Buying a first home until recently came with some quite sizeable savings compared to the purchase of subsequent homes, zero stamp duty on homes of less than £250k for one and there are still some savings for first time buyers to make against the purchase of new builds.
However, there are many things the first time buyer has to purchase that the second time buyer does not. These include things like beds, dining tables and sofas etc. So with all this extra expense, what about the chore of decorating your first home? Obviously, people are going to need a bed and mattress and some basic furniture more than freshly painted skirting boards but there is a huge advantage to being able to paint and decorate an empty house rather than one that’s full of cherished items and brand spanking new furniture. This article assumes that first time buyers have a limited budget and need to prioritise purchases, so the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge should probably look elsewhere.
Pull together, not apart...
The first thing to do is create a list of items that are an absolute necessity. Things like bed, mattress, curtains, plates and cutlery etc. Make sure you do this together with your partner if you are buying a new home with someone else. This is a good idea because often one person takes the lead with the boring aspects of home purchases, things like weather proofing and securing the property.
Unless both of you share this critical information the budget could be blown on a kettle instead of a mortice lock. On the ‘necessity list’, note down what can be borrowed until the January sales or found in the course of time over eBay and what are you insistent must be bought 'asap' and new? If your budget is really tight it’s worth borrowing items so you can save up and wait to pounce when big ticket items drop in the sales or pop up on the internet at rock bottom prices. Above all, don't rush to purchase things just for the short term buzz of your moving in party looking its best.
Once you’ve ascertained your available budget for furniture and soft furnishings you’ll have a good idea of how much is available for decorations. As mentioned above, it’s a huge bonus to be able to decorate an empty property, especially if you have pets and they won't be running around the place. It’s also a bonus to be decorating a place where the furniture has yet to be set up and can be easily covered by sheets. This is particularly true when it comes to working on the ceiling whether it’s plastering or painting it. With regard to the budget you will need to prioritise each room by its expected usage, after all there’s no point fretting over the net curtains and ghastly pink paint of the spare room if it’s only going to be used for storage for the next six months.
'Why' before you buy
Spending time online looking at different styles of interior design is a wise way of seeing what will work in your own home. So many of the fashionable looks and styles seen on home decor shows on TV can be bought at a fraction of the price by shopping around.
Shopping around without the credit card is a good way to avoid costly impulse purchases that will derail the project in one swoop. Shopping around with a conservative friend is another way. Someone who can be trusted to ask why you are buying something and if you really need a shiny new 'instant boil' kettle when you don't have any boring old pillows!
Images courtesy of sxc.hu