Adventures in Home Ownership

As I wrote about in my last post, my fiancée and I bought our first house. We closed on May 15 and officially moved in on May 28. Here it is almost mid-September and frankly, there are still unpacked boxes and little projects to be done (and bigger ones planned for and dreamt about for the future).

The first thing one learns when going from renting to owning is that picking up the phone and calling maintenance to come fix something ceases to be an option. Thankfully, nothing major requiring a trained, licensed technician has occurred, but still – home ownership is evidently a never ending string of do it yourself projects. Project number one, naturally, was changing the locks. While I’m sure the previous owner gave us all the keys, it’s just peace of mind to spend $50 on new doorknobs and deadbolts at Home Depot and change everything out. In the ensuing weeks, hundreds of additional dollars have been spent on things for the house. We found a rebuilt riding lawnmower on Craigslist for $350 and have subsequently put another $140 into maintenance and repairs so we can keep our very large yard cut, $180 on push mower to get the spots the riding mower can’t get to, $100 each for a weed eater and blower. I also bought a new drill and other sundry tools to help make home projects easier with a wish list of others to soon follow. I’ve lost track of how much we’ve spent to be honest. We bought a new king size bed from IKEA and a mattress for it from a mattress liquidator (not a bad deal really; $1500 Serta mattress for $750). I’ve made so many trips to the local Ace Hardware I just about remember several of the employee’s names there now, usually for little things that I don’t want to have to go all the way to Home Depot to get. And we haven’t even really gotten started on the projects we’d like to do such as turning the extra garage bay into a proper tool room and workshop.

Speaking of lawnmowers and yard work, I have to admit there are times when I wonder what the hell I was thinking buying a house with so much land! It’s been an interesting challenge to keep it cut with the back-and forth of summer rain storms followed by weeks of no rain as is the case in the southeast. There were a couple of times the mower didn’t seem to be doing much because the lack of rain meant the grass hadn’t really grown overly much. Other times, it raining just one or two days out of the week it grew so much that cutting it was a chore even with a riding mower (having to constantly stop to pull clippings out of the deflector).

I’m quite pleased I decided to buy a home warranty. I haven’t used it yet, but it is pretty obvious I need to soon. While there aren’t any major issues with the house, the stove needs some work or to be replace since one burner won’t light (at least, not without using a lighter) and the oven temperature is off by 25-50° and the broiler doesn’t work at all. The tub in the third bathroom downstairs needs repair/replacement too. Neither of those are things that need to be done immediately, but since we have the warranty I figure I might as well try to see if they can be covered by that before it expires next May.

Still, even with the added expenses and chores involved with being a home owner, I wouldn’t give up my 4 bedrooms, 3 full bathrooms, 2100 square feet house that sits on 0.79 acres of land to go back to the tiny 2bed 2bath townhouse we were renting before.

~ JC

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