June 14 marked the 4 month mark of our living in our home and owning it. I can say, without a shred of doubt in my mind, that it was one of the best decisions that we have made and I would make it again … 100 times out of 100.
However, I do have some advice for future home owners from my short experience so far. Take everything with a grain (or two) of salt because I’m strange.
Do not purchase a home strictly for financial reasons. Owning a home is like adding a part time job to the mix. Things are going to break, stuff needs to be done, and you might just have a yard to take care of as well. Along with that, you never know how that “investment” you made in your house is going to actually pay off. There were plenty of people who got caught with their proverbial pants down with the recession, and you never know when something is going to happen. Real estate might be the “safest bed” for investment, but there are other things you can do with that money.
Instead, take into considering the other benefits as well to round out your reasons. It IS a place to live in, after all, and you are going to be putting in some work as well so the sense of that place being “home” is quite great. It also connects you to the community in a way that renting cannot because it is a loud statement of “I’m planning on being here for a while, so we should really get along now.”
That’s the other part, make sure you are ready to settle down for a while. If you are moving every few months or even every couple of years, then owning a place is going to be one huge hassle. Want to move? Well, now you need to dump the house you just purchased not too long ago, which is going to add stress and make things all that much LESS pleasant.
So, when deciding, don’t just focus on the financial part of things but keep in mind the HUGE amount of other tangible and intangible benefits (and detriments) as well.
Get decent tools. Seriously, you might as well build it into your home budget if you don’t already have good tools because you are going to be using them. I was dumb and didn’t get a decent drill until very recently and already I’ve used it to put up curtains, hang a chalkboard and build some stilts for my desk downstairs. I should have done it a long time ago.
Also, get at least one corded drill to keep around just in case you forget to plug in your cordless drill. Just a nice insurance drill to have around.
I’m also a fan of doing the research and sticking with one brand of power tool as much as possible. This is especially true of cordless tools because you can often switch batteries between all of your tools (and then you also have multiple batteries).
Having the right tool for the MANY jobs you will have to do can make all of the projects easier and quicker to complete.
Go local for your loan. I only bring this up because of the great experience I have had with my local credit union. My loan officer was extremely professional and was from the area so he already had relationships with the local law firms and realtors. It made the whole experience that much better.
We also had the benefit of getting a great rate from them as well.
Paint as soon as you can. It will make the whole place feel like it is your own. Once that first wall is done, you can step back and marvel at how handy you are and smile because you are slowly changing someone else’s house into your home. It is an awesome feeling.
Also, don’t skimp on the paint. Getting a high quality paint can save you time, and even money because you will need less paint to get the job done.
This goes for any decorating. Just get to it and keep adding things as you want because each things will make the place more your own than it was before.
Beware of people bearing furniture. They’ll come because people came to them and offered them the furniture they “didn’t need” anymore. Mainly, you just want to start with the furniture you have and then slowly choose new pieces or replace old ones as you see fit. That way you won’t run into the problem of having too much furniture around and then looking for someone to bring that stuff to yourself … it’s a vicious cycle.
Enjoy it. You just bought a house. You’ve decided to stick around in one place for a while with your family so enjoy it! Take some time to just walk around your property and dream big dreams about what you want to do, but always remember that you have TIME to do it. As someone who lived in seven places in just four years prior to moving into our house, I always need to remind myself that what I don’t do today … I can do tomorrow and some things need to wait.
That’s about it for right now.