Just before the world turned upside down in 2020, I finally took the leap and purchased my first home. It was a huge milestone for me after renting for almost a decade.
While I did my research and asked around for advice, nothing would prepare me to become an actual homeowner – to add to that, I stayed in my home for a couple of months because of lockdown orders. Also, my house wasn’t turnkey, there were some projects I wanted to complete before I can finally call it my own.
To cut the long story short, in just a few years of being officially a homeowner, I already learned some important lessons, which I think new homeowners should know.
Create a Budget and Stick to it
One of the most important lessons I learned as a homeowner is budgeting is everything. From the day I purchased my home to moving in, there were a number of unforeseen expenses that I wasn’t ready for.
So as soon as I settled in, I made sure to create a spreadsheet of expected costs, contingency funds, and budget for my next home improvement projects. It was a challenge at first to stick to the budget; however, my stringent monitoring of whether I was within the set boundaries made it easier for me to ensure that I always had cash on hand.
It Takes a Lot of Work
Who wouldn't want to have a home that you’re already contented with, right? But that’s not always the case, especially if you have a limited budget (like me!). When I moved into my house, the only thing I wanted is to make it livable at first. I made sure I started to work on areas/rooms where I’ll spend most of my time, which means my bedroom and kitchen. My living room, study, and guest room can wait (the bathroom was already functional, thankfully!).
I thought targeting two rooms before I moved in would be a breeze. However, there was a lot of work involved. I’m thankful that I had a close friend who was a handyman who helped me finish a lot of things in those rooms. So, another lesson is to prepare yourself for a whole lot of work if you’re planning to turn your house into a home.
It’s OK to Take Time
Because a lot of work *and money* are involved in fixing a home, you shouldn’t be too hard on yourself if all the things you want don’t happen at once. I’m almost into my third year of living in my home, but I know that I’m not done yet. I’m still planning to make some updates here and there before I move on to the outdoor area, where I’m thinking of building a patio and a small garden with a vertical herb garden.
Learn to DIY
Of course, when you’re working with a budget, going DIY with some of your home projects is the way to go. For example, instead of hiring a painter, I attempted to change the color of my kitchen cabinets from a boring beige to bright yellow. In one section of my room, I added a wallpaper that I bought from Amazon to give the room a little bit of life. You can say that I am a huge fan of YouTube tutorial videos and I’m happy that each DIY project I took on, I successfully completed.
While I like saving money through DIY, I also have to think practical, especially when it comes to home maintenance. I have to admit that there are things that are way beyond my skills and knowledge so in such instances, hiring professional home services is the best way to go. I’ll never attempt to fix broken electric oulets or tinker with a leaky pipe. I’ll make sure to call an electrician and plumber for those things because I want to get those things fixed correctly the first time.
Also, when it comes to saving time and huge effort, I would rather hire so I can do more important things. An example would be when I hired snow removal services after my city was hit by a blizzard. Though it did cost almost $100, but it was one of the best and most practical decisions I made. I didn’t even have to lift a finger just to have my driveway cleared, plus I didn’t have to worry about getting the right tools and equipment fo the job, which I think is a money-wise move.
I’m sure there are a lot of lessons that I still have to learn as a homeowner, but I’m hoping that by sharing these things above, I can help make the life of a new homeowner a bit easier.
Do you have lessons you can share to newbie homeowners? Don’t forget to share them in the comments!