5 Things You Should Avoid Buying for Your New Home, According to Real Estate Agents

published Jun 19, 2019
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When you buy a new home, it’s tempting to fill it with brand-new everything. But before you get carried away, realize that some purchases are unnecessary. (Also, if you make these big purchases before you close, it might cost you your home!) You’ll want to make sure you have cash on hand to cover your mortgage payment for at least three months, plus enough savings for any unexpected expenses. If you blow your whole paycheck on appliances or decor, you may come up short when something inevitably breaks or needs to be replaced.

But what, exactly, can you take off of your to-buy list? I spoke with real estate experts to see what purchases first-time homebuyers often regret after move-in day. Here, the five things you should either wait to buy or skip completely.

1. New dishes and cooking supplies

Warning: The home-buying process may cause short-term delusions of thinking you’ll suddenly turn into a domestic whiz. A few weeks (and delicious meals) after move-in, it’s likely you’ll end up ordering take-out just as often as you did when you rented.

“When my wife and I moved into our apartment, we bought so many cooking supplies, but we don’t cook,” says Luke Joyce, an real estate agent with REAL New York. “Part of living in New York City is always being out and about, so it’s hard to find time to cook.”

Be honest—not aspirational—about your lifestyle. Unless you upgraded to a chef’s kitchen to support your time-tested hobby, you probably don’t need a new set of pots and every last high-tech kitchen gadget. Save your cash.

2.  Appliances you don’t have room for

Be realistic about your space. If you live in a small condo, you probably don’t have space for an industrial-sized vacuum or door-length ironing board. Instead, opt for a more compact models and get creative with using your space.

For example, Nathaniel Neman of REAL New York recommends skipping the ironing board altogether and instead purchasing a portable ironing mat to use on top of a kitchen counter or dresser top.

3. Power tools

All those hours of HGTV probably have you revving up for some DIY projects, and you might think you’ll need to buy a set of power tools. But save your money, says Gerard Splendor of Warburg Realty in New York City. Power tools are very expensive, and for the frequency most homeowners use them, it’s often not cost-efficient to shell out for them.

Instead, rent tools from a store like Home Depot or check if your community or local library has a tool lending library. If you just need to mount some shelves and hang picture frames après-move-in, it might make sense to hire an hourly professional on a service like Taskrabbit, Thumbtack, or Handy.

4. Custom window treatments

Before you invest in pricey custom window coverings, take stock of your new home. Splendore says you’ll want to observe light and heat patterns in your home during different seasons, and then figure out what treatments will work best.

Also remember: Decorating your home is a marathon, not a race. It’s likely your home decor will go through different iterations as you nest, so waiting on window treatments will allow you choose ones that better fit your home’s long-term style.

Of course, you will need to cover your windows from nosy neighbors. So just throw up some fun, inexpensive curtains and tension rods until you’re more settled.

5. Hardwired light fixtures

Builder-grade boob lights are definitely eyesores, but I promise you can make do with them for the first year or so of homeownership. Splendore agrees and recommends waiting to spend money on fixtures and installation. For the meantime, switch out the bulbs or install dimmers.

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