Once you have gotten the keys to your first home, the fun begins.  It is important to realize that the steps you have taken leading to the day of close will make a significant impact on your budget.  Keep in mind that once you make it through the closing process, their are additional settling costs that can creep up for the first-time home buyer.  Some of these costs can be mitigated prior to close.  For example, make sure to get a home inspection done and have any items flagged addressed by the seller.  A home-warranty is another item that can help offset the cost of any repairs to major items to your home in the first year.  These steps will help to offset some additional expenses.

Expenses that you may encounter once you move in may include painting, cleaning, windows, window treatments, carpets and fixtures.  When you are evaluating what needs to be done, identify what is cosmetic and what needs to be addressed.  This will help you prioritize your budget.  When you are completing this list, identify the work that you can or are willing to do yourself and what you have to hire out.  This is important because it will impact your budget significantly.  Once you have done this, get estimates and price out the projects.  You may be very surprised at your findings.  For example, window treatments can be very expensive.  Therefore, you want to think about your needs versus wants and the impact on your budget.

Owning your first home is a wonderful experience full of excitement.  Taking extra steps to prepare and evaluating your options will help you maximize your budget.