View Full Version : We just bought our first house! (need encouragement)

04-18-2006, 09:45 AM
Good day all. I have been lurking on the budget board for a few months now and love all the tips. DH and I have just bought our first home and we are so excited but I'm a bit apprehensive about it too. We close on May 18 and get our keys on May 19.

My question is two fold. First, what do you love about owning your own home? I am feeling a bit overwhelmed with all the maintenance we'll have to do like mowing the lawn and shoveling snow in winter, keeping the shrubs neat and other stuff that we would normally not have to worry about because the landlord took care of all those things.

Second, what sacrifices have you made in your budget to be able to keep yourself from being house poor? There are so many projects we'd like to tackle but we are determined to pay cash as we go along and resist charging as much as possible.

Any other budget (or non-budget) tips you'd all care to share with us newbie homeowners is greatly appreciated. As I said, I'm so excited but this is a big financial responsibility and the advice on this board is always so good, I'm sure I will be able to get some useful tips from you guys. Thanks in advance!

04-18-2006, 10:05 AM

Congratulations on your purchase! I think a lot of folks go through what is called "Buyer's Remorse" It is that nagging worry that keeps you awake in the middle of the night after you've made the deal. It doesn't usually last very long--and once you get a few payments under your belt (and manage a few of the unexpected problems that always seem to come up with home ownership), you'll start to relax. :teeth:

Enjoy your new home!

-DC :earsboy:

04-18-2006, 10:15 AM
Congratulations!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I love owning my own home. I can make as much noise as I want. The kids can play in the yard and not have to worry about them breaking anything. Yes, the yard needs work, the shower leaks, and I am in the middle of redoing my kitchen. But it's all worth it in the end. Take one project at a time. research what you are doing before jumping into the project. At lot of mistakes will be made and you want to keep them to a minimum. It gets easier as time goes by. and in a few years you will wonder why you had any reservations about being a homeowner. Good luck

04-18-2006, 10:18 AM
My only advice - fix the small problems before they become BIG problems. Maintenance and upkeep will save a lot in the long run!

Oreo Cookie
04-18-2006, 10:23 AM
Congrats on your first home purchase! I wish you years of happiness!

Don't be overwhelmed by the general up keep of your home. I think you will enjoye turning your yard into a reflection of yourself, planting flowers and bushes etc. I enjoy the outside work, and you own your property, so you make the choices of how you want things to look inside and outside.

In terms of budgeting tips, I would stay away from any large projects if possible for a while, unless there's something that is in need of fixing or replacing asap (roof, furnace, etc). This way you can see how your mortgage, taxes, and general home costs (electric gas, etc) are impacting your budget and how much money you are able to save.

Then I would sit down with DH and make a list of things you would like to do with your home and prioritize the list. Then you can go out and start looking at costs for the various home improvement projects you would like to do.

Again, congratulations on your need home!

04-18-2006, 10:31 AM
Congratulations!!! :banana: We are going to be celebrating our 1 yr anniversary on Saturday. It does not seem possible. I know what you are feeling as we are still feeling that way. The best suggestion that I have for you is to make a few lists - things that NEED to get done and things that you WANT to get done. There is a big difference between the two and it is hard to keep them separate. Completing one project before beginning a new one is important that way you won't become overburdened. Home Depot has a lot of great books that you can buy showing how to tackle different projects so that you might be able to do somethings yourself. We have found that being able to do most of the things ourselves has not only saved us money but has made us appreciate the end project more. Knowing that you can say "we did that. . . ." and really mean it makes us feel really good!!
Congratulations again!!!

04-18-2006, 10:31 AM
Congats on your first home !!! :cool1:

I would make sure you fix all small problems before they become big problems(leaky faucet, cracked window, that sort of thing)

Make sure you get your furnace cleaned and serviced once a year, better performance equals less fuel consumption

Have fun with the new house, enjoy making it your own

04-18-2006, 11:32 AM
Just start with one room at a time! Sometimes a fresh coat of paint, new handles, etc will be fine until you can change it to exactly what you want down the road.

Just like the other posters said, fix the little things before they turn into big problems. We love owning our home, having great neighbors!! We are about to start some major renovations, kitchen remodel and...building a second story!! :thumbsup2

04-18-2006, 11:37 AM
Congrats! Do as much of the projects you can by yourself or with the help of a family friend. I have painted, wallpapered, drywalled, etc. Anything to keep my costs down. I landscaped my own yard by shoping the memorial/labor day nusery plant sales. And take your time.

04-18-2006, 12:04 PM
I remember when I first bought my house 3 years ago, as a single mom with two small children, just walking through the basement, looking at the pipes and saying "These are MY pipes :rotfl2: , looking at the ceiling beams in the basement saying "These are MY BEAMES" It's still pretty amazing that I have something so big (around 1100 square feet might not seem big, but stand on the sidewalk and look up!)

Congrats on the house.

04-18-2006, 12:06 PM
Congratulations on your new home. I was overwhelmed too when we first bought our home. Infact when I was writing out the first mtg payment I had a anxiety attack . I do love being a home owner, we can do the projects we want to, we have a pool and swing set for the kids in the yard (dont have to drag them to the park or public pool) and I feel so much pride in being a homeowner.

We try to do a few small projects ourselves a year (some include - landscaping,installing new appliances, remodeling one of the bathrooms,installing laminate flooring and ceramic tile) and when we get our tax return we then pick a larger project, usually something we have to hire someone to do. This year are big project was a furnace and air conditioner , next year we hope to have a new patio poured.

I agree with doing maintenance and upkeep projects first ,then do the cosmetic things you want to. I wish you the best of luck

04-18-2006, 12:19 PM
Ditto to all of the great posts already listed. My next suggestion....watch HGTV!!! Seriously, they have some great shows that highlight how wonderful changes don't have to be expensive.

We were very young buying our house so we couldn't tackle big projects, like a new kitchen, for a long time. The appliances worked and we lived just fine with it while we tackled cosmetics like paint, lights, etc. We just finally did a complete remodel after almost 15 years and my taste now, and needs with children, etc. are much different so I am glad finances made us wait on it.

Start small with painting rooms, yard improvements, etc. and think about what you really like and what you might want to change down the road.

With the price of houses being so high these days just enjoy the feeling of satisfaction of accomplishing this goal and enjoy just spending time in your new home.

Congratulations!! :goodvibes

04-18-2006, 12:33 PM
First of all, (yes I am very emotional lately) I have just read all your replies with tears in my eyes. Thanks so much for being so supportive! I knew I had come to the right place to get my fears put in the right perspective. I love all the great advice and well wishes and I'm going to share your words of advice and encouragement with my husband.

I especially appeciate the advice to fix small things and do routine maintenance before they become problems. I grew up in a single parent household and I know my mom did her best but we had a house that was in total disrepair until we were much older and could help out with things. When I think of "owning" a home, sometimes I flash back to being a child and remembering how frustrating and embarassing it was to have the "raggedy" house on the street. My husband keeps reminding me that this will not be our fate. I know he is right but I'm so used to calling the management company for leaky pipes or running toilets. Now the leaky pipes or running toilets will be ours to fix. DH assures me (he is very handy by the way) we can handle it and you guys are helping me to believe we can too!

You don't know how much your words have inspired me! I can't wait to make this house my home!!!

04-18-2006, 01:07 PM

Our biggest sacrifice to keep from being house poor? Not buying an expensive house to begin with! We have plenty of money left over each month, we can run our household on 75% of our net monthly take home pay, before DH earns any overtime. Right now that extra 25% is going to pay off those pesky credit cards, but soon we'll be able to beef up our emergency savings.

Another key to keeping the budget under control is to not try to furnish the place on day one with brand new furniature. We've been in our home 6 months and have bought nothing new. Our living room is still empty, in fact. All our furniture is in the family room right now. We'll eventually go furniture shoping, but we've got other priorities, like putting up a fence in the back yard (our current project).

Speaking of home improvement projects, a great way to manage both time and money is to only tackle one project at a time. Don't gut the place and try to do everything at once, you'll be both miserable and broke! Make a list of all the things you need/want to do, then prioritize by how badly it's needed/wanted, and how much it will cost, and just do one at a time. They'll all get done, I promise!

Yard work doesn't take that much time, as long as you keep on top of it. LIke anything else, the more you let it pile up, the longer it will take you to get it done when you finally get to it. Oh, and a tip. Don't buy the cheapest lawn mower. Get a mid-line one with bit more horse power and a few more features. You'll be using it once a week for 6 months out of the year, it's worth the investment! And the same things go for routine house maintenance, keep up with it and it won't be so time consuming (plus it can keep small problems from becoming big, expensive problems).

Congrats again, and good luck in your new home!

DVC Sadie
04-18-2006, 01:47 PM
Congratulations! :cheer2: Home ownership is a wonderful and sometimes scary feeling all at once. You all will be fine! Previous posters gave you some great advice already so I just wanted to say congratulations. :thumbsup2

04-18-2006, 02:45 PM
I love owning my own house because now my DH can go outside and pee off the front porch and nobody can see him... :lmao: :lmao: :rotfl2: :rotfl: :rotfl2: :lmao: :lmao:

We live on 5 acres and our nearest neighbors are not in view of our house!!!

04-18-2006, 02:54 PM
Congrats! I loved the day we signed the papers!!

Tackle one project at a time - whether it be something that NEEDS to be fixed, or something you just want to do. My fiance loves having multiple projects at once :sad2: so we have a half finished basement and stairs that he ripped the carpet off of with the intent of lacquering, and kitchen cabinets he started to sand to prove to me that it's easy to do ourselves.....stay in one area at a time.

Know that regardless of whether you mow the lawn on a set day or trim the shrubs.....they are all yours. It makes doing those activities a lot happier when it's YOURS.

04-18-2006, 04:26 PM
DH and I have just bought our first home and we are so excited but I'm a bit apprehensive about it too.First, a question: Why don't you get the keys at the closing? At that point the house is officially yours -- why do you have to wait a day to take possession?

Second, a warning: Don't judge home ownership by the first month. My DH and I had an insanely bad first month of home ownership. The house had sat empty over the winter, and some pipes were burst; when we cut the water on, the kitchen flooded. Days later the city cut off our water because the previous owner hadn't paid his bill (despite the fact we had gone down to open a new account and had been forced to place a deposit). The day the water was cut off was also the day the washing-machine man came to find out why our brand-new washer wouldn't work. The mortgage company discovered that THEY had made a mistake in the paperwork, and that caused some headaches. Literally, every day we came home to see what was wrong. BUT . . . the good part . . . this didn't last. So don't be discouraged if you encounter some early troubles.

Good things about home ownership . . .
We'd been living in apartments for years, and we were amazed at the quiet. We hadn't realized that we were so used to hearing other people's cars coming and going at all hours. Also, no one's ever in my parking space!
Having our own washer/dryer (that didn't require quarters) was huge for me.
All the extra space.
Being able to paint the walls any color I pleased.
Being able to play music as loud as we wanted.
After 13 years of making extra payments we discovered the best thing of all about home ownership: We now own a fully paid-for house. It's such a secure feeling.

Bad things about home ownership . . .
When something breaks, it's expensive. 5K for a new roof, 2K for very basic kitchen countertops, 2K for termite protection . . . and it's your responsibility.
Yard work. Some people enjoy it; DH and I do not.

Advice . . .
Don't be in too big a hurry to get everything "done". You shouldn't go into debt trying to make your house look like it belongs in Better Homes and Gardens. Instead, attack one room at a time as you can afford it.

Deb & Bill
04-18-2006, 10:26 PM
MrsPete, I was going to ask the same thing. You own the house at closing. Are the former owners paying you rent for the one night they are keeping the house? They should.

Hopefully, you had a good inspection prior to buying the house to make sure you didn't also get bad wiring, bad plumbing, termites, etc.

Do you already own the appliances or are they coming with the house?

Get as much info on the plants currently in the yard and the maintenance they need. Get the name of the plumber, electrician, etc that the former owner used. Sometimes it helps to have that person to call if you have a problem and need to hire someone to fix something.

Get the info on when you have garbage pickup, any rules to that (separate recycleables or not, etc). Make sure you get the garage door openers and get the codes changed on those. Also get all the doors rekeyed as soon as you move in.

If there are supposed to be storm windows, make sure the former owners leave them.

Good luck

04-18-2006, 10:27 PM

I agree with everything else previously said. Take care of those small problems before they become bigs ones.

Determine what needs to be done vs. what you just want done.

Be patient. Once you own a home you have plenty of time to get it the way you want it (just so you can start all over again-lol).

I love my front porch and yard (although I hate yard work).

04-19-2006, 09:05 AM
DH assures me (he is very handy by the way) we can handle it

You're ahead of the game right there...congratulations, look forward to that mortgage deduction next April 15, and try not to get overwhelmed. One task at a time.
Enjoy :sunny:

04-19-2006, 10:38 AM
Deb and Mrs. Pete:

I'm going to have to look at our purchase agreement and see what's what about the closing date. I don't think I know all the housing terms and lingo yet. I know something happens on May 18 and then we go to the title company on May 19, sign papers and get our keys, is that closing? We pay prorated interest on our house starting May 19 when we get the keys so again I'm not sure what exactly happens on May 18. We were asked when we wanted to take possession and we picked May 19 because our lease is not up until the end of May but I wanted the keys early so we could move in our stuff, clean and paint. We could actually take possession much much earlier but again our lease isn't up until the end of May. Are we doing something wrong?

We did have a home inspection and I am so glad we did! We actually put in a bid on another house a few weeks ago that was all set to go through until the home inspection where we found out that the house needed a new roof (ASAP), had faulty wiring, was on a grade where water was flowing toward the house and the house had lots of moisture in the basement (among lots of other little things). The present owners were not in a position to fix these things and we certainly couldn't afford to come in to a house and make major repairs so we parted ways. We refused to even get remotely excited about our current house until the inspection this past Saturday. Our inspector made the comment that this house is in 100% better shape than the first home. The roof is sound, the wiring is good, the ac unit is newer and so are the appliances. There are some minor things that need attention like the fact that the previous owners have the gas stove plugged up to the outlet with an extension cord, the sump pump is inoperable, the chimney needs some work done, there are cracks in the driveway, etc. Fortunately, most of the minor stuff is listed on the city violation sheet that the current owners have to take care of before title can change hands and some other things that we would like fixed we have added to an addendum and we are requesting the current owners to fix these small items in addition to what's on the city violation list.

This is probably more info than most of you wanted but I thought I'd share. I'm sure once we settle in to the house other things will pop up but I appreciate the advice given and we will definitely take one project at a time.

Any other advice that you wise homeowners wish to share, just keep sharing!! We do appreciate it all!

04-19-2006, 10:43 AM
1) Put together a list of trustworthy contractors that others have used(i.e. plumbers, electricians, heat/ac, window companies, etc.) You will want to know who to call before an emergency, not during

2) Before doing any projects, work on building an emergency fund for the house if you don't already have one

3) Begin with small, easily completed projects(knobs on cabinets, painting a room, etc). These will give you a sense of accomplishment quickly and inexpensively

4) Make a list of projects and prioritize it. Revisit the list every 3 months and you will have plan where you want your house to go.

Now, relax and enjoy knowing that you have your own home! :thumbsup2

04-19-2006, 10:57 AM
One thing that really helped us with our first home was buying a homeowners warranty through our real estate agent. It was kind of like health insurance for the house. It was about $300 for the first year and allowed us to call maintenance people for a $50 co-pay. Long story short, the furnace and part of the air conditioning units had to be replaced within that first year and they paid for it minus that $50. It was the best insurance we ever purchased (and yes we had had the house inspected so these weren't expected repairs).

In that case we had bought a 50 year old home so it was definitely worth it. The next house we bought was brand new and the builder waranteed it for the first year so that was a different situation. You don't say whether your new house is actually new or just "new to you", but for existing homes (as opposed to new builds) I think the warranty is a good idea. It might help your peace of mind too.

04-19-2006, 12:51 PM
Mom2alix - I was thinking about purchasing the home warranty you mentioned. Our relator seemed to gloss over it and DH said he didn't want to spend the extra money. It costs about $700. I was thinking it might be worth it. Thanks for the advice. I will mention it to DH and see if it's not too late to add it.

familyoffive - thanks for the advice. My bil gave us similar advice about setting up a monthly maintenance fund so we can always have a place to go for unexpected repairs or routine maintenance. I have already built that into our new budget. I like your idea about coming up with contract names so we have people to go when things break down.

You guys are wonderful! I'm going to cut and paste all your suggestions into a Word doc for future reference.

04-19-2006, 02:17 PM
I know something happens on May 18 and then we go to the title company on May 19, sign papers and get our keys, is that closing? We pay prorated interest on our house starting May 19 when we get the keys so again I'm not sure what exactly happens on May 18.

May 19 is your closing. I'm guessing that May 18 is your pre-closing walkthrough, when you go through the property and just make sure nothing has changed drastically (a gaping hole hasn't opened in the roof, they haven't moved out the washer and dryer if your contract says they stay, and so forth).

04-19-2006, 03:05 PM
snowbunny - That makes sense. I have a call in to my realtor to ask her when our final walkthrough was going to be but now I know. I guess this will be when we see if the things on the violation list are fixed and if the things they agree to on the addendum have been taken care of as well. We're getting more and more excited as each day passes!

04-19-2006, 04:38 PM
I just have one word of advice, stay away from FADS! We moved in to this home 10 years ago, it was in need of some repair and we got a good deal on it so we were ready to tackle the world. Needless to say we spent lots on nice wallpaper, and other stuff that was in all the decorative books at the time and picked out all those nice colors you dreamed of painting your walls (the double rollers, and textures....etc). Needless to say we had to redo all of it over again when those fads went away and truly dated the home. We went back with basic and classic, and it sold in a week when we placed it on the market last month.

We are placing a contract on a house tonight that is another home in need of repair, but the foundation is good and the home is in a good neighborhood and we'll go from there. But we will be going back with classic style, instead of whatever new fad of texture paint or wall covering/fixtures....etc are out.

It'll save you from doing it again :) when the fad dies.

04-19-2006, 05:28 PM
Congratulations! We have owned our house for 13 years, and I love being a homeowner!

First of all, do a walk through the day (or the morning of) the paper-signing. Don't let anybody dissuade you of this. Make sure the previous owner didn't take anything with them that they were supposed to leave, and make sure they didn't leave a big mess. You should take possession of the house immediately after closing.

What I love about being a homeowner:I love driving up to my hose and getting that warm, fuzzy, "It's ours!" feeling. It still happens, expecially after the yard guys have come and mowed! :sunny:

I love that nobody can sell the house out from under us (as two of our 3 landlords did back in our renting days).

I love that we can make as much noise as we want (DH plays guitar,mandolin,and banjo--nuff said!). We are on just under an acre of land, and all our neighbors have large lots (plus woods/creek buffer),so we don't have to worry about disturbing people.

I love that I don't have to listen to other peoples' noise! (Apartment life is not for me!)

Decorating advice: don't go into debt to decorate your new house (you already know that!). Also, I love color, and my decor is very colorful, fun, individual, and whimsical, but I took my mother-in-law's advice about keeping the floors and walls neutral. It really does make redecorating easier (my taste has changed a lot over the years!), and ivory walls and carpeting seem to "light up" the colors I use in the rest of the decor.

Budget-wise, you most likely will find your income going up over the years, and your house payment will be less of a stretch. We're not even tempted to move up to a bigger or newer house--our payment fits nicely into our budget now!

Have a blast! :wizard:

04-19-2006, 06:32 PM
First off - if something stupid happens don't beat yourself up about it - just over a year ago - we sold what had been our first house and bought this one and I'm sorry to say I don't think we were a whole lot smarter. That said - make sure you already have your own attorney for the closing - I don't care if the agent says you don't need one - get the lawyer (your own - not theirs)!!!! make sure you have the walk through and can make absolutely sure any repairs have been made correctly - or you don't have to close - or they will have to take money off right then for it to go through - this is something you need your lawyer for. As for home warranty - find our how it works - the one with this house was worthless - you call the company say something doesn't work - they tell you it will be a $75 charge for them to show up - if what is broken isn't covered ( and you can bet it won't be) you are obligated for the whole repair bill. I'm sure there may be decent plans - but the one Caldwell Banker had was a joke. Anyway - just think about it - frequently it is the seller that purchases it (thank God) - also make sure you have a competent inspector with no "agenda" shall we say. Whatever else happens - you will get through it - in the end it will be fine - don't be afraid to ask questions - good luck - owning your own home is great - you'll be fine! Good luck, I'm really happy for you!

Teresa Pitman
04-19-2006, 06:57 PM
I'm a single parent, and I just bought my first house nearly two years ago, when I was 48. It took me a long time to be in a position to buy, and some months the money is pretty tight, but I am so happy to be a home-owner! Even on my worst days, when I walk into MY kitchen or sit in MY sunroom enjoying my breakfast, I just have to smile.

I had looked at quite a few houses over a period of about six months, and just didn't see anything that I really liked. I was beginning to feel despair, that there was nothing I would like in my price range. Then my realtor called to say a house had just come on the market that she thought would suit me. When I walked in the front door, I knew this was it. It has everything that was on my list and more.

So far, we have not had any major problems (and I had all kinds of problems in the houses we rented - from a kitchen ceiling that came crashing down one day, to bathroom wiring that caught on fire, to a furnace that broke down and the landlord wouldn't do anything about it for four days and it was midwinter, to a porch floor that gave way when one of my sons walked on it, etc.). I did redo the main bathroom because water had gotten in behind the tiles, but it only cost me about $1,000. I have more plans but will need to save up money first!

I think you will be surprised how much you enjoy owning your own house. It even makes me smile when I get a survey or something and they ask if you rent or own and I can check off "own." Maybe that's just because I had so many years of renting.


04-19-2006, 07:08 PM
1) Put together a list of trustworthy contractors that others have used(i.e. plumbers, electricians, heat/ac, window companies, etc.) You will want to know who to call before an emergency, not during

2) Before doing any projects, work on building an emergency fund for the house if you don't already have one

3) Begin with small, easily completed projects(knobs on cabinets, painting a room, etc). These will give you a sense of accomplishment quickly and inexpensively

4) Make a list of projects and prioritize it. Revisit the list every 3 months and you will have plan where you want your house to go.

Now, relax and enjoy knowing that you have your own home! :thumbsup2

Great advice! Our previous realtor and the owner were our best resources for referral to fix-it people. Nice to have some names to call when you need them. My hubby is not at all handy so you'll do good there!

It is amazing what small changes will do to a place. A fresh coat of paint goes a long way along w/new lightplates & lighting fixtures. We can't afford to do any big stuff but we did replace all the dated faucets & lights. It makes the dated stuff look better.

Painting beat up wood helps a bunch too. My daughter's bath had a wooden framed medicine cabinet that I painted white & it completely changed the look. We have those dark laminate wood cabinets like the poster mentioned but new knobs & white paint give them new life. I like fixer uppers/dated homes as long as they are structurally sound. It's fun to look back on the before & after decorating. Enjoy playing with your new home!

04-20-2006, 09:30 AM
Again, many thanks to you all for sharing your experiences and giving us such great advice. So much of what you guys are saying, I've never even given a second thought to so it's nice to have others experiences to go by. Sometimes this process seems so overwhelming and I told my husband we should just forget it and stay renters - fear of the unknown I guess. But we've driven passed the house a couple of times and every time we do, I smile to myself thinking that it's "ours". :love:

I love all the decorating advice too. Our house is painted a funky grey with grey and white trim and I don't like it at all. We would love to get it vinyl sided but can't afford it yet and I was getting frustrated about that. But you guys help me to realize that just making some minor cosmetic changes to the outside to "lighten" things up will help. I was thinking of painting the ugly grey door red and painting the awnings a lighter color plus adding some bright flowers to the front yard and that will brighten things up. I also want to pull up the plastic flowers the previous owners have in the front yard - yuck!

I also appreciated the advice about not sweating making mistakes, which I know we will make plenty. And the advice of what to look for at our final closing and the importance of having our own attorney. DISers are sure some knowledgeable people and I'm so glad I posted my question here!

I want to give a special "shout out" to the single parents that own their own homes. I was a single parent for a few years before I met DH and it was such a struggle for me and my son. Even affording this house now won't be easy the first few years (we're even selling our beloved DVC!) but I know deep down it will be worth it and I'll keep telling myself that if single parents can make owning a home a reality and be successful, then so can we!

Any others that would like to share their experiences or make comments, we'd love to hear them!!!

04-20-2006, 11:57 AM
My Dh and I just closed on our first home 4/10, so we are still in the first flush of new homeownership! We haven't even had to make a payment yet, but I am still dreading it. I don't think I slept for days after our offer had been accepted and I knew we were buying a house, so I can imagine how you're feeling!

I think my best advice for the closing is to take a day or 2 off of work right after the closing if possible. We did the same thing you are doing - closed the middle of the month even though we don't have to be out of our rental house until 4/30. I saved my vacation time for when we were actually moving (this weekend!), but I ended up really wishing I had the day after the closing off. I had to leave work 3 times that day to meet people at the house (oil company, electric company) all of which was unexpected since the sellers left the house without any oil at all, and had the electricity shut off. I was so stressed that I could barely work at all.

Also, prepare to be very tired the first couple weeks. We still have so much we want to get done before we move in this weekend, so we have been at the house straight from work until after 11 pm every day cleaning and painting and doing the other projects we really want done. The advice to prioritize projects is right on, because of both money and time. The first thing we did after the closing was take a good look at everything in the house emptied out. Then we wrote down what we want to ideally do in the house, what needed to be done before moving in, and what we would like done within the first few months of moving in. The longer term projects, like redoing the bathroom, are on the list for the future, perhaps with a tax refund. Right now we're focused only on what immediately needs to be done for us to move in there comfortably. It can be very overwhelming when you first walk into the house after you own it and think of everything you want to do to it!

Try to get as much packed at the home you are moving out of before the closing as possible. Once you own the house, if you're like us, you'll want to spend all your time there working on the house. We packed some, but not enough. Now I have to spend my whole day off tomorrow packing and cleaning at the old house, not painting the living room at the new house like I really want to do.

Good luck with everything! I don't have too much advice about long term ownership, since I'm just starting too, but hopefully this advice will help a little with the first few weeks.

04-21-2006, 07:37 AM
I have loved all the wonderful advice given. I'm giving my thread one more bump to the top in case anyone else would like to share homeowner pearls of wisdom with me and DH. Thanks everyone once again for all your valuable tips and advice!