Congratulations! You just bought your first home.

Now the work begins.

According to the National Association of Realtors, 31% of all homebuyers last year were first-time homeowners, with the largest demographic being millennials between 25 and 40 years old. While home ownership is the American dream, it also requires a certain level of DIY skills.

Real estate listings often tout a home as “move-in ready,” but that’s often not the case. Unless your home is a custom build, you’ll likely have some work to do before your house truly feels like your home.

Shortly after moving in, first-time homebuyers should consider these four DIY projects:

Create an outdoor living space

In Florida, outdoor living spaces are just as important as indoor spaces, especially for first-time homebuyers throwing a housewarming party. One feature that impresses guests is an outdoor kitchen. A grill – whether it’s gas, charcoal, wood pellet or electric – is kind of like a hot rod is to car-lovers. It sparks conversation and becomes a central gathering place for grill masters and foodies.

Another necessity for a housewarming party is a large, durable cooler to keep beverages cold. Be sure to stock up on ice before guests arrive.

Finally, every party needs comfortable seating. Unless a house is sold fully furnished, sellers usually take all of their furniture with them, and that includes patio furniture. A dining table and chairs ensure that guests feel welcomed and relaxed.

Paint interior spaces

Realtors recommend painting an entire home’s interior with neutral colors like beige, gray, tan or white. Although that might help sell a home, neutral colors can create a space without much personality or character. A painting project is among the easiest, least expensive ways to spruce up a room.

Bedrooms are a great place to start. For a master bedroom, consider cooler colors that are calming and create a retreat-like ambiance, like a soft gray or blue-gray. Meanwhile, a child’s bedroom could feature warmer colors to create a sense of happiness and energy, like lighter purple, yellow, orange or red.

If a home was freshly painted before it hit the market, consider an accent wall to create customization that livens up a space.

Enhance the curb appeal

New car buyers are incessant about washing their vehicles. Driving a new, clean car offers a sense of pride.

Similarly, curb appeal is incredibly important as new homebuyers welcome family, friends, co-workers and neighbors.

Home exteriors typically are painted neutral colors, but the front door and trim are opportunities to introduce a little color. Bold, and even bright, colors can be a focal point. Another way to add exterior color is through landscaping. Colorful plants and mulch create a more refined, country club-like appearance. Use a premium potting soil to make sure plants have the right nutrition to grow.

Mold and mildew growth are common in Florida, particularly on homes with vinyl siding. Using a pressure washer every few months is important in preserving a home’s clean exterior. This step is also especially important before an exterior paint project.

Replace light bulbs and thermostat

First-time homebuyers likely are feeling the financial impact of Florida’s sizzling real estate market. Saving money will be incredibly important in the years ahead, and monthly utility bills can strain any budget.

No DIY skills are needed to replace traditional lightbulbs with Energy Star-rated bulbs, which use up to 80% less energy and can last up to 25 times longer.

Air conditioning is a necessity to remove humidity from a home, but operating an A/C system at full blast all day runs up energy bills. Installing a programmable thermostat allows homeowners to adjust the system based on when occupants are inside the home.

Buying your first home is a huge accomplishment, but it’s also a lot of work. Turning a house into a home is an important process for all new homeowners, regardless of whether you’re buying a new home or “new to you” home.

READ MORE: 8 DIY projects to save on utility costs

– By Scott Hamblen, Chief Merchandising Officer