I’ve owned my own house for around six years now, and I have to say that I love it. Having a haven where I can try and escape the rest of the world is a tiny piece of heaven for me and I have never regretted buying a house for a minute.
OK. That’s not entirely true.
While owning a house is great, there are some things that I wish people had told me about before I signed the mortgage with the blood from my soul and a pen from the agent. I knew I would be spending a lot of money and that living alone, all the responsibility for things fell to me, but there are some things that I didn’t realize.
Everything is Expensive
The good news is that in the beginning after you cut the largest check of your life, everything else seems like pennies. A $300 countertop? What a deal! Only $2,000 for new shingles? Where can I send the check?
However, this excitement diminishes as the memory of that initial payment fades along with the $20/gallon paint that you put on your deck. You soon find yourself comparing the prices of weatherstripping because you’ll be damned if you’re overpaying for that stuff again.
Note: “Weatherstripping” is not as sexy as it sounds.
Also, owning a house makes you extra conscious of everything that happens in or around your house. Shoes are removed because you’re the one that has to clean up the floor, you become captain of the Light Patrol and make sure only the necessary ones are on and every creak and drip will freak you out because it will probably cost money to fix.
Note: Everything will eventually break or need to be replaced—usually all at the same time.
Let There Be Light
Speaking of electricity, every house has at least one switch that you have no idea what it does. You will find it, you will flip it on and off, and somewhere in Alaska an impromptu disco party will be initiated by your actions. But in your own house?
Not so much.
The people who previously owned my house were electrical freaks and had more lights installed than could be found on an airport runway. When I moved in I was gifted this code sheet and control box with eight switches for JUST the outdoor lights. Please note the warning on button 8:
Just Another Day in Suburbia
You eventually perfect the “suburban nod” to neighbors that will be used every time you see them outside for around the next 20 years. Most discussions will revolve around the weather or what week the recycling containers need to be put on the curb.
Note: Remembering to put out both the trash and recycling on time — and before the neighbors — warrants ALL the suburban medals!
You also become a repository of boring knowledge and get excited over weird things. For example, I couldn’t tell you my bust-hip-waist ratio but I know my furnace filters are 16-20-1.
Driving around you notice things like outdoor light fixtures and decorative mulch, and bringing home a new vacuum is like bringing home a new member of the family.
And no matter where you live, the people who owned the house before you left at least one weird thing when they moved. I’m not necessarily talking about a body buried in the yard, but there will something that makes you wonder what the heck those people were thinking.
Basements are Creepy
For as often as I go down there, a commune of hippies could be living in my basement and I wouldn’t know it. Aside from taking shelter in storms and changing the furnace filter (size 16-20-1), I avoid it at all costs.
Then again, maybe I should check. If somebody is living down there, maybe I could charge them their part of the rent.
After all, everything is expensive.
Your turn. What’s one weird thing about where you live?
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