living for a few months so that you can pay your bills (and mortgage) in case you need emergency repairs or suffer a job loss.

Next, you should take a deeper look into your homeowners insurance. You may think that each policy is relatively similar, but the reality is that there are many options and it is important to have a policy that is tailored to you. For example, if you own a valuable watch collection you should make sure that it would be replaced in case of a natural disaster.

When you move from renting to buying you also may encounter more bills than before. Many apartment buildings include the cost of water and garbage services in your rent, but as a homeowner you will be the sole entity responsible for any services you require. One way to cut down on the total cost of utility bills is to have an energy-efficiency audit. This is an affordable way to make sure that the heating and cooling systems in your house are in tip top shape. After an audit is completed any existing problems will be identified and can be easily taken care of instead of having to play a guessing game to fix issues later on.

If you are purchasing a home that has older fixtures and appliances, you may want to consider a home warranty. These agreements can make purchasing new appliances affordable. However, it is important to read the fine print of these agreements, just like home insurance policies, to make sure that the plan is going to suit your future needs and not a source of unnecessary spending.

Natural disasters and emergencies are things that are bound to happen and it is best to be prepared for the worst possible scenario. Seattle Times suggests investing in a fireproof safe to store copies of important documents, like personal identification, credit-card information and a list or photos of your home inventory, including big ticket items that you would want insurance to reimburse you for.

The final step? Planning ahead to make sure that your financial future is filled with success! One of the biggest factors that can help you succeed is to plan ahead so that you are building home equity as efficiently as you can. This can be done simply by paying a little extra on your mortgage each month or switching to bi-monthly payments to accrue equity faster.

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