Congratulations, You Bought A House. Now What?

moving in coupleAs I have chronicled in other blog posts, our family was looking to buy a house this spring. Part of the reason (ok the whole reason) I haven’t posted in a bit is due to said house purchase. It wasn’t easy. In fact, it was like having a 2nd full time job.

That part of the process is over, we closed almost a month ago. And you would think that I could have resigned from my “other” full time job… you would be wrong. Owning a house is even more of a full time responsibility. One of Stay Work Play’s bloggers wrote a post a while back about “Things They Don’t Tell You about Your First Home,” but my list is a little bit different. Here are a few things your parents, realtor, mortgage person, home inspector etc., didn’t tell you about buying a house that I would like to share.

  1. It. Is. Awesome. Owing a home is one of the best feelings around. You will have a new found appreciation for the phrase “pride of ownership”. I really can’t describe how awesome it is other than to say once you leave the world of renting for the world of ownership… you’ll know what I mean.
  2. It is a lot of work. In this phase it isn’t like having a 2nd job, it is like having another child. You think about this new, very large and looming responsibility, 24/7. You worry about different parts of the home for different reasons. The home can’t tell you if there is a problem, but it sure can throw up on you in the middle of the night without warning (if you have kids you get the metaphor).
  3. Even though you have saved and set aside funds for things after move in, it isn’t enough. We budgeted carefully for some repairs/improvements after move in. We also set aside a fairly large (at least we thought so) cushion for overages. It wasn’t even close to enough; things just start popping up left right and center. One contractor gives you an estimate for X and it ends up being X squared. And then the little things that you didn’t see (like say, a colony of termites that is on the move heading for your home) come up and boom another $2k right out the window.
  4. There is always something to do. From routine maintenance to major projects a homeowner’s work is never done. Even if you are buying your dream home, brand new everything exactly the way you want it… you still have to mow the lawn. You still have to check the filters on the A/C unit. You still have work to do! Some of this is THE FUN PART; some of it is not so fun. For instance putting your personal stamp on the property by re-doing the kitchen or bathroom, fun. Treating the random poison ivy infestation, not as much.
  5. You may or may not know as much about this stuff as you thought you did. Do you know how to fix a leaky toilet? What about installing all of the baby gates? Part of number 4 is being able to do those things yourself. Some things, yes, call a professional. But some things you should be able to do on your own. YouTube is a great resource, but beware: Watching 1 YouTube video does not make you a subject matter expert. If you think you are over your head, ask for help! There is no worse feeling in the world than calling a contractor after you screwed it up and made it 10x worse that it should have been. Yes, I have done that in our first month.

When people started congratulating me on our new home I really didn’t understand it, until we lived here for a few days. Then a light bulb went off (or went out)… this is a big deal. This is a congratulations! Pop some bubbly and pat yourself on the back a moment! But don’t pat too hard; you don’t want to break your arm… the lawn won’t mow itself this weekend.

One Response to “Congratulations, You Bought A House. Now What?”

  1. Ryan TuftsOctober 7, 2015 at 3:33 pm #

    Joe, I couldn’t agree with more your comments. The pride of ownership hit me unexpectedly. I never shoveled snow off a driveway so thoroughly until it was MY driveway! And it is a 24/7 job. Homeownership is both very rewarding and a on going project. Great post!

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