Around two years ago, my boyfriend and I used to drive down a specific road so we could slow down and stare at a house that I was obsessed with. It was a cute little white house that looked old, but charming. I used to call it “my house.”
Around a year and six months ago, “my house” was sold, and I was devastated.
Around a year and three months ago, I started seriously looking to buy a house. And boy, did I view some doozies. I also fell in love with one only to learn that it had a serious mold problem, which would have been a huge fix. So back to the search I went.
Around a year and one and a half months ago, my amazing Realtor texted me about a house that was JUST put on the market. She was convinced we needed to see it ASAP because it was going to sell quickly. Imagine my excitement when we pulled up at “my house”!
And exactly one year ago, I bought my house.
Me with my Realtor, Rebecca. She’s the best.
The entire home buying process was… interesting. There were a few twists and turns along the way that needed to be sorted out. Getting approved for a mortgage was pretty intrusive. Having your heart set on a house and then learning about its deal-breaker issues is pretty upsetting. And not having the seller closing because he was at the hospital for kidney stones was worrisome (the amazing lawyer went to the hospital to get him to sign the paperwork so we didn’t have to push closing back a few days).
I did it, though! I’m a homeowner! The past year has had some ups and downs, but it’s taught me quite a few lessons on owning a home.
1. Test paint colors by actually painting on the wall before committing to painting an entire room.
Taping paint chips to the wall does not accurately represent the colors. My living and dining rooms turned out to be more of a purply-gray than just true gray. It was a happy surprise, but a surprise nonetheless.
This is how I sampled paint colors. Paint chips all over the house.
2. Inspectors don’t catch everything!
For instance, my house does not have a spigot outside for me to be able to use a hose. That is not something I would have thought I needed to look for at all.
3. “Small projects” will never be small in an older home.
My house was built in the 1930s. It has big, beautiful baseboards, a gorgeous front door, and lots of character (aka uneven floors). But it also apparently had some interesting electrical wiring, which what should’ve been a quick rewiring task into a half day fiasco.
4. If you live on a busy road, your mailbox might be run over.
I had a really nasty plastic mailbox that I wanted to replace at some point, but that project was pushed to priority after someone completely knocked it to the ground one night. Fun times.
Mailbox in a ditch. Not a fun discovery.
5. Sometimes rats can get into your attic.
This one is the most recent incident and is still a little fresh… Overgrown backyard + tree branches hanging over the roof + a broken window in the attic = rats. They sound terrifying when running around in the attic. Also, they apparently can and will come downstairs to nibble on an apple on your counter. Major props to my boyfriend for getting rid of them through fixing the window with a little door that didn’t let the rats back in. Also, major props to him for setting all of the traps and checking them for me.
A rat ate part of this apple. It was exactly as horrific of a discovery as it sounds like it would be.
Setting traps in the attic.
6. Ignoring your overgrown backyard does not make the weeds magically disappear.
Enough said on that one.
It looks much worse than this right now. Like, MUCH WORSE.
7. Living next to train tracks (and in front of a crossing) is a hard adjustment.
It took me a while to start sleeping through train horns at 3am, but I’m finally there. Every now and then, one will pass through and just LAY on the horn, but overall, it’s not too bad.
8. There will always be a project on the list.
There are countless things that I want to change in this house, but there are these limiting factors called time and money… which leads me to the next lesson:
9. You can learn to live with a lot of crap.
From ugly light fixtures that I was DETERMINED to get rid of immediately (still haven’t…) to a water line to my fridge to have ice (still haven’t done that, either) to dead plants by the porch (nope), I’ve learned to live with things that I thought would really bother me.
There are days that I have called my family in tears and asked why I was stupid enough to actually buy a house. But there have also been days where I’ve looked around at the room, filled with friends and food and laughter, and have been incredibly grateful for the opportunity to share my space with people I love.
I’m thankful that I am a homeowner. And I think I have a pretty cute house (another lesson – not everyone is going to like your decorating style, but it only really matters if you like it!). It’s definitely not a perfect house and will always need a little work, but it’s MY HOUSE.
The painted window over the fireplace was done by Lamar of GilArtPaintings, who also did the painting above my couch (on the left, below). He is amazing and you should check out his work!
An old picture showing off the my salmon cabinets and mint walls! I’ll need a better picture of this room when it’s actually clean…
Showing off a desk my boyfriend made for me.
Christmas at the house.
My sweet nephew playing with some spices.