Thursday of this week marks one year of home ownership for Sean and me. We've learned our fair share of information and lessons during the first year and I don't necessarily have any new and huge revelations to share. But, of course, it wouldn't be a good blog post without some sort of list. So here goes.... what we've learned about owning a home.
1. The mortgage bills keep coming and unfortunately, your "locked-in" rate can (and in our case DID) get raised due to an increase in your taxes. Remember those town meetings I was all about? Well, when you "own" in the town and you vote to put more money into the public schools your taxes go up which makes your mortgage go up. Who knew?
2. It's not always cheaper to DIY and in some cases you shouldn't even try. In theory, or specifically on Pinterest, DIY seems like it's the way to go. But I think the line gets drawn on electrical work. Don't Youtube it. Hire someone who knows what they're doing. We lived the first 11 months here without more than half of our switches and outlets working because on Dec. 11, 2013 we thought we had up and gone to electrical school and then messed up everything. Finally, the week before Thanksgiving we managed to pay someone to come out and fix what they declared "was totally our fault and could have been prevented". Oops!
3. There's always something more to do and that's really hard to accept. When we originally bought the house, I made a list of all things big and small that I wanted to accomplish in the first year. I had no idea it was a completely crazy and unrealistic list of to-dos. According to the list we should have a new roof, the backyard should be totally re-done, every room inside the house should be painted Pinterest-style and we should be well on our way to adding a master bathroom and a walk-in closet to our bedroom. What if I told you this is how our living room has looked for 7 weeks and that we haven't even touched upstairs yet? Oh, and we definitely haven't touched anything outdoors including the roof.
4. It's okay to invite people over even though the house isn't how you want it to look. In the beginning, I didn't want anyone coming over. I was all "no, the wallpaper!" or "ehh, there's no door handle on the bathroom door!". :) But then I got over it. I realized that because there's always more to do... if I waited until the house was where I thought it "should be" we would NEVER be able to have people over. So now we just give little disclaimers like "oh, see that light switch that is covered with a piece of paper taped to the wall? Yah, it's a fire hazard so don't switch it on, okay?!"
5. It's really easy to become hoarders and that's a scary thought. We're a family of two living in a 3 bedroom house with a walk-out basement. People offer us stuff all the time with the kind notion of "you just bought a house and you're just starting out... do you want _____" (insert something that we don't need at all but can't stand the thought of passing up). We take everything. Everything. A few weeks ago we had to re-assess. Yes, we have space for things and places to store furniture and appliances and things that maybe, one day, in the future we may have a need for -- but soon, we'll have to start declining these items so as not to end up on A&E.
6. There's always something to be worried about and that's really stressful. It's raining, oh god, is the basement going to flood? It's icy, oh god, will that person walking on my property trip and fall and sue me? It's windy, oh god, will the wires fall crazily like in the movies and catch on fire and burn my house down?... And those are just "natural disasters". That's not touching on the bills and the up keep and the taxes and everything else that comes along with owning a house. It's never ending. My thought process in any given period goes from curtains, to ice dams, to the cable not working, to paying taxes, to a new dresser, to fixing the windows, to the dryer catching on fire, to the dishwasher breaking... the list goes on.
7. It's incredibly exciting and very rewarding. I love having this house. On Saturday mornings, Sean and I lay in bed and talk about how much we love our house. It's adorable and messy and needs a lot of work in a lot of different areas. But it's ours and I love that.