You made the offer, avoided the pitfalls, cleared inspections and finally closed on your first house! Woo Whoo! Congratulations all around!
But just because the contract is signed and the keys are handed over, it doesn’t mean you’re home free.
You can still make some costly blunders as a new homeowner like:
Doing massive renovations right away
Tearing down a wall here, expanding the kitchen there, retiling the fireplace etc. might all sound like easy fixes to make the house you want to buy perfect for you.
So when we move in, it’s natural to want to take our house up a notch right away.
But don’t yield to temptation
Give yourself time to feel out the house. Something that drove you crazy every time you viewed the house, might not bother you as much once you’ve placed your furniture and hung your curtains. In fact, you may even like it!
If it’s not a must-do now – like changing grimey carpets or replacing a broken window – then try to give yourself a few months of living in the house before making drastic changes.
Your pocketbook will thank you also.
Trying to decorate the whole house on day 1
We all watch HGTVs Property Brothers and Fixer Upper and it looks amazing to walk into a fully decorated house all the way to the knick-knacks on the bookshelf. But most of those lived in designs come from accumulating furniture over time, not just buying it all in a catalog which can be very expensive.
You just bought your home, no one will think any less of you if you don’t have matching chairs and ottomans (or chairs at all) several months after purchase. And if they do, then you don’t want them in your house anyway.
Take your time. Give your bank account time to recover. Your renter’s style might be much different than your homeowner’s style so allow yourself to adjust.
Keep looking for houses
We do it all the time with everything!
We want to be certain we found a good deal so we keeping looking online for the sweater we just bought to see if we could have gotten it cheaper or if there were nicer ones available, and it’s relatively harmless when it’s on a small purchase.
But constantly looking for homes after you just spent hundreds of thousands of dollars purchasing one can fuel a buyer’s remorse that cannot be rectified cheaply or quickly.
You can’t take your house back to the bank for a return and you’ll end up beating yourself up about your ‘mistake’ every day until you finally sell the house. You picked the best house available for the price you are comfortable with – now enjoy the spoils.
Blowing your equity on toys
That patio may be perfect for a covered deck, and the basement might be begging to be finished, but tapping the newfound equity can leave you stranded if a major repair comes around – like the furnace dying or refrigerator breaking.
Your equity can be s saving grace to cover major unexpected expenses that occur before you rebuild your emergency fund.
And while owning is fun, but we all KNOW that things will break and need repair.
It’s not a question of if, it’s a matter of when. So we’ll want to have reserves or access to credit if something happens.
Taking the plunge into homeownership isn’t something most folks take likely, but one thing is for sure that the preparation, potential pot-holes, anxiety, and ‘rainy day saving’ doesn’t end as soon as the home is purchased. It carries on well into the 30 years of the typical mortgage.
But as long as we fully understand and accept the possible consequences of our actions, even if we fall for a mistake or two it will be a good story to tell other future home buyers, instead of a tale of regret.