I can not believe two years ago at 26 years old, I purchased my first home. It still feels like yesterday we were touring houses, ready to be homeowners. I’ll never forget visiting Magnolia in Waco dozens of times, dreaming of one day fixing up my own home. I still can’t believe we’re home in Maine, and making our dreams a reality. Now that it’s been two years, I have a lot of thoughts on our house, what I would have done differently, and what I’m thankful for. Today, I want to reflect a little on what we’ve been doing these past two years to our home, and key things I’m thankful for. Okay, lets dive in!
+DIY board and Batten in our entire dining room
+Built a brand new shed + painted it
+Cleared (and still clearing) trees/ our land
+Dustin is building a new driveway
+Upgraded our bathroom with new lighting + cabinet + shelving
+Re-painted our screened in porch
+Gave our kitchen a facelift with backsplash
+Turned our basement into an at-home gym
+Painted our doors / added new black shutters
+Switched our all knobs with matte black ones
+Decked out our porch with new lighting + furniture
+Made a compost area for leaves / food waste
And so much more…. Dustin and I have been so passionate about turning our starter home into a place we love. We are also obsessed with projects, and doing things ourselves. I am so thankful Dustin is super handy, and knows how to do just about any type of building/fixing. I feel like our little home projects pretty much never stop… and I’m okay with that. I love upgrading our home, and bringing up our resale value. We were so fortunate to already love our home, and our flooring, so it all felt relatively new and more modern. We’ve done so many subtle tweaks to this house, and now we’re loving it even more. While we know this isn’t our forever home by any means, I’m glad we’ve made it into a place we love.
(Our newly painted porch)
First things first, I am glad we purchased a house when we did. Two years ago, prices were just starting to creep up. We purchased our home right at the perfect time. When we were house shopping I wanted a house with 3 bedroom, 2 bath – easy. I knew exactly what I wanted.. I was insistent on getting exactly what I wanted. However – that RARELY happens for a first time home buyer, as young as 26 years old. After many discussions, and number crunching, we decided to save money, and bring our budget down significantly. We knew we could afford more, but we choose to stay minimal, and go with something a little smaller. We purchased a 2 bedroom, 1 bath house ranch style home, and honestly…. I’m grateful we did. I know one day, we will own exactly the type of home we want, and it will be worth the wait. We have been able to save a significant amount on taxes, and our mortgage is insanely affordable. We live close enough to the major cities here in Maine, yet still live in a beautiful, quiet neighborhood. The benefits of purchasing a modest house has allowed us to take multiple vacations a year, live an active lifestyle, and put money into our savings. I’ve also been able to afford to go back to school full-time, which has been a goal of mine for awhile now. I love being able to work towards my degree, while updating our home to raise the resale value. I honestly wouldn’t have it any other way, and am so grateful for what we do have.
After owning our home for two years, I’m counting my blessings we didn’t purchase a bigger home. And while I’m excited to one day own a bigger home with more land, I’m grateful for our house. I’m grateful for our single floor living, that allows us to save time each day. We have fewer rooms to clean, which ultimately saves us a ton of time throughout the day/week. As much as I love cleaning, and organizing I can’t imagine how much more time it takes to clean a bigger home. Another big perk is the price we pay on oil for our home is cheaper compared to what our friends/family pay. Our driveway is also not too long, which means we spend less money on gas for our snow blower in the winter. All of these tiny perks truly add up. We also live very close to our local Hanaford and a highway exit, so our location is perfect for us. I never would have though I would like living in a smaller home, but I have been pleasantly surprised.
When we first moved in, we knew we needed to reach out to our neighbors. We live in a cul-de-sac, so we knew they were bound to notice us quickly. Dustin is much more shy, so I reached out to a few of them in passing. We regularly walk our dog, so whenever they were outside, we would say hello and chat briefly. Being open, friendly, and getting to know who lives around not only helps you, it benefits everyone. We’ve been able to help our neighbors with little things, and they have helped us in return. Our first winter here, I was shoveling the end of our driveway when a tree fell, and almost hit me. It was a close encounter, and a neighbor ran out of their home to make sure I was okay. Not only did they check, they also moved the tree out of the road. Being kind to others makes a world of a difference, always.
Do you own a home? Share with me in the comments what you have learned from owning your first home!