home improvement checklist

New Homeowner? Tips for Your First Year

So you’ve bought your first home in the Greater Philadelphia Area! Congratulations! Homeownership is a dream fulfilled for many people, but with it comes a lot of upkeep. You may be surprised to discover that the to-do list for your home exceeds what the home inspector told you. But don’t panic. Here are a few suggestions to help you tackle your to-do list comfortably. 

Create a home journal

In this digital age, a lot of people forget about the simplicity and benefits of a multi-pocket 3-ring binder. In this binder, you can journal about things you see that the house needs and jot down your dreams. You can keep your repair receipts, renovation bids, and pictures of home designs you like. You can even keep your before and after pictures. A home journal will also be very helpful when you’re ready to sell because you’ll be able to easily calculate the value of your upgrades. 

Tackle the important issues first

In your first weeks in the house, do a thorough check of the “bones” of the house: plumbing, electric, heating, attic, roof, foundation, windows, and doors. If you don’t know too much about any of these subjects, have a professional in to check them. Yes, they were probably checked before settlement, but another set of eyes always helps, especially for peace of mind. 

If you see any problems, correct them right away. Small problems can grow into very big problems later. A short list of things to look for:

  • Leaks in faucets, toilets, and tubs
  • Old thermostats causing different parts of the house to be warmer or colder than others
  • Faulty electric switches or old electric wiring
  • Dirty ductwork and chimney
  • Leaks or discoloration in the roof or inside of the attic after a storm
  • Leaks or discoloration in the basement after a storm
  • Old furnace
  • Windows or doors that have broken locks, cracks, rotting trim, or allowing a breeze to blow in on a windy day 

Make a plan

Once you’ve gotten to know your house, plan what work needs to be done. If you suspect any issues with utilities, roofing, windows, etc., contact an expert for a better evaluation. Don’t wait on this step. Fix the issue before bigger problems arise. At M&K Renovations, we offer a free visit to evaluate your situation and provide an estimate. 

After any key issues are corrected, you can begin thinking about renovations and aesthetic projects. Take some time to live with your house to determine what your family’s needs are and what changes have to be made. Let the whole family brainstorm together on dream projects! A romper room for little kids or a music room for your budding musician? A home office, a soaking tub, maybe an entertainment room in the basement? How about a multi-level wrap-around deck? Dream big! It’s free to dream. Then think about what could really work and when each project should be tackled. 

Start – and finish – one project at a time

If you’re going to do some of the work yourself, do one thing at a time. If you tear out the flooring in the bathroom at the same time that you’re painting the living room and putting in new landscaping, your house will be in disarray much longer than necessary, and it’s more likely that something will be left undone. That tiling behind the toilet that you were going to get to after you finished painting may remain that way for 10 years if you let another project pull you away. 

If you’re having work done by professionals, it’s sometimes wise to have two projects that are adjacent to each other completed simultaneously – for instance, remodeling the kitchen and downstairs bathroom at the same time. This is also cost-saving since you’re having the crew out to your house once to complete two projects. You can save the upstairs master bath redo for another time, once the downstairs is finished. 

Start saving

You may have to save up for some of your bigger dreams, but you should also save for possible home emergencies. If a big storm knocks down a tree in your yard, which is not uncommon in Southeast PA, and you have a home savings account to cover emergencies, you won’t feel the pinch as badly. 

Enjoy your new home! And if you have any repairs to do or dream renovations to begin, call us at (610) 890-9170. Family-owned and operated, we service Philadelphia and surrounding areas from our location on the Main Line and are fully insured and licensed for the state of Pennsylvania. 

Whatever your dreams, whatever your needs, at M&K Renovations, our expert designers and craftsmen collaborate to make them come true – on time, on budget, and hassle-free.


Renovating the Philadelphia Area for Over 16 years