Home Ownership - 13 Things to Keep in Mind
Updated: May 8
So, you're considering owning a home? Maybe you already do and you want to make some changes? Take heed! Here's a list of things to remember:
In your first week of ownership, you will get to be on first name basis with the local home improvement store. You will literally be there at least once a day for something you forgot. You may even be told to "clock in" when you arrive.
You will need tools and equipment you never dreamed existed, especially if you like doing things yourself. Even if you don't think you need a tractor, you will find hundreds of uses for it you never thought possible too - even on less than an acre.
Whatever you think your budget is for whatever you are doing, double it, then consider doubling it again so you can actually finish the project. The same can be said for the amount of time it will take.
That "comfort height" toilet you're considering because your knees don't cooperate? Well, it's actually taller than a handicapped toilet. You know what that means? Your feet won't actually touch the floor unless you're wearing shoes or you're REALLY TALL. If you're on the shorter side, you might want a foot stool. If you plan on reading the paper, find a normal height toilet.
If you want to plant a Leland Cypress near your property line, make sure that when it's fully grown it doesn't hang over onto your neighbor's side of the line. Consider a 15-20 foot set back. Otherwise, you will soon have the ugliest tree on the block because your neighbor will butcher the limbs on his side of the line and that gorgeous, full tree will be spindly and ugly.
Just consider the long-term care and maintenance of anything you plant. Want fresh Muscadines because they are the latest health craze? They grow almost as fast as Kudzu (if not faster). Before you know it, they will be growing into every bush and tree on your property - and your neighbor’s. Crepe Myrtle? They have to be trimmed about annually. You might think your landscaping looks great, but it can soon overtake your house if you're not careful. Just watch of few of those home renovation shows and you'll know what I mean.
Speaking of plants, don't buy your house in the dead of winter. Otherwise, you'll end up with a Sweet Gum tree where you thought there was a marvelous Oak. See this blog post.
Really consider the long-term care and maintenance of anything you do. That fabulous deck? It needs to be stained every three years. That stone walkway? Invariably, weeds will come up between the stones. Painting a house ain't cheap, even if you do it yourself. Maintenance is serious business.
Buy a truck (MAYBE a minivan - if you must). That "natural fertilizer" smell takes a long time to come out of the trunk of your BMW. There's nothing quite like driving around for days with the windows open to get the smell of chicken poop out of your car. Not just that - that new toilet won't quite fit in your trunk. You will use it for way more than you think.
When it comes to decorating, there is no such thing as cat (or dog) proof. Nothing can replace Fluffy or Fido, but really consider how they will fit into your home. Your brand new sofa won't look so great in a few months if you're not aware of the wear and tear of kitty claws.
Learn the art of bee-keeping. Carpenter bees can do a lot of damage in a short period of time. Tennis rackets may prove useful for more than your tennis game.
Storage space is important. You may not think you need a basement until your $50,000 car is in the driveway and all your junk is in your garage.
Always have an emergency fund because equipment failure is real and there is a deductible on your homeowners insurance policy. Create a savings account just for that deductible and don’t touch it - not even for that new tiller you want. Remember what I said about maintenance? One day you will need a new roof and that savings may put a dent in the cost.
We've been in our house since late December 2001. This is a short list of things we've learned. Maybe you can avoid some of the miss-steps we made.
The One Benefit of the Comfort Height Toilet