Y’all. We bought a house!!!!!
Before we get into that, I have a guilty confession. In college, my first roommate was a very sweet girl. In fact, she was so sweet that when she would get scared her knees would lock up and she would fall over. Since I’m a big A-hole, I would hide on top of our refrigerator in the common room and when she would walk in, I’d scare her. There, it’s out there. And if you’re reading this roomie (you know who you are) I’m partially sorry. Thanks for going to all the Harry Potter movies with me even though I’m sure you hated me (insert picture of me looking like a kind person).
Phew, now that that is off my chest, let’s talk home buying y’all. So, as you may know, my husband I bought our first house! We thought maybe we’d be moved in for Christmas, but let me tell you what we won’t be ready for. Christmas. We decided to take the extra time we have in our apartment to make the updates we’ve wanted to make to the house before we moved in. And for some crazy reason, we decided to paint our entire house ourselves. It’s been fun though…ish. We are updating the tile floors in the kitchen and bathrooms and we are updating the countertops and backsplash. And painting the cabinets. And replacing the sink in the kitchen as well as the faucet. BUT we are very thankful that we are able to do so.
In the meantime, I wanted to go help you guys out with some tips on things I have found were the best things to do after you purchase a home. If you’d like a walk through of what happens BEFORE you purchase a home, I’m happy to do that as well, just let me know. The process is complex and there are many steps, it may be helpful to have an outline readily available for you.
- Change the locks and create spare keys. You never know who the previous owner gave keys to, better safe than sorry.
- Change your address and utilities.
- Check insulation – this should be done during your home inspection, but it’s always best to get a second look.
- Check the temperature on the hot water heater and adjust it to your needs.
- If there is a room in the home that is lacking a ceiling fan, get a ceiling fan. This is cost effective, especially if you live in Texas like I do.
- Replace the air filters. With the previous owners moving out and kicking up dust, it’s best to clean that out.
- For more money saving, install a programmable thermostat. So, when you’re not home, your home doesn’t waste energy.
- I’m a little old school, but I love saving energy when I can and I know the dryer uses a lot of energy – especially with a toddler. Hang a clothes rack in your laundry room to air dry some clothes. Bonus points for installing a clothes wire outside.
- Change the lights to LED – more energy savings.
- Research tax benefits of owning a home in your area. Get a tax break on homestead and buying a home.
- Create a home maintenance checklist that consist of cleaning gutters, spraying for pest, etc. Sometimes things fall between the cracks. As a new home owner it will be easy to forget the upkeep a home needs that use to be done by an apartment maintenance team. Having it all written down in one place will help.
- This is a hard one for me and it is respecting the lifetime of furniture. Generally not going crazy remodeling is difficult. You’re excited, but remember you have a lifetime to accrue pieces of furniture you LOVE.
- Keep your receipts on any home improvement projects. This will actually help with tax breaks as well – yay!
- Scout your neighbors. Get to know them, make friends, send holiday cookies. No one is better to help keep an eye on your home than the people living right next door.
- Try to stay on one project at a time. For us, I know how easy it would have been to “divide and conquer” our projects, but there is no better feeling than completing something fully then moving on.
- Get a filing system going on. Home bills, home improvement receipts, home warranty papers, insurance. It’s better to have it all in one place that is easy to locate in a pinch.
- As stated above, if you’re a new home owner, you’re not use to saving for home improvements. Try to put money aside to for a new roof, for a new AC unit, etc.
- When your projects are done, do one deep clean of your new house.
- Have a house warming party! Celebrate with your friends and loved ones. This is a big deal!!
- Celebrate yourself. If you’re buying this home alone or with someone, take a moment to sip some champagne, eat some chocolate, relax on an empty floor and just appreciate the moment of being able to purchase a new home before the chaos ensues.
If you are a first time homeowner, I want and need to tell you – Congratulations. It’s stressful and it’s hard work and it takes discipline, but you did it. For me, there are a lot of different factors that contribute to how we were able to purchase a home. The biggest one for me is because my husband anchors me. San Antonio is the place I live, not necessarily my home, but my husband is making sure my feelings on that change. The second reason is because I made a promise to my son when he was born that I would give him a home to grow up in. I feel as though he deserves that. He deserved a backyard and he deserved a wall where we could track his height through the years and he deserved a place to feel safe and stable in. Maybe he doesn’t actually care, but I do.
Also, if you haven’t bought a home yet and you’re working towards it or if you have no desire to buy a home any time soon or if you wish you could save more, I want you to know that you’re best is good enough. Don’t rush into something that is going to stress you out, because it can definitely stress you out. There a lot of hidden costs that a good financial advisor can give you insight into. You got this.
Whatever reason you used as a catalyst into home owning, I applaud you. And if you’re someone who wants to one day own a home, I applaud you for working towards your goal. You is kind, you is smart, you is important.