new home owners

New homeowners: what not to waste your money on

If you’re upping sticks and moving to a new home, make sure you watch out for these hidden expenses…

Moving house is an exciting experience; but with solicitors, stamp duty and survey fees to pay – not to mention estate agent costs if you’re selling – it’s also expensive. So, you want make sure you keep non-essential expenses to a minimum.

Whether this is your first, second or third home; whether you’re up- or downsizing, it’s all too easy to let costs mount up – ones that you might not have prepared or budgeted for, and which, in turn, could have a knock-on effect on your finances.

Unnecessary renovations

Home improvements, such as loft conversions, extensions and knocking down walls, can often come with a huge price tag, so get settled in your home and evaluate your options first before planning any drastic changes. Take some time to look at cost-effective options – could you substitute some labour costs by carrying out parts of the work yourself? According to The Costs of Building a House*, average savings for a DIY builder undergoing around 25-30% of the work amounts to 20-25% of the total costs, when you compare it to using contractors.

You could also use this time to work out which improvements could deliver the best return if and when you come to sell in the future. Some renovations could actually decrease the value of your property – making two small bedrooms into one large one, or replacing a bath with a shower, for example – so take a look at our handy infographic to see which improvements deliver the best returns.

Lack of energy efficiency

With summer in full swing, assessing your new home’s energy efficiency probably isn’t on your list of priorities. But if heat is escaping from your home, it’s going to cost you more to keep it cosy and warm when the colder months arrive.

Take steps now to minimise heat loss in your new home and you’ll be saving cash from the first day you turn your radiators on. According to TheGreenAge*, 35% of heat is lost through un-insulated walls and gaps in an around windows and doors; 25% escapes through the roof; and 10% through doors. It could be useful to arrange an energy audit, where a professional will assess your home and outline opportunities to reduce energy usage and cut costs.

Filling space

If you’ve upsized or moved from a rented flat, you could find yourself with a lot more space than you’re used to – space that you can do whatever you want with, without having to consult the landlord! Your first instinct may be to go wild in the nearest home furnishing store; but don’t feel like you need to fill that space immediately.

Take some time to get used to the character of your home – it may not be so apparent to start with. Do this and you’ll be less likely to scavenge for receipts when you realise that armchair really doesn’t match the décor!

Not reviewing your home insurance

You know you need home insurance – many mortgage providers will only lend to you when they know you have a policy in place – question is, how much is the right cover for you? Surprisingly, one in five households in the UK could be underinsured because homeowners don’t know the value of their home contents. To avoid being underinsured (which can result in additional premiums and rejected claims), when you’re taking out a policy, make sure you answer questions about your home and its contents accurately and honestly.

If you have an existing home insurance policy, you could transfer the cover to your new address. This may cost, though, as your insurer will need to amend your policy so it’s in line with your new home.

However, bear in mind that transferring cover may not offer the most cost-effective option. Your current insurer might have given you a good deal on your first policy, but it may not be as competitive this time around. So, it really can pay to review your insurance. If you do choose to cancel your existing cover bear in mind there may be a cancellation charge to consider.

Home insurance from Zurich
Just some of the benefits with a Zurich home insurance policy include automatic buildings cover up to £1 million; automatic contents cover up to £100,000; guaranteed repairs following a claim; and cover for accidental damage. You can also tailor your policy by choosing from a range of optional extras, from home emergency and personal accident cover, to garden cover and legal expenses.


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