In your first year of owning your own home, every new day brings on a new challenge. And thanks to that fresh and dewy homeowner glow, you're poised to tackle them all. Who cares if the wall is crooked and the kitchen is in disarray—they're yours.
Owning a home isn't all good feelings, though. And people don't seem to want to discuss all the bad vibes that can frequently come along with buying your own first place...
What if the neighbors are horrible? Will I ever have money for shoes or vacations ever again? Do I know how to troubleshoot the water heater? Do I know how to take care of this place at all?
You might feel like a hostage to this money-sucking heap of wood and brick, and yeah, that's more than a little terrifying. But rest assured that your fears are actually a good thing: You're thinking about some worst-case scenarios and preparing for them.
It's already time for the first mortgage payment? My electric bill will be what? How much does new furniture cost again?
Owning. Is. Expensive. No way around that. But all the little costs that creep up will definitely be a bit of a shock as you face each of them the first time around. Don't feel guilty about feeling a little bit of a money scare–it's something every new homeowner goes through, no matter their station in life.
Missing Your Former Renter's Life
You mean I'm on the hook to get this plumbing fixed? I never had to care about lot lines before. What even are property taxes?
Renting certainly has its own set of freedoms. But when the nostalgia for the good old days of "just call the landlord" creeps in, remind yourself of the uncertainties of being a renter. Needing more space, praying rent doesn't go up, and being able to paint the damn walls–all the things that made you decide that home ownership was the right choice.
Thinking About the Next House
I wish we had another bedroom. I'll never buy into an HOA again. We should probably try to get into that other school district in a few years.
News flash: No place is without its problems. You likely had to make some compromises to afford your new home, so it's OK to learn what works really well about your amazing new place, and what could still be improved upon. Not everyone has the "what's next?" feelings, but you shouldn't feel guilty thinking a bit about what you want in your second place one day.
I can live out of boxes for a while, right? I know I said I wanted to paint the bathroom, but I'm just ready to be done. I'll deal with the leaky faucet one day.
There's a lot to do, especially in the first few weeks in a new place. If you're hyped up on the thrill of owning your own place, take charge and get it done! But if you're feeling a little lethargic, that's OK, too. You'll be in this place for a while, and we all know that creating the perfect home is a journey, not a destination. And as far as I'm concerned, a weekend spent on the sofa watching HGTV and the DIY channel is technically home improvement.
I want to throw a housewarming party, but does that feel like bragging? I can only afford this place because my parents helped me out with a down payment.
Depending on your real estate market, owning a home could be a totally normal rite of passage or something that only rich people can afford to do. If you're lucky enough to be buying a place in, say, New York City, it isn't unusual to feel a little guilty that you've been so fortunate, especially if your friends or family have dealt with foreclosures or being forced to move outside the city to chase a livable rent. Michelle Tea wrote about her San Francisco homebuyer's guilt in a piece for The Bold Italic, capturing the sometimes bittersweet feeling of finding your dream home while others are struggling. When guilt seeps in, don't let it build up in an endless cycle. Be humble and gracious about your hard work and good fortune, take a deep breath and let it go.
This is the best house ever. And it's mine.
Yes, yes it is. Bask in the glow, sit on your very own front porch (!!!), and enjoy the fruits of your labor.
Re-edited from a post originally published 11.11.2015 - TW