What I’ve Learned as a Homeowner

Posted By on October 3, 2011

What I've learned as a homeowner

September marked my second anniversary as a homeowner and official grown-up. Buying and managing a house has provided many lessons for this naïve homeowner.

After years of living in apartments for most of my adult life, buying a house was an eye-opener. The silence alone for the first few weeks was shocking. Suddenly, I didn’t have to listen to my neighbors laughing, shouting, blasting music and stomping around. It was lovely to have so much silence.

Because I bought an older house, it needs some updating. I quickly discovered that watching HGTV for 20 years didn’t really prepare me for DOING actual renovations. I realized the limitation of my skills.

During the first year, I opted to renovate the kitchen which took from March 2010 to November 2010. Technically, the kitchen still isn’t complete, but I had countertops, a stove, dishwasher and sink installed in time to cook Thanksgiving dinner.

I’m just down to the backsplash, lights, baseboard and the “real” refrigerator. Right now, I have the “temp” frig, a basic one I bought at Home Depot for $400 so I could sell the old refrigerator that was sitting in my living room. Someday, I’ll invest in the $2,500 counter-depth French door version in black. Someday.

The main lesson my house has taught me is patience. I wanted all the renovations and plans I have completed yesterday, but reality is another thing. Everything takes time. So I will have to live with the pink carpet in my living room for a while longer.

So here are some other things I’ve learned:

  • My friends who are homeowners have been invaluable with advice and tips without making me feel too much like an idiot. Like the time I called my friend Patrick and asked if there was a lightbulb in the garage door opener that suddenly went dark. (Answer: There is, and it’s easy to change. My friend Jamiesue wound up changing it for me because I hadn’t done it yet.)
  • The A/C will go out in the middle of a heat wave because it can.
  • The home warranty you renewed because of the wheezing A/C unit will save your butt when the A/C goes out in a heat wave.
  • If a contractor or sales guy doesn’t listen, does that “little lady” thing, or interrupts you, don’t hire him or buy it. Move on.
  • It’s okay to change your mind. When I bought the house, I had some initial ideas for paint colors and things, but then I changed my mind after living in the space for a while.
  • Bargain shopping rules. Between Internet shopping, charity and consignment stores, and watching sales, you can find some good bargains. I’m all about the bargain shopping.
  • Be creative. A lack of money forces you to be creative, and you can reuse and repurpose things.
  • I hate yard work. That’s probably why I won’t win “Yard of the Month” unless I have professional intervention. A serious professional intervention.
  • I have way too many fantasies about Matt, Josh and Ahmed from HGTV’s Bath, House and Yard Crashers shows crashing my house. Shirtless of course. A single girl can dream, right?


One Response to “What I’ve Learned as a Homeowner”

  1. Ellen Delap says:

    Welcome to the club! Home ownership has fun and some…. drawbacks! You are right as it is all about patience! Thanks for sharing!