Entertaining

First-Time Homeowner’s Guide

Written by
Parachute Team
PHOTOGRAPHS BY
Jessica Schramm for Parachute

Buying your first home is one of the most exciting things you will ever do. Unfortunately, moving may also be one of the most stressful things, too. Loss of sleep, headaches, exhaustion, irritability, weakened immune system – they’re all commonly experienced, even if you’re moving into your dream house. Summer is the biggest moving season of the year, so we asked our team to share their tips on orchestrating a pitch perfect move – from planning to packing and their most candid advice.

On preparing for the move:

  • "Make time to get rid of unnecessary clutter." –David Heikka, Sr. Director of Retail
  • "My fiancé and I were moving in together for the first time so there were a lot of discussions about who was bringing what in terms of furniture, kitchen items, etc. Once the big stuff was settled it was a lot of cleaning out, putting items up for sale on Chairish, scheduling donation pick ups, etc. Also getting utilities set up at the new address and mail forwarded. The USPS has a great system that helps you get a lot of that done online which is helpful." –Amy Hoban, Chief Creative Officer
  • "Doing an audit of everything I owned and making sure that it made sense for the new space. I sold and donated everything that didn’t need to make the move."–Luke Droulez, Chief Marketing Officer

On what the week (or day) before move-in looked like:

  • "The week before was hectic – lots of packing. Days leading up to and day of was less stressful because we had movers. More excitement than anything."–David H.
  • "Not going to lie, it was stressful. We were traveling the weekend prior to the move, which looking back may have been too much." –Mason Liffmann, Sr. Communications Manager

Source: Wesley Taylor/Parachute

On your first purchase for the new house:

  • "A bed for the guest bedroom. My parents came the same week we moved in. Which sounds like a nightmare but it was amazing. They helped unpack, organize, gardened and then slept on the floor on a mattress the first night. I've gotten better at hosting." –Lindsey McMahon, Sr. Copywriter
  • "Bundles were key. They included everything we needed and may have over looked: for the bed, bathroom and even new pillows!"–David H.
  • "New pillows and sheets were a must. It set the tone for creating our new home." –Mason L.

Source: Wesley Taylor/Parachute

On what to unpack first:

  • "Kitchen and the kid's bedroom. I want the kids to see their rooms first as well as be able to get a snack or bite to eat in the kitchen. I think making them feel at home right away is most important." -Hilary Sherman, Creative Director
  • "Bed. Sofa. All the furniture. We’re both interior designers so we have reputations to maintain!" -David H.
  • "Towels and sheets – trust me!" –Liz Allen, Sourcing Manager

On designing your dream home:

  • “I did lots of scrolling on Pinterest and Instagram for inspiration. We had lots of negotiations between wants, needs, budget and function.” -Liz A.
  • “Harmony at home is key. We both do this for a living so we have an edge over most, but we often disagree on style. Surprisingly though we both were able to meet in the middle (not too busy or colorful, but not too boring and muted).” -David H.
  • “Making our home instantly feel cozy and welcoming was a priority. We want people to want to be at our home and stay too long. We built spaces that are inviting, open and comfortable.”–Hilary S.

On move-in ready vs. taking on renovations:

  • "We're on year three of renovations...  I highly recommend packing away the majority of your items if you're living through a renovation, as well as embracing the Kondo method." -Liz A.
  • "We were willing to do cosmetic renovations but nothing major or systems-related (i.e plumbing, AC or electrical)."–David H.
  • "We have bought 2 homes in the past 4 years both of which we wanted to renovate – even with two small boys! It's an amazing experience to build your own space." -Hilary S.
  • "After looking for move-in ready, over-time we realized that to stay within budget, we were going to have to choose between a neighborhood we loved and a brand new house. So we chose a very old (1940s) home in a very cute neighborhood. We've since "added value" to the home after taking on a few projects. The very first few were necessities: tenting for termites and eradicating mold (fun!). Then I wanted to paint the inside of the house with fresh, white paint. Next on the list? Updating the bathrooms, building out a gym in the finished garage and updating the landscaping. Oh and we still have one room in our house with literally nothing in it." –Lindsey M.
  • "Ultimately it came down to what fit within my budget. If the neighborhood or lot was right, then I would be more willing to do future renovations."–Luke D.

On the biggest surprise:

  • "Moving is always more stressful than you think." –Hilary S.
  • "So. Many. Forms. To. Fill. Out. We aged 5 years in the process.– David H.
  • "Moving is easy, it's the unpacking that takes the most time."-Calvin Yuen, Global Logistics Manager
  • "You need to rent a dumpster or schedule an extra trash pick up for the week of your move in." –Jake Thornton, Controller
  • "That you still need a place of calm amongst all the chaos – even if it's a bed on the floor in the middle of an empty room."-Aimee DeVaul, VP of Planning
  • "As a first-time homeowner you have to be prepared to take care of everything on your own - and those expenses add up (landscaping, roof repairs, critters, taxes, etc)!" –Mason L.
  • "There are still things that drive me insane (why is the bathtub so enormous?) but the longer I live in my home, I'm surprised by how much more I love it." –Lindsey M.

Lindsey McMahon in her new home; Source: Wesley Taylor/Parachute

On the best advice for other first-time homeowners:

  • "Inspect your own home inspector! Do research on yelp or go with a trusted friend's recommendations. Realtors don't always know best." –Jake T.
  • "Don’t schedule a party for 200 people a month after you move into your new home. We did. It was very stressful. –David H.
  • "Hire someone to help pack and organize. It's worth every penny!" -Esther Nordlinger SVP, Strategic Partnerships and New Markets
  • "It's all worth it. It's stressful and trying but also so empowering and wonderful. Its also important to have perspective. We bought our first home knowing we would use it to pay for our next home within 5 years – in a way we paid to play within the home buying space."–Hilary S.
  • "Don't rush. Don't spend more than you originally budgeted. Don't be afraid to take on a little work." –Lindsey M.
  • "Buy even more bedding and bath sets to help you have enough to get through a couple laundry cycles."–Luke D.