Like every subject matter chosen for these articles, this is close to home...literally. My fiance and I recently purchased a house and although it was certainly "move in ready" there are always somethings that you need to do/purchase once you're in the home. As this is a first house for both of us that list of purchases is probably longer than some of you seasoned home buyers out there. So as not to either drain our funds or to be overwhelmed we've prioritized these projects and purchases. Tha'ts kind of a no brainer on the exterior, but exactly where you put items on that list can be difficult...fortunately there have been no arguments in our house, but if this is an area of conflict or just indecision perhaps these tips can help.
1. Decide what is a true necessity. Either becuase of everyday/weekly use of becuase of security. Our home like yours obviously came with locks on the doors. Changing those is a top priority since you don't know who all in the previous owner's life had/has keys to their home. I don't want to make the assumption that you can't trust those acquaintances, but definitely better safe than sorry. This is an example of necessity.
Our home also came with some draperies that IMHO are hideous and I would love to replace them immediately, but the money it takes to do that is better spent elseware, since they are not adding to security of the home. They are merely an eyesore.
2. Decide on immediate necessities...these things can't wait! The locks also fall into this catagory as do appliances that work(if your home doesn't come with them), fixing problems with plumbing, electrical ect.(that were not covered in your purchase contract after the inspection). If you don't have appliances that work or come with the house and are under a budget as most of us after purchasing don't automatically go for the top designer brand. Check websites like http://www.consumersearch.com/ which look at reviews from all different sites including Consumer Report and give product reviews and recommendations and also links for recalls and problems with appliances as well. You can find appliances that don't cost a small fortune and will work beautifully until you can really afford the upgrade.
Look for scratch and dent as well or last year's models. These are often brand new items that are in mint condition except for a scratch or two or are being discontinued to make way for the newer model. We found top of the line washer and dryer for about 40% discount becuase it had been returned unused and had a couple of minor scratches.
3. Make a list of your non-immediate necessites and wants and decide together a plan and time for each one. This is also where your budget comes into play. Write down everything you want to do to improve your home and maximize it's potential. The project that is the most necessary is the one that has the most use associated with it...like a kitchen or bath upgrade or replacing older carpet with hardwood, tile, or cork. Painting and new furnishings are also on this list. Think about which furniture is most important to your daily living and start your purchasing and saving there. Fancier and less used pieces can wait until the wallet is off of life support!
There are many ways to go about prioritizing, but this is a starting point. The best is to give your spouse, roommate or partner's opinions and concern the same amount of time and respect as you would want, and deserve. That way you minimize your conflict and maximize your new home enjoyment!