10 Things I’ve Learned After Buying My First Home

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It’s been a year since I bought my first house at 27 and I’ve got to say, I absolutely love being a homeowner. I grew up in apartments my entire life and never had a house, so owning my own home has always been a dream of mine.

There are things that definitely surprised me when it comes to owning my house. Renting my whole life made things pretty easy, but even with that in mind, I wouldn’t want to rent ever again.

1. We moved too fast. 

This housing market is insane and houses in our budget were getting offers immediately as they were listed. So once we found a house in our budget that didn’t have any offers yet, we put an offer in, even though we weren’t crazy about the house. 

Fortunately, we started running into problems with the house and backed out. Shortly after our realtor gave us a call and said she had a house she wanted to show us that wasn’t even on the market yet. We had a gut feeling it was our house and it was! 

So while we had to move fast in this housing market, I learned that it’s important to listen to your gut feeling. The original house wasn’t for us and we both knew it, but almost went with it anyway. Crazy!

2. Interest rates change daily.

Our house buying process was about a week long. We found a realtor through a family member and had a connection with a mortgage officer the same day. That day the mortgage officer let us know that interest rates were 2.75%. We were ecstatic!

However, we didn’t lock in that rate that day and waited a few days later and it already went up to 3.25%. 

Interest rates change daily and we didn’t know that. 

3. Hidden costs of home ownership. 

I knew there were hidden costs of home ownership but I’m still surprised by this. We bought our house as the season was coming into spring so naturally, none of the trees had leaves on it. A few months later, our trees weren’t getting leaves and we noticed the trees looked dead or diseased. We had a horticulturist come out and tell us our trees did in fact have a disease.

Although we didn’t have to immediately remove the trees as it wasn’t hurting the house, we decided to remove them anyways so we could put healthy new trees that are native to the area.

Removing trees is expensive!

4. Ask how much utilities are before buying a house.

Before we made an offer on our dream house, we made sure to ask the utility company for the past years utility bills. If it wasn’t for my husband I wouldn’t have done this as I didn’t even know it was a thing, and it helped us budget this cost into our monthly bills to see if we could even afford the house.

5. Air filters need to be changed quarterly (at least).

I had no idea air filters needed to be changed at least every 90 days. Since we have three dogs, this adds to how often we have to change our air filters. I suffer from allergies quite often so it’s important that we stay on top of changing the air filter.

Changing your air filter is important for air quality, extending the life of your AC unit, and can even save money on your cooling bill. When the air filter is dirty, your AC unit has to work harder than it would if it were clean.

6. Being organized is crucial.

We were very lucky with the house we bought because the previous homeowners were diligent about keeping past work done to the house in a binder. Everything was saved and documented including home renovation plans, landscaping plans, RV hookup details, and any plumbing or electrical work. 

I had no idea how important it is to keep track of everything. We even have a monthly home maintenance checklist we follow to make sure we’re staying on top of things now.

7. Regular trips to the hardware store become a thing.

I had no idea I would be taking trips to Ace Hardware and Tru Value as much as I do, but it’s been a lot of fun. I’ve learned how to use different tools that I’ve never touched in my life, how to fix clogged sinks, and how to find studs to properly hang things in my house. I know these are basic things that a lot of people know and use on a regular basis, but I was never one of those people.

Owning a house has taken me out of my comfort zone and I feel a lot more confident now in my skills to fix minor things around the house.

8. There are a lot of expenses with owning a house.

I knew there would be hidden costs to owning a house, but I’m still taken by surprise. Unlike renting, we now have to pay for property taxes, AC maintenance, air filter maintenance, safety equipment, etc. We even have a pest control guy come out monthly ever since we found a few scorpions in our garage. 

9. I love our small yard.

When we first bought our house, I loved everything besides our small yard. I’ve always dreamt of having a huge yard where we my dogs can run around everywhere, and while I still want that one day, I love our small yard.

It takes very little maintenance and since we have a desert landscape, we rarely have to clean or maintain anything outside. It’s one less stressor to have when it comes to owning a house.

10. Fire extinguishers are crucial.

Once you own a house you start taking everything very seriously since it’s your home. Upon moving in we made sure to have new fire extinguishers in different parts of the house and we even quiz each other sometimes to make sure we remember where the fire extinguisher is and how to use it properly. 

We also made sure to switch out all smoke alarms (which were many years expired, scary!) with smoke and carbon monoxide alarms. We regularly test these alarms to make sure they are working. Alarm sensors can die out which is why it’s important to test them and also to replace them every 10 years. Smoke alarms cut your risk of dying in a home fire in half.

Do you know someone buying a home soon? Share this post with them in case they didn’t know these things.

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