Four Things I Wish I Knew Before I Bought My First House

Purchasing my first house was the most exhilarating, exciting and nerve-wrecking experience that I would gladly repeat again and again. The ownership of property is probably one of the most life altering experiences anyone will endure in their lifetime. I was fortunate enough to take numerous first home buying classes and learn about the whole home buying process from pre-qualification to closing before I took the big plunge however, I had no idea about the little things that come with being an actual homeowner. Here are four of the little things I wish I knew before I bought my first home.

Lawn Maintenance

Being an apartment dweller for many years, the thought of lawn maintenance did not enter my mind the least bit except when the lawn maintenance crew was working outside my apartment window at 7:00am on Saturday morning. When I first purchased my home, I was so excited that I had actual grass of my own and space that it did not occur to me that I had to take care of it all by myself. My lawn was beautiful but after about a month, my beautiful lawn was turning into a jungle and the drive up appeal was fading fast. Therefore, I ventured to the local Home Depot and purchased a lawn mower, a rake and a trimmer. Being a single woman in Home Depot is like watching a single man maneuver himself around Victoria Secret – totally lost. I did not know that there was 5 to 6 different kinds of lawn mowers and trimmers so I asked for help and left Home Depot three hundred dollars lighter and ready to conquer my lawn. Well, needless to say my beautiful lawn suffered and so did I, therefore I decided to hire someone to maintain my lawn. The moral of the story is, make sure to plan a lawn maintenance budget by getting estimates and referrals from neighbors or friends if you do not plan on maintaining your lawn yourself. If you are a working professional who does not have the time to tackle the lawn on your own, this will be a good investment to budget for.

Unexpected Sales Solicitation

Since I owned my home, I have received so many calls and solicitations that I do not even answer my door or phone during certain times of day. My first month in my new home, I received anywhere from one to two knocks at my door from salespeople at least three times a week. My phone would ring all day long with solicitations from alarm companies, lawn maintenance, maid service, fence repair, carpet cleaning etc. I also received several pieces of mail from mortgage protection companies and even a few companies offering me home equity loans. Therefore, be mindful as a new home buyer, you are a target for additional home services that you probably will not need until much later as a homeowner. My suggestion is to say no to the services you definitely do not need and keep a file of business cards and solicitations of the companies of interest so that you can locate these businesses quickly when the need arises.

HOA Restrictions

If you are purchasing a home located in a subdivision, you may be responsible for paying HOA- (Homeowners Association) fees. These fees are allocated for the upkeep of the community, street cleaning and crime prevention activities. The HOA has certain restrictions that you as a homeowner of this neighborhood must abide by, such as, landscaping and vehicle restrictions as well as trash disposal/pick up information. This information is not always readily available, therefore you can miss out on a lot of important information as a homeowner. I did not receive my HOA package until a couple of months after my purchase therefore having to rely on neighbors and phone calls to find out the details. If you know what subdivision you will be living in before hand, try to get information from the HOA before you move into your new home or at least within a month of when you move in. This information is vital and it is a good idea to know what the restrictions are and what is permissible so you will not be subject to additional fines, citations and misunderstandings.

Extended Guests

It is so exciting to have your own space and be able to throw parties, holiday gatherings and family celebrations at a drop of dime, however it seems that when everyone you know gets wind that your just purchased a house, all of the sudden you are the target of extended sleepovers. It is interesting; the more room you have seems to attract more guests. Therefore, before the party gets started, make sure to set up ground rules for extended guest and visiting restrictions. I know that you want to share your home but believe me if rules are not set from the beginning, you will become a victim of the permanent freeloading visitor.

Owning your first home is the best investment you could ever make in your life. Unfortunately, in life we cannot prepare ourselves against every little miss-hap, especially when you are a homeowner. Therefore, by staying informed and expect the unexpected from the beginning can help combat against some of the little headaches that can arise with the purchase of your new home.

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