Matt McAlister
Monday, January 1, 2018

Advice From Current Homeowners

What’s the best way to get practical advice on owning a home? Go to the source, of course.

Long-time homeowners have a wealth of insights into how to make owning property much easier. Below are some of their best tips and insider thoughts.

Tip #1: Everything Takes Longer Than You Expect

You’ve found the house you want and made a bid that was accepted. But you can’t move in for two months because the current homeowner has to move out first. What gives? This is reality for new homeowners who want to move in right away. The process of owning a home takes time and you must be prepared to “hurry up and wait.” Yes, you had to put your proposal in quickly, but that doesn’t mean you get the keys tomorrow. So take your foot off the gas and take a deep breath.

Tip #2: You May Not Feel at Home at First

Every squeaking floorboard and strange noise in your new home will likely turn your head if not startle you at first. Is it normal for the house or something to be concerned about? In general, those strange sounds are probably just the house itself and all its heating, air conditioning and plumbing equipment. Unless you hear dripping or the fire alarm goes off, you’re likely just adjusting to a new place. Even though you adored the home before you moved in, don’t expect to feel passionately in love during the first few weeks. Like any relationship, forging a bond with your house will take some time. You may even discover that you miss certain elements of your old home, even if you were ready to leave it. Remember that going to a new home involves the loss of a former residence, which may elicit the pangs of grief.

Tip #3: Expect the Unexpected

It’s raining like crazy outside and you suddenly realize that the basement is turning into an indoor pool. This is more than you ever expected — and not the way you wanted to spend a cloudy, gloomy Saturday. Welcome to homeownership! The unexpected can and will occur, whether you build a new house with the help of a semi-custom homebuilder or you buy an existing property. You should always have a solid home insurance plan to cover applicable damages as well as a little extra money in the bank to take care of emergencies.

Tip #4: It Takes a Year to Get the Ropes

Until you’ve lived in your neighborhood for at least a year, you won’t really feel like you’re totally home. Every season brings with it new opportunities and challenges, such as a field of tulips — how do you keep them looking pristine? — you didn’t realize were in your backyard because you moved in the late autumn! Roll with the punches as you go month to month and keep notes to remind yourself of significant items. That way, your second year will feel a lot more comfortable and relaxed.

Tip #5: You Might Wind Up With Aloof Neighbors

You don’t have to be friends with your neighborhoods, regardless of what TV sitcoms imply. Neighbors should generally be cordial and respectful to each other, but needn’t be bosom buddies. Don’t get trapped into the thought that if you have a barbeque you need to invite everyone next door. If they’re responsible and understanding adults, they won’t be hurt by a lack of invitation to hang out.

At this point, you’re armed with a wealth of knowledge that can only come from experience. Use it to turn your homeownership experience into one of the best journeys of your life.

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