9 Things I Wish I Had Known About Owning My First Home (Before I Bought It)

Yrs just before I at any time dreamed of homeownership for myself, I was an HGTV connoisseur. In higher education, I double majored in “Property Virgins” and “House Hunters” and expended hours glued to the Television set with my roommate, ogling other people’s granite counter tops.

Speedy ahead almost a 10 years, and the time had arrived for me to invest in my have household. (No granite counter tops here—my household was far more like the “before” scene in an episode of “Fixer Upper”).

Not shockingly, Tv set homeownership did not put together me for the actual matter. There are heaps of classes I have had to understand the difficult way.


If you’re gearing up for your own journey into homeownership, change off the Tv and acquire ’round. I’ll fill you in on a several things I want I had known beforehand, and a couple surprises (some satisfied, some annoying) that I encountered alongside the way.

1. A beautiful yard will take do the job

That lawn’s not likely ti reduce itself

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I in no way satisfied a succulent that I didn’t eliminate. Even my fake plants are on the lookout a tiny wilted suitable now. But even although I don’t have a inexperienced thumb, landscaping and property upkeep are eternally on my to-do listing.

Every spring, I spray Roundup with impunity, making an attempt (and failing) to conquer the weeds. My partner handles mowing and edging.

I have slowly but surely started to understand which plants can endure abuse, neglect, and a volatile Midwestern local weather. I continue to have a long way to go in my landscaping journey, but all this work has specified me a new appreciation for other people’s lush, beautiful lawns.

When you happen to be house hunting, keep in brain that these attractive lawns you see—and that outdoor space you covet—come at a steep value. Possibly your time and frustration, or a hefty invoice for experienced landscapers, will be required to preserve issues presentable.

2. You might get a monthly bill for community improvements

Your house taxes ought to fork out for just about every enhancement to the community, suitable? Not essentially.

When my neighbors arrived alongside one another to petition the metropolis for a pace bump on our occupied road, the cost was handed on to us owners. It was not included by residence taxes, so we acquired a monthly bill in the mail a few months later on. Surprise!

When you are planning to obtain a house, make positive you spending plan for homeownership expenses—not just restore and HOA expenses, but individuals pesky costs that crop up when you the very least assume them.

3. Brush/trash elimination? It is effective otherwise in every single city

You may not be equipped to just depart your leaves on the curb…

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As a child, I invested many drop weekends scooping leaves into yard waste luggage that we remaining on the control for pickup. But when I grew to become a house owner, I understood that my early brush with brush elimination was distinctive to the suburb the place I grew up. Each individual town handles it in different ways, if the metropolis handles it at all.

In Milwaukee, where by I live, homeowners can put leaves on the curb for pickup on designated days. For significant branches, you will need to ask for a pickup, or perhaps dispose of them yourself. Check with your metropolis to locate the ordinances and polices exactly where you live.

4. You will want to clean up (or use a person to clean) your awful windows

Window upkeep was never ever on my radar as a renter, almost certainly due to the fact I by no means experienced a lot more than a couple of windows in an condominium. But then I became the very pleased operator of many, several windows—and all of them have been coated in a thick film of gunk just after decades of neglect.

Immediately after we moved in, I started off to tackle the cleaning on my personal. But I speedily recognized I was getting nowhere quick, and there was no way I could securely clean the exterior home windows up in the finished attic.

So, I swallowed my satisfaction and hired window washers. It was some of the greatest dollars I’ve ever spent.


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5. You may possibly sense a unexpected urge to inventory up on seasonal decorations

I in no way seemed two times at a $50 wreath or decorative gourd just before turning into a property owner. Now, I have a burgeoning selection of garden ornaments in the shape of snowmen and spooky cats. Sometimes I don’t even know who I am any more.

6. You are going to will need to make a spending budget for Halloween candy

Stock up…

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At least I did in my Halloween-loving neighborhood, in which the trick-or-treaters arrive out in droves.

I put in upward of $100 on candy my first calendar year as a home-owner, and most of it was procured in a worry at the Dollar Retail store immediately after I discovered that our source was dangerously minimal just halfway via the evening.

Now, I inventory up in advance and shop with discount codes to help you save a handful of bucks.

7. Diy renovation is similarly satisfying and soul-crushing

Possibly just simply call somebody subsequent time…

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For the initial couple months just after we shut on our property, my spouse and I put in just about every totally free hour after do the job and on the weekends ripping out carpeting, pulling nails one by a person from the hardwood floors, and scrubbing absent at generations’ value of grime in the bathrooms and kitchen area. It was some seriously sick things.

Becoming frugal and formidable signifies we can attain a lot on a modest funds. But acting as our have common contractors became a complete-time position on major of the two of our full-time employment.

Basic pleasures like “having a social life” or “Friday night time with Netflix” became distant memories. It is simple now to say it was all really worth it, but at the time, I daydreamed about profitable the lottery and selecting a team of pros to deal with our rehab.

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8. My impulse to examine actual estate listings lingered for a while

When I commenced residence hunting, I obsessively searched for new dwelling listings every single day, poring around MLS descriptions and swiping through shots. Reaching for my cell phone to refresh the realtor.com application grew to become muscle memory.

But after we shut on our residence, my impulse to abide by the market place didn’t vanish overnight. Even even though I was a house owner, I also had a phantom limb the place “checking the real estate listings” used to be.

A close friend of mine put it very best when she wrote about the feeling of loss she skilled when she “no for a longer time had an justification to occupy [her] totally free time with these real estate apps.” It’s astonishingly hard to transform off your home-shopping for brain immediately after months of becoming on substantial inform.

9. You’ll in no way want to go again to sharing partitions

I like my neighbors. I like them even extra for the reason that, for the most part, I cannot listen to them. Long gone are the days of individuals previously mentioned me building bowling seems late at night.

Now, I enjoy the sweet, sweet silence of detached living—no adjacent neighbors blasting tunes or loudly quarreling. All the garden work in the planet is worth it for this level of peaceful.

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