July 19th last year, we went over what felt like hundreds of documents, and signed our names until our hands grew tired after what felt like such a daunting process, we FINALLY became home owners. It was a surreal moment for me, to be purchasing my first home at only twenty six years old. I spent that entire day creating Pinterest board on lunch at work, and became even more excited to beginning moving our things into our new home that weekend. I’ll never forget entering our home for the first time, knowing it was ours. It was oddly silent, and bare of any furniture, but full of possibility. I walked through multiple times, studying the layout, trying to picture how we would decorate, and what furniture we would buy. I pictured our mornings spent here, drinking coffee on our screened porch, and Odin running around in his new yard. Now, looking back to that, little did I know that just signing those papers, was just the very beginning. Just a few days ago, we received this card in the mail (pictured above) wishing us a happy one year home-anniversary, and it instantly had me reflecting. In doing so, I had to share all my thoughts of becoming a new home owner. Here is everything we learned in one year of becoming home owners….
Even if it’s freshly built home, you truly never know when you may need work done on your home. Not all of us have friends or family in the trades who can pop in at a moments notice when something begins to leak, or malfunction. It’s crucial to have realistic expectations when owning your first home. You should always expect that there will be some small amount of work to be done. Some work may be more pressing, and you’ll have to pick and choose when to complete it. It’s important to prepare yourself mentally, and financially to put yourself, or a professional at work.
I’m going to keep this short and simple, because it’s a very obvious point. This is not just for homeowners, but for every single person! It’s important to build your savings, because there can be many unpredictable expenses throughout our lifetime. Being a homeowner, you never know when an appliance may die, or you have a leaky pipe that requires a plumber. Most unexpected expenses come with a price, so it’s important to build your savings.
It took me forever to feel “At home” in my own home…isn’t that weird? I couldn’t believe how long it took me to learn which light switch went to what light, ect. Some days, I’m still shocked we bought our first home, and it’s been a YEAR! It’s truly taken time, and patience to feel comfortable in our new place. After we completed a few fun DIY projects on the house, and began turning our house into a home we loved, we slowly began feeling more “at home” here. To our surprise, it does take a great deal at time, personal touches, and decor you love to feel comfortable and cozy in a new space.
When we first began our house hunting process, I wanted a big house, with 3+ bedrooms and two car garage. I wanted it all, and had no idea how much that would cost us in the long run. When I began running numbers and looked at the bigger picture, I knew that my first home was not our forever home. Dustin and I decided to stick to the basics, and purchase a two bedroom house, on an acre of land. Not too big, but not too small either. Realistically, we knew if we had a child in this house, it was still the perfect size. And when we began moving our “things” into our home, we decided it was the perfect opportunity to purge our stuff. I was blown away with how much “stuff” I had accumulated throughout the years. I know we have plenty of storage space, including our giant basement, but I also am aware I do not need to fill my home with “stuff” that we just don’t need. We would much rather save our money, to be able to put it back into our house, or go on trips, and travel. We adore everything about our ranch style home, and our spacious screened in porch. If I could go back, and do it all again, I would still opt for the smaller, more modest first home, versus splurging and going house broke.
Over the course of a year, we’ve learned so much about what it takes to be homeowners. There are so many ups and downs of owning your home, but it’s chock full of learning experiences. I’m so grateful we stuck to our budget, and purchased a smaller first home, so we can afford to do more than just pay our bills. I am grateful I’m able to put money back into our home, whether that’s with small updates, or paying a little extra on our mortgage each month. Owning a home has been a roller coaster ride, and I’m sure year 2 will be full of lessons.
Do you own a house? What was your first year in your new home like?