As a single gal with a less than substantial income, owning my own home was something I never thought would happen. I had made peace with a life of renting apartments and dealing with the sounds of the always heavy steppers who would live upstairs. Sure, I may never get through a night without hearing the sound of my neighbors from above flushing the toilet, but at least the smells of their food could possibly help me decide what to have for dinner.
But all that changed. A year ago, the stars all alligned and I bought my own house. Having reached the first anniversary of home ownership, I would like to share a few lessons I have learned along the way.
1. Be careful who you take house shopping. Furnaces should be functional, not cute. Anyone who confuses these terms should not be considered the voice of reason.
2. Expect the unexpected on moving day. My entire family backed out of the move. It was me, a friend and two trucks.
3. Live in the house before making big changes. Sure, that paint color may not be ideal and the guest bath may be hideous, but those other expenses like lawn mowers and new garbage disposals are going to add up quick. The paint color may grow on you and you can avoid the guest bathroom.
4. Be prepared to do battle. Many of the servicemen who have come to repair or look at things in my house seem to think the female brain is not equipped to comprehend certain types of information. I have taken them on and won every time (so far!). If all else fails, play the "Just let me call my husband" card. For some reason, the information become so much less complicated.
5. Do not let your house become a dumping ground. In the interest of "helping" you, your friends and family will offer you all of the "treasures" from their homes. You know, the same "treasures" they have tried to get rid of for years. Stay strong and take only what you really want.
6. Do not wait to have people over to your home. Sure, I would love to painted the walls and scraped the popcorn ceiling before having people over, but those experiences with the people I care about are what makes a house a home. Besides, you never know who will volunteer to help you.
So, there you have it. My short list of advice to the first time home owner. When all is said and done, may you be as happy in your home as I have been in mine.