I feel as though I owe something to any first-time home buyers, as no one gave me the 411 on what happens once you own a house. Yes, it is the most fabulous feeling in the world (at least for me it is) to know that not only do I have a place to call my own, but also any small fix I make is actually adding value to my property. I’m no real estate expert of any sort, however, I wanted to share my experiences so far since being in my home for only 3 months has already taught me so much.
Take away from this list what you want, but for me it has been a serious eye-opener in many ways. Read on to see how manic I’ve become.
1. Water is expensive. I know that probably only pertains to anyone in California since we are in a serious drought, but suddenly I am paying attention to the length of my showers, how many times I run my dishwasher, do laundry, have my sprinklers go off, etc. Even more shocking to me is how I suddenly wish it would rain (I hate the rain!), so my plants can get the proper water intake with these restrictions we are on. For those who are wondering what restrictions I’m referring to: we are only allowed to water our grass twice per week. With temperatures reaching 90+ it pretty much means your grass is going to die 🙁
2. Your credit might change. Initially it might drop, which seems super weird, but eventually it will affect it positively. Would love other takes on this if anyone has insight. That is just what I recently discovered with mine.
3. Home warranties aren’t as great as they seem. I recently filed a claim for a few little things I’ve noticed aren’t in the best shape / done correctly / broken in my house. I was thrilled to learn I would only have a mere $65 charge for each visit from the designated expert on each issue, but once the first expert arrived (a pesticide guy), he informed me that my “co-pay” to the warranty people is the same as their service fee and I’m actually getting less for that price. Before filing claims with your warranty, find out the company they will be sending over and then cross check that company’s pricing before finalizing the visit. You may end up spending the same amount for a full service rather than a half-assed one they are obligated to perform through the warranty.
4. Earthquake insurance (in CA) is a joke. We are all conditioned to have insurance for absolutely everything in our life so why wouldn’t we insure our homes, right? Well, home insurance is one thing, but earthquake insurance has such a high deductible it makes you wonder if you really actually will ever use it. Of course you never know, and you always hope an earthquake will never destroy your home, but it seems a bit outrageous to me.
5. Cleaning now takes double (or triple) the time. There’s just so much more floor, and now I’m even looking at the baseboards as I sweep and dust them as I go. I find myself continuously wiping my counters when I pass them getting a glass of water in the kitchen or using the Magic Eraser when I see any little speck on my white walls. Just get ready for a whole new meaning to cleaning.
6. My to-do list is never-ending. I check off 3 things, then add 7 more. I have definitely prioritized a lot since everything, you know, just costs a small fortune, but my list of things to do for this house never stops. Whether it’s a piece of furniture I need, a wall I need to touch up, a plumber I need to come fix a pipe, trash day to remember, it just. never. stops.
7. Blinds are apparently all the rage. I’ve always been a curtain girl since it adds a fun color or print to a room, but my “living” areas have some odd shaped and sized windows that require something a little more custom, leaving me to explore blinds. For anyone living with plantation shutters in more than one room, you probably have enough money in those blinds to purchase a car! Not even kidding.
8. Invest in a good filing system. The amount of paperwork involved in closing the home purchase alone requires it’s own drawer, but honestly, the paperwork has not stopped since we got the keys. Insurance, contracts, city certificates, work orders, receipts, manuals, warranties…you get it. Find a filing cabinet that works in your space and go to town on the file folders.
9. Considering having nice outdoor furniture? Before you make a big (and I mean BIG–outdoor furniture is e x p e n s i v e !) purchase, think about the placement of your yard in relation to the sun. Seriously. Do you get a lot of sun, or is it mainly in the shade? Do any animals enter your yard? If you have to deal with the sun or animals just be prepared to be dragging your stuff around often, as they are likely to get ruined by the sun or small animals making a mess and leaving scraps of fruit everywhere. Also, you will most likely need to buy a whole supply of cleaning tools for the outdoors.
10. Make friends with a handyman. Mine is my Dad and I couldn’t be more thankful to have him around to help me. There are projects pretty much every weekend in our house and without his knowledge and experience doing these types of things (things= installing a water filtration system, replacing my water heater to tankless, hanging my curtain rods, building our shed, teaching me how to use a drill, etc.) we would either be living in an empty house or broke.
11. City rebates take FOR-ever. One of the first things we did when moving in was replace our water heater, which was placed very inconveniently in our now-pantry, to something tankless and outside. I had to read up on the city’s website about which brands qualify for the rebate, but even with all the proper documentation I’m still waiting on my rebate…3 months later.
12. You will have guests. A lot. I’m not even exaggerating when I say something that motivated us to buy a house was the fact that we needed more space to entertain. We spend a probably greater than normal amount of time with our families and so it was imperative we have some more space. Since moving it seems as though there is always someone dropping by or staying with us. And I’m not complaining at all! I absolutely love it.
13. Drink rosé. This last one may seem silly but honestly I mean it. Sometimes home things aren’t too fun and when you get frustrated the only way I can get past it is with a little bit of wine and music. It makes mundane tasks seem more fun and will lift your spirits.