Adventures in Home Buying: One Year Later

By Erica Root

Erica Root
Erica Root

Last year, I shared my adventures in home buying. From getting preapproved for a loan to getting house keys, I walked you through every step of the way.

Now I’m coming up on the year anniversary of my home purchase and I thought it might be fun to talk about what I know now.

Hello house, goodbye productivity

You will never be more productive than those first thirty days of getting your house keys. Okay, so that’s not fair for the few people who can still be productive, who can continue that momentum, but for most of us, it’s a lot more challenging. I know I certainly lost a lot of steam once the furniture was in the house and the floors were finished.

That first month is a whirlwind. You want to get as much done as possible before moving everything over into your new residence. For a solid month, I did nothing but go to work and then head to the house to paint, pull up carpet and tack strips — whatever needed to be done. I didn’t get back to my apartment until 9 or 10 at night. Somehow – probably because I had to – I found the energy to make the new house a home. Sure, I was physically tired, but the process itself was energizing.

Sadly, in the time since, very few projects have gotten done.

A few easy things I want to work on: touch up the paint in a few places, paint the door trims and hang up some artwork.

And of course, there are a few of the bigger projects as well: redoing the floor in the entryway and kitchen, painting the kitchen cabinets and the outside of the house.

I’m determined to put a plan in place to get these things done. I need to recreate a sense of urgency that I felt when I bought the house to get me going.

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Before (left) and After (right)

The yard

Having a yard is one of the best — and one of the worst — elements of home ownership.

Pro: I have a dedicated place on the back patio for a grill and a patio set where I can enjoy a glass of wine under the string lights on a warm evening. I now have room for a dog to run around and go to the bathroom.

Con: Everything else. I’ve never had a green thumb and don’t plan to turn that around anytime soon. I don’t mind mowing the lawn that much, at least that gives me a good workout. And fortunately, most of the backyard is patio, which keeps maintenance lower than it might be otherwise.

The costs

The first year of home ownership is tough financially. Big purchases don’t end once you have those house keys. In fact, they just get started. From purchasing “grown up” furniture, to adjusting to new utility payments, your bank account will likely feel stretched thin.

So, before you buy a house I recommend:

  • Estimating your new monthly utility payments.
  • Calculating costs for your new commute.
  • Creating a spreadsheet of projects, you’d like to tackle and their estimated costs. (And consider opening up a Home Depot or Lowes credit card)
  • Listing all the furniture you will now need, ranked by necessity, and start pricing out your preferred pieces.

Refrigerator, washer and dryer, and a new couch topped my list.

Home owners warranty

We were gifted a home owners warranty by our realtor, Christina Ellermeyer, and it did come in handy.

Shortly after moving in, the garage door opener broke. After digging out the warranty information from a stack of house related papers, a repairman was called at the house within an hour or two. There was a small service fee attached, but it was significantly lower than what it would have cost otherwise.

It was a comfort to know that things could be covered, at least partially, if they went wrong during that first year.

House

Nesting

Nesting is real. I was probably somewhat of a nester before buying my home but I became a full-fledged nester after. I like being at my house, walking around the neighborhood and spending quality time with my boyfriend and puppy.

I do everything in my power to have friends come to me and will cook and host however often is needed to avoid going out. And since I’m now farther from midtown, it’s less convenient to go back and forth.

To conclude

Buying a home — and then living in it — is a lot of work. But for me, the work is well worth the pay off.

Wishing you all the best in your own home buying adventures!

 

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