One year ago today, I woke up feeling like a kid on Christmas Eve. Our home buying process was almost over and it was time for us to put our money where our mouth is and officially become homeowners. I’ve talked about our home buying process a couple times (here and here) but as fun as it is to look at different houses, actually making the decision to pick one terrified me. I don’t like to commit to something in case something better comes along, and putting down a huge chunk of money on a house to live in for 5+ years is almost the biggest commitment I’ve ever made (other than, you know, getting married until death do us part).
I’m a very organized person and I really don’t make decisions lightly. I made sure I knew what I was getting myself into, so I truly felt as much peace in making this decision as one can. I won’t put words in Chris’s mouth, but I think he was also confident in our decision, though I think he also struggled a bit with the huge check we were writing. I think the most important thing about buying a house, is making sure that you are comfortable with the monthly payment. When trying to figure out how much we could afford, we talked about how much we were comfortable paying total per month, and then calculated our down payment to see what our budget was.
If anyone ever asks me about the hardest part of buying a home the first time, I will tell them about the first couple months, which led Chris and I, who never really fight, to get into some heated and difficult arguments. There are probably those of you who disagree with me, but buying a house and truly entangling your finances is just as emotionally charged as standing together at an altar and saying I do.
Our home is certainly not the oldest out there, but being built in the 1950s, it was no spring chicken. I got the impression that the house was neglected in recent years, and the various inspections we had gave evidence to our case. Immediately upon getting the keys, we drove out to house and I was so antsy to be alone in it for the first time (is that weird?). For some reason, I ended up in the guest bathroom and decided to open the window to see how wide I could get it. It was a freezing, snowy day, and when I tried to shut the window, I couldn’t. Chris and I spent a good 5 minutes fighting with the window but finally go it shut. We were off to a great start.
Over the 2+ months between closing and moving in, we spent every weekend working on the house (taming the yard, painting, getting our floors refinished) or wandering around Lowe’s. There were times when I would just head to Target and buy something pretty that we didn’t need, just because I was sick of spending my money on things like paint and paint brushes. Thankfully, these trips and constant spending eventually came to an end and we were able to move in.
As I mentioned in Buying a House // Part 2, Chris and I moved in and realized our roof was leaking. Six days later, a huge chunk of the ceiling in the kitchen collapsed. After silently cleaning up plaster and insulation from the floor, Chris decided to test his handyman skills and tried to fix the roof himself. I’m proud to say that after he spent some time on the roof, we didn’t have any more leaks. We did eventually get our roof replaced, and let me just say, that shit ain’t cheap. The peace of mind I felt, made it totally worth it.
My greatest piece of advice to anyone looking to buy their first home, ask for a home warranty. Our seller provided one, and we have used it twice in our 12 months as homeowners. We had to replace our furnace and hot water tank, so our warranty saved us about $2,000 or so. Not bad.
I sounds like we had a lot of problems, and maybe we did, but I have never regretted buying our house. After renting for over 3 years, being homeowners has been amazing. I’m proud to show off the work we have put into it, but I really do feel an attachment to it that I never quite felt with our apartments. It feels so good to hang things on the wall without worrying about a deposit, and our dog loves our huge fenced in yard (OK country folk, it’s actually pretty small but big by city standards), which was one of the things on my must-have list.
One year in, I’m so grateful to be in a safe, comfortable home that shelters me, my pup and kitty, and husband. I have a garage to protect my car, and I have started filling our home with things I love. I’m confident in the investment we have made and have dreams of what our home can be. I don’t know how long we will be here, but I know I will never regret being right where I am right in this moment.