You've done it! You're the proud and happy owner of your very first home (or second home) in Berks County!

Now you can do all the things you've dreamed of doing to a home. You can install that huge patio, do some fancy landscaping - the sky is the limit. But this is also the time when you're most likely going to make some costly mistakes.

This is especially true in your first year, when your happiness, eagerness (and sometimes ignorance) might convince you to make one of these mistakes:

Going With the Lowest Bid

Things break. So, what do you do when you need major repairs?

The smart thing to do is to get several contractor bids. But going with the cheapest bid is not always smart.

For example, one couple went with a contractor who bid half of what a previous contractor they had used in the past charged. He promised to complete the work in less time as well. The result? A year later, their house was still a construction zone.

What to do:

Make sure that ll the bids have the same scope of work. Cheaper bids may not include all the actual costs and project details. The less expensive contractor may also lack the experience needed to determine any additional steps and costs.

Submitting Small Insurance Claims

You may think it's a good idea to use your insurance for all claims. But if you file too many claims too close to each other, it can increase your premium. If a claim is less than your deductible, it's better to pay out of pocket and save your insurance for catastrophic issues.

An even better solution is to maintain your home so that small claims don't come up in the first place.

What to do:

Before you pick up a sledgehammer, check with an agent or appraiser, who usually are happy to share their knowledge about how much money an improvement will eventually deliver.

Throwing Away Receipts and Paperwork

Don't throw away receipts for items you replace in your home. Small improvements can actually boost the price of you home when you decide to sell it. And saving warranty information can save hundreds down the road.

What to do: Stow paperwork like receipts, contracts, and manuals in a three-ring binder with clear plastic sleeves or photograph your documents and upload them to cloud storage.

Remodeling Without Doing the Research

No one wants to be a Debbie Downer, but there’s a benefit to knowing the worst-case scenario. One homeowner tells the time he hired roofers to remove box gutters from his 1880s home. Little did he know, more often than not aged box gutters come with more extensive rot damage, which his roofers weren’t qualified to handle.

Had he researched the problem, he could have saved money and anxiety by hiring a specialist from the start, he says.

What to do:

Before you begin a project, do thorough research. Ask detailed questions of contractors so you can get your timing, budget, and expectations in line.

The bottom line when it comes to remodeling your new home is to take time and use common sense. You can relax. This is going to be your home, hopefully for years to come. Take the time you need to make it truly yours.

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