What I’ve Learned from the First Year of Home Ownership

It’s in some ways hard to believe that one year ago on December 13th we closed on our house and started moving in later that day. A year removed from that date, it seems hard to think it has been a year. In many ways we have made it our home and it seems like we’ve been living here longer than just a year. In other ways, it is hard to think we’ve lived here a year already and that we’re quickly closing in on the end of another year.

Regardless, I thought I would just commemorate the anniversary with some things that we’ve learned, or at least I can say I’ve learned, over the past year when it comes to owning a house.

1. It is a Lot of Work – We have only rented before so we never really had to shovel driveways completely, mow lawns, or try to repair any major issues that came up. This is not the case when you own a house. You’re the one who has to do the work or you have to hire someone else to do it. Plus a house tends to be a lot more space than renting an apartment and thus simply requires more work to clean and maintain.

This isn’t entirely a bad thing as it also allows for more creative freedom. You can paint rooms and replace parts of the house that you dislike with whatever you want, but even this will require work. We’ve just found that it is a bit more work keeping up a house with a lawn than what we’ve had to do the previous eight years while living in an apartment.

2. We Feel More Rooted – After years of only renting, one of the things that drew us to buy a house was to intentionally be a part of the community that we’re living. Now while we haven’t made any significant connections this past year, it has even been nice being a part of the neighborhood trick or treating and putting up Christmas lights.

Hopefully as time goes by we’ll also be more connected to the people we live near, but I suppose time will tell how that goes. We have met some of our neighbors, but we’ll see if that will develop into anything more.

The down side of this is that a house is a major investment and roots you into place in not so good ways too. Paying off a mortgage, repairs, maintenance, and improvements to the house is an easy way to shed a lot of money. Not that we’re really planning to be moving anywhere else anytime soon, but it would make such a decision very difficult to pull off too fast.

3. Having More Space Takes Getting Used To – When we lived in apartments our living space tended to be very condensed. We would have our computer and our television in the same room, fairly close to each other, and it would mean that the whole family was always together, often times you could even see the kitchen from the living room too so nobody was out of sight unless they were going to the bathroom, sleeping or doing laundry.

This has not been the case of our new house. You can’t see the kitchen from the living room. The computer and television are now in separate rooms. This took everyone a lot of time to get used to. Personally I’ve enjoyed the ability to have a bit more space, but not everyone has shared that sentiment.

4. Improving A Home is an Ongoing Endeavor – Sometimes I get caught up feeling like we should be doing more to get our home the way we would like it and get discouraged when we don’t have the time or the money to do certain things. However, something I’ve had to learn and even re-learn a bit this past year is that we don’t have to get everything the way we want it right away. We can do one thing at a time and everything doesn’t have to done right now.

Not only that, but over time things will break and need repaired or replaced and there will be no end to that. Even if we were able to fully realize all the dreams we have for our house it still wouldn’t be over. There will still be the need to work to maintain and update as time goes on. That’s just the way life goes.

So these are the things that I’ve learned over the past year. We have really enjoyed living in a house the past year and it has been nicer than renting, even though we had mostly good renting experiences. I’d also be lying though to say it hasn’t included more work and that it has been a bit difficult to do all the work we need with two young kids. Hopefully we’ll continue to enjoy our house and improve it little by little over the years.




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