Posted in: First time homebuyer tips, Homeowner tips

How to prep for the holidays as a first-time homeowner

Prepare for holidays as first-time homeowner

Key insights:

  • Before holiday guests arrive, make sure that your main appliances, fixtures and plumbing are in working order.
  • Plan in advance to secure enough seating for everyone who will attend your holiday gathering. Borrowing or buying an inexpensive fold-up table is just fine for first-timers.
  • Traveling this year? Lock down your house and alert a trusted neighbor or friend to watch it on your behalf.

Around the holidays, the air is filled with excitement — especially for those who are celebrating the season for the first time in their new homes. Whether you're preparing to host a full house of relatives or to leave town for an extended period of time, follow these tips to help navigate your first holiday season as a homeowner.

Entertain holiday guests in your new home

Repair and maintain

The last thing you want on your hands is a plumbing disaster as your guests arrive. So, be sure to plan any home repairs and winter maintenance before the holidays.

You’ll want to check all of your appliances and fixtures to make sure nothing is leaking or on the verge of breaking, including:

  • Garbage disposal
  • Dishwasher
  • Oven
  • Furnace
  • Fireplace
  • Hot water heater
  • Washing machine

Deep clean

Three weeks before your celebration, start deep-cleaning your home in sections. In addition to your typical cleaning routine, here are some areas to focus on:

  • Clean out and organize your refrigerator.
  • Do a load of laundry with throw blankets and pillow covers.
  • Dust, including ceiling fans and light fixtures.
  • Sanitize items such as remotes, switches and handles.
  • Wipe down the inside of drawers in your kitchen and bathrooms.
  • Wash windows, baseboards, cabinets and doors.

As a rule of thumb, start decluttering the rooms that have the least traffic first. Then, save cleaning in high-traffic areas (like the kitchen and main bathroom) for the days leading up to the big day so they’re still tidy by the time your guests arrive.

Consider guest accommodations

When expecting guests, you may need to shuffle some items around to accommodate them and their things. Here are some ways to transform your space to host guests in your home fast:

  • If a guest bedroom is available, dust it off for guests to use.
  • Rearrange your office with an extra mattress, fresh linens and cozy accents.
  • Opt for an air mattress setup over a sofa sleeping assignment. Luxe air mattresses are now affordable and expected.
  • Set out toiletries in the bathroom provided for guests.
  • Stock up on extra coffee, toilet paper and other essentials prior to your guests’ arrival.

If you’re a homeowner with pets, think about how you’ll coordinate your guests and your furry friends. It may help to temporarily keep pets in a designated area (like a mudroom or blocked-off living room) when guests are around to minimize commotion. Keep all holiday treats and decorations out of your dog or cat’s reach, and reward your pet for good behavior with their own holiday gift.

Check the kitchen

Do you have enough pots, pans, dishware and table space to host your holiday meal? If not, don't panic – borrow extra kitchen items or invest in an inexpensive set that you can take out once a year when guests are around.

As for tables and chairs, it's perfectly acceptable to buy a fold-out table. Chic tablecloths can hide plastic pop-up tables, and no one will be the wiser. Or, ask a family member or friend if they have any spare dining supplies to lend. Just make sure to buy or borrow in advance – you're not the only one lacking table space at this time of year!

Leaving town? Prep your home accordingly

Stop shopping

Stop shopping — at least for food. Make sure to eat up your produce, fresh meats and bread in the week leading up to your departure. Remember to clear out any remaining perishable items from your cupboards and fridge the night before your trash collector comes — and freeze any salvageable foods — so you don't come home to a stinky situation.

Secure your stuff

Burglaries are more common this time of year, especially in homes where the owners are away. If you’re planning to leave town, be sure to prep and safeguard your home in advance.

First, program the lights in your home to automatically turn on and off while you’re away. Whether using a traditional circuit timer or a smart-home feature, lighting will help make it seem like you’re still home.

Next, schedule a hold on your mail to ensure that letters don’t pile up. Not only will this keep your mail secure for you to pick up upon return, but also it will keep up the appearance that your home is occupied. Last, ask a trusted neighbor to pick up packages from your front steps each day. Otherwise, boxes idling on your porch may signify to others that you’re not home.

Hire a snow service company

Keep in mind some cities, like Minneapolis, require you to shovel your sidewalks within 24 hours of snowfall. To stay in compliance (and ensure burglars don't get tipped off that no one is home), hire a snow shovel company to take care of your driveway and sidewalks while you’re away. Teenage neighbors may also be a good resource if you can't book a service.

Celebrate the season as a first-time homeowner

Now that everything is in proper working order and well organized for guests, there’s one item left to check off your to-do list. Garnish your home with a bit of holiday spirit! Whether filling your home with glowing seasonal lights or the inviting smell of freshly baked gingerbread cookies, these festive touches are bound to make the holidays even merrier.

Now, get ready to bask in the magic of your new home with your loved ones. If you’re in the market for a new house this holiday season or in the New Year, reach out to Edina Realty or your agent to kickstart your home search today. Happy Holidays!

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