We are renovating a fifth wheel RV! I’ve been obsessed with RV living and RV renovations since we saw Jill and Eric’s RV renovation last spring. We aren’t ready to move into one but we thought it would be a…
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Years before I ever dreamed of homeownership for myself, I was an HGTV connoisseur. In college, I double majored in âProperty Virginsâ and âHouse Huntersâ and spent hours glued to the TV with my roommate, ogling other peopleâs granite countertops.
Fast forward nearly a decade, and the time had arrived for me to purchase my own home. (No granite countertops hereâmy house was more like the âbeforeâ scene in an episode of âFixer Upperâ).
Not surprisingly, TV homeownership didnât prepare me for the real thing. There are lots of lessons Iâve had to learn the hard way.
If youâre gearing up for your own journey into homeownership, turn off the TV and gather ’round. Iâll fill you in on a few things I wish I had known beforehand, and a few surprises (some happy, some frustrating) that I encountered along the way.
1. A beautiful yard takes work
I never met a succulent that I didnât kill. Even my fake plants are looking a little wilted right now. But even though I donât have a green thumb, landscaping and yard maintenance are forever on my to-do list.
Each spring, I spray Roundup with impunity, attempting (and failing) to conquer the weeds. My husband handles mowing and edging.
Iâve slowly started to learn which plants can endure abuse, neglect, and a volatile Midwestern climate. I still have a long way to go in my landscaping journey, but all this work has given me a new appreciation for other peopleâs lush, beautiful lawns.
When you’re house hunting, keep in mind that those beautiful lawns you seeâand that outdoor space you covetâcome at a steep price. Either your time and frustration, or a hefty bill for professional landscapers, will be necessary to keep things presentable.
2. You might get a bill for neighborhood improvements
Your property taxes should pay for every improvement to the neighborhood, right? Not necessarily.
When my neighbors came together to petition the city for a speed bump on our busy street, the cost was passed on to us homeowners. It wasnât covered by property taxes, so we got a bill in the mail a few months later. Surprise!
When you’re preparing to buy a house, make sure you budget for homeownership expensesânot just repair and HOA costs, but those pesky fees that crop up when you least expect them.
3. Brush/trash removal? It works differently in every city
As a kid, I spent many fall weekends scooping leaves into yard waste bags that we left on the curb for pickup. But when I became a homeowner, I realized that my early brush with brush removal was unique to the suburb where I grew up. Every city handles it differently, if the city handles it at all.
In Milwaukee, where I live, homeowners can put leaves on the curb for pickup on designated days. For big branches, you need to request a pickup, or potentially dispose of them yourself. Check with your city to find the ordinances and regulations where you live.
4. Youâll want to clean (or hire someone to clean) your nasty windows
Window maintenance was never on my radar as a renter, probably because I never had more than a few windows in an apartment. But then I became the proud owner of many, many windowsâand all of them were coated in a thick film of gunk after years of neglect.
After we moved in, I started to tackle the cleaning on my own. But I quickly realized I was getting nowhere fast, and there was no way I could safely clean the exterior windows up in the finished attic.
So, I swallowed my pride and hired window washers. It was some of the best money Iâve ever spent.
5. You may feel a sudden urge to stock up on seasonal decorations
I never looked twice at a $50 wreath or decorative gourd before becoming a homeowner. Now, I have a burgeoning collection of lawn ornaments in the shape of snowmen and spooky cats. Sometimes I don’t even know who I am anymore.
6. Youâll need to create a budget for Halloween candy
At least I did in my Halloween-loving neighborhood, where the trick-or-treaters come out in droves.
I spent upward of $100 on candy my first year as a homeowner, and most of it was purchased in a panic at the Dollar Store after I noticed that our supply was dangerously low just halfway through the evening.
Now, I stock up in advance and shop with coupons to save a few bucks.
7. DIY renovation is equally rewarding and soul-crushing
For the first few months after we closed on our house, my husband and I spent every free hour after work and on the weekends ripping out carpeting, pulling nails one by one from the hardwood floors, and scrubbing away at generations’ worth of grime in the bathrooms and kitchen. It was some seriously sick stuff.
Being frugal and ambitious means we can accomplish a lot on a small budget. But acting as our own general contractors became a full-time job on top of both of our full-time jobs.
Simple pleasures like âhaving a social lifeâ or âFriday night with Netflixâ became distant memories. Itâs easy now to say it was all worth it, but at the time, I daydreamed about winning the lottery and hiring a team of pros to handle our rehab.
Watch: Here’s How Low You Can Go in Making an Offer on a Home
8. My impulse to check real estate listings lingered for a while
When I started house hunting, I obsessively searched for new home listings every day, poring over MLS descriptions and swiping through photos. Reaching for my phone to refresh the realtor.com app became muscle memory.
But after we closed on our house, my impulse to follow the market didnât disappear overnight. Even though I was a homeowner, I also had a phantom limb where âchecking the real estate listingsâ used to be.
A friend of mine put it best when she wrote about the sensation of loss she experienced when she âno longer had an excuse to occupy [her] free time with these real estate apps.â Itâs surprisingly challenging to turn off your home-buying brain after months of being on high alert.
9. Youâll never want to go back to sharing walls
I like my neighbors. I like them even more because, for the most part, I canât hear them. Gone are the days of people above me making bowling sounds late at night.
Now, I enjoy the sweet, sweet silence of detached livingâno adjacent neighbors blasting music or loudly quarreling. All the yard work in the world is worth it for this level of quiet.
The post 9 Things I Wish I Had Known About Owning My First Home (Before I Bought It) appeared first on Real Estate News & Insights | realtor.comÂ®.
The more time we spend indoors, the more we feel a need (read: itch) to update our spaces. And while we might not have a budget to set aside for costly renovations right now, that doesn’t mean we can’t use some handy tricks at our disposal to freshen up our interiors — maybe even add a touch of elegance and luxury without the costs that normally come with that. Sure, in an ideal setting, you would probably have a renowned designer at your fingertips to make your rooms exude comfort, luxury, and elegance. But until that lucky day comes, let’s
Hi friends. So sorry to go completely MIA on you. Between attempting online school with a five-year-old, much of California burning to the ground, and the general state total chaos in which we find ourselves, getting to the computer for any length of time has been a bit of challenge, to put it mildly. And then I blinked and summer is officially over.
But I had to finally get on here as I have big news for you!
They say you shouldn’t make major life decisions during times of extreme stress, right? Well, we decided to throw all caution to the wind and instead have purchased a coastal cottage in Washington State! Apparently a global pandemic, homeschooling a kindergartner and the most consequential presidential election of our lifetime wasn’t enough to keep me busy.
In all seriousness, if the past seven months of Covid have taught us anything, it’s the importance of friends and family and so we decided to create a gathering place that can bring together those we love most for years to come. Nestled within the myriad of inlets and islands that dot the Puget Sound north of Seattle, the cottage enjoys sweeping views of the Olympic mountains and Hood Canal. I consider it my official respite from the impending doom. Sadly it looks nothing like the inspiration images I’ve collected here.
Instead, it is going to take a LOT of work to get our little coastal cottage visitor ready – and in a very short period of time. Over the coming weeks, I plan to take you along on the entire design journey. I will be sharing everything with you – from the cottage’s current state, to all of my design inspiration and through the remodel process. If all goes according to plan, I’ll share a major before and after reveal in time to spend the holiday season with our family rather than more than 800 miles away.
Trust me, we’re going to have plenty to discuss, as I have to pick an entire household’s worth of things – from paint colors and kitchen cabinets down to dishware, bedding and everything in between. No design decision will be left unturned. It’s both exhilarating and incredibly daunting. These mood boards are just part my first ideation session for my dream vibe.
I’m hopeful sharing this process with you will offer you some fresh design ideas and positive inspiration as we all hunker down to weather what will undoubtedly be a stormy fall – be it literally or just politically. It’s been a rather dark year and I feel like this might be a way to share a little bit of light. I know I am very happy for the creative distraction. I hope you are too.
I can’t wait to share more very soon!
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