Back when we first bought our house I wrote a similar post called 6 Things I Learned about First Time House Buying. Now that we are coming up on our year and a half mark in our humble abode, I didn’t want you all to think the learning stopped at buying – oh no, quite the contrary, we have learned even more tough lessons throughout our first year and a half of being first time homeowners. Don’t get me wrong, owning a house is rewarding and having your own space is priceless…but the little things along the way make me wish that I could just phone up a landlord and have them fix things for me, for free (lucky for me, I do have my dad for that – thanks dad)!
1. There are certain seasonal things you must do. Picture this, your first few months in your house, the Christmas tree is lit, the stockings are hung…and it is the coldest winter EVER. In the winter of 2014, temperatures dropped to record lows and the average temperature was in the single digits. Ah, nice for us we were warm in our heated house (side note: gas bills that winter were astronomical). One cold night it was time to go get the trash can from our finished basement walk out…and what is this I feel? Why am I sloshing through the carpet? After much panic (half of our basement had flooded), a plumber found a hairline crack in one of the PVC water pipes in our wall. How can one TINY sliver of a crack do so much damage you ask? Well, it shouldn’t have cracked in the first place. It turns out we hadn’t turned the water off that goes to the outside water spigots. The pipes froze and the pressure cracked the pipe. After telling everyone about what happened we learned that it was common knowledge to turn off the water to the outside of the house as soon as the temperatures started reaching freezing levels. So as one new home owner to another, if you are clueless like us, PLEASE make sure you turn your water off to the outside every winter. In the end, insurance came through and last spring/summer we were able to repair the basement (laid tile, installed new carpet, and painted). We still have a long way to go with decorating that space (Bryan’s FIFA man-cave), but when we do I will be sure to post our transformation! Oh another thing on this topic – make sure you change your air filters every 3 months (this also helped that gas bill problem I mentioned earlier). We may or may not have just learned this lesson as my dad practically choked to death on black dust while discovering that we hadn’t changed ours since we moved in.
2. Lawn maintenance is no joke. Bryan and I have the opposite of green thumbs. I am always envious of the people with beautiful gardens and perfectly manicured lawns. Bryan cuts the grass and uses the weed-wacker but that is the extent of our lawn maintenance. If you were to look at our yard in its current state you would probably faint. The backyard weeds are coming through the cracks in our brick patio and the “bushes” that used to be pretty when we moved in are all dead and overgrown. We still have a turtle shaped plastic sandbox sitting in our yard from the previous owners. We have also just received a notice from the gas company that they can’t get to the meter because the bushes surrounding it are overgrown (how embarrassing). This spring, we have decided to focus a lot of our energy on fixing up our yard. Hopefully it is a somewhat enjoyable process – progress updates to come.
3. You can never keep too many spare light bulbs in the house. Every time a light bulb goes out, it seems the moment you replace it another one goes out somewhere else in the house. It’s a conspiracy I tell you!
4. PAINting is a PAIN. How do those people on HGTV look so darn happy as they paint all of the rooms in their house? In our house it’s a lot of near quitting, achy backs, and yelling when we accidentally paint the ceiling. However; the positive side of PAINting yourself rather than hiring an expensive painter is that it is an affordable way to transform a room. Through all the sweat and tears of actually PAINting, the end result far surpasses how you felt while doing it. We have also learned that it doesn’t have to be perfect, in the end only you will notice those imperfections. Each time we paint a room we swear up and down that we will be hiring a professional for the next time we paint, but so far this hasn’t happened.
5. Things you never think would break, do break. It’s pretty much never-ending repairs when owning a home. It’s honestly more humorous than anything. From the kitchen island detaching from itself, the guest bathroom shower rod falling to the ground during a guests shower, the ceiling fans/lights breaking for no reason, and much more – we have been forced to learn how to be handy. Just last week we came home to a buzzing sound on the main level. After investigating the entire house and googling all sorts of worst case scenarios, it turns out that the UPS delivery person must have pushed the doorbell a little too hard and when I went to the door to look at the doorbell I found it completely smashed in with broken plastic all around it. The buzz was coming from the chime box that is on the wall and the fact that the doorbell was pressed in so long before we figured out the problem was enough to blow out the transformer. There was also that time that we couldn’t figure out how to get all the smoke detectors (which are all linked together) to turn off so Rooney hid in the basement while Bryan ran around the house yanking them off the ceiling, un-wiring them all, and ripping the battery back-up out of them (which have since been repaired/replaced). See, humorous right?
6. Through all the mishaps, the good outweighs it all. Bryan and I have learned to take all of the challenges that happen with home owning as lightly as possible. There is no point of getting angry at the situation or blaming each other for things that go wrong. Every homeowner has similar stories and from them they too have learned lessons along the way. We are so fortunate to have our family behind us and they are always there for us whenever we need advice or repair assistance. As I said in my intro, owning a house and having your own private space is rewarding. Over the past year and a half in our first home, the memories we have made are ones I will cherish forever. This home is the beginning of our story as a married couple. This home and fenced in yard enabled us to get our puppy and turned us into a little family. We have an investment now, responsibilities that help shape us and mature us, and we look forward to bringing our future children into this home someday.
Until the next time we learn a lesson…
love & lots of whit – jen xo