This week marks exactly one year since I officially closed on my first house. It’s been a whirlwind of a year and while it’s been a lot of fun, there have been many hard learned lessons taught to me along the way! To commemorate my one year anniversary as a homeowner, I thought I’d write a quick little post to share some of the lessons I’ve learned along the way…
- Don’t bite off more than you can chew – When looking for houses it’s easy to make a list of improvements and changes that you’d like to/need to change with the house if you bought it. Well, once you buy the house you actually have to do those things, and it’s never as easy as you thought it would be during your walk though! Know your limitations as a handyman and know your true appetite for taking on improvement projects. As soon as my things were moved in my motivation to work dropped 150%!
- There’s always more to do - This is something I always heard people say about owning a home, but now I can fully appreciate it. It seems for every little project you finish, you’ll find two more that need to be done! It doesn’t matter if it’s decorating, yard work, home improvement projects or even cleaning. There is always more to do, and you’ll never be “done”. Plan out your projects ahead of time and you’ll save a ton of stress.
- Not having a landlord is awesome! - I love the freedom of being able to do whatever I want with only myself to answer to. I can put as many holes in the wall as I want, I can play my music as loud as I want and I can adopt a dog without having to clear it with anybody. I imagine it’s pretty comparable to being financially independent vs working 40 hours a week in a cubicle.
- Not having a landlord sucks! - On the flip side… I hate not being able to pick up the phone any time something breaks or being able to totally neglect the routine maintenance and upkeep of the property. Mowing the lawn, shoveling all the snow, and fixing all the annoying things that break fall squarely on my shoulders now. I guess I could pay someone to do those things, but that would get expensive real fast!
- A house costs more than the mortgage - This is something I knew going in, but your mortgage payment is just the start of what home ownership costs. There was certainly some sticker shock when it came time to pay property taxes (especially here in New York!), water bills, garbage pickup, and all the other little things I never had to worry about paying before!
- Budget for repairs and then add 10% - Now 10% isn’t a scientific number, but you’ll always want to budget a little more for repairs and unexpected home related expenses than you think you’ll need. The unexpected happens more often than you’d think when owning a home, and it’s always a good idea to have a little extra stash of cash available for when it happens.
- Learn to Do It Yourself - I’ve never been a handy person by any stretch of the imagination. But when it comes between learning to do something yourself and paying someone to do it for you, you’ll pick up a lot of skills you never thought you’d have! If only my 7th grade shop teacher could have seen me work on the electrical wiring, he wouldn’t have believed it was the same person…
- It’s Weird. - A poignant thought, I know… but it really does feel weird to think that I own this building and little piece of land that it’s built on (well, I’ll own it at some point over the next 15-30 years if you want to get technical on me). It feels so adult! I feel like I must have pulled a fast one on the bank to convince them to give me a mortgage for it!
Home ownership has been a great experience so far and I’m really looking forward to continue making this house into everything I want it to become. It’s not easy by any means, but in the end it’s a rewarding experience.
Do you own a home? What have been the most rewarding parts of it? What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned along the way?
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