This is a contributed post
Ah, the joys of owning your own home. Can you tell I’m being slightly sarcastic? There are certainly benefits to owning your first piece of property. You finally have some capital that you can fall back on when times are hard, and that’s reassuring. Let’s say, heaven forbid, you lose your job. If you own your home then at the very least you can take comfort knowing that you’ll still have a place to live. In fact, if you’ve paid off the mortgage, you could either keep the home and wait for your life to bounce back or sell it and stay stable without ever running into the issue of debt. Even if you haven’t paid off the mortgage, you will still have the option of renegotiating it while your finances sort themselves out.
On top of this, you will also have a lot more freedom when you own property. Anyone who has rented will know it can feel as though you’re walking on eggshells wandering around the property. You can’t put things on walls, you can’t make changes. You might, in some cases, not even be able to change the colour of the walls. At this point, you might start to wonder whether you can even call a rented property ‘home.’
You see, there’s plenty of benefits to owning property. But there are also some trials and tribulations that you’re going to have to go through. This is pretty much a rite of passage for homeowners so if you’re experiencing some of these troubles right now, don’t worry, you’re not alone. There are a lot of people going through exactly the same thing as you. Without further ado then, let’s look at some of the issues you’ll encounter when you own property. We’ll start by thinking about everyone’s favourite topic.
Bills, Bills, Bills
You might be thinking at this point, ‘hey what’s the big deal? I’ve dealt with bills before.’ True, no matter where you lived before you will have had to deal with bills but not quite like this. You see when you buy a home you typically look for a property with a few rooms because you’ll be thinking about a growing family. That’s understandable, but you have to be prepared for the changes in the cost of the bills. Suddenly, you’re not paying for the electric and heating of a one bedroom apartment but an entire house.
This is why it’s perhaps advisable to make the energy rating of a home you buy a top concern. Anything between A and C is acceptable, but as soon as you hit the Ds, you’re probably buying a place that will cost a lot of energy to heat and power. Of course, you can make changes once you move in but that’s going to cost money, and we’ll talk about that a little further down.
The lesson here? When you buy your first home make sure that you do have enough money in your monthly budget to afford the bills and any other perhaps unexpected costs such as an increased amount of tax. Now that we’ve covered costs let’s look at renovations.
I’ve Bought It, Now Let’s Improve It
There are a few reasons why people immediately think about redesigns, remodels and renovations when they buy a home. First, if you’re buying a property these days, there’s a strong possibility that you will be purchasing a second-hand home which is probably a bit of a fixer-upper. People do this in the hope of saving money on the purchase and buying a bigger home with a smaller deposit. However, these houses are always going to be old-fashioned and may have a little too much wear and tear to be a comfortable place to live. So, once people buy they immediately get out their tools and start looking for ways to improve it.
There’s another reason why people start renovating as soon as they buy too. Remember, one of the benefits of buying is that you finally own your little piece of land and you have the freedom to do what you want to it. People are often quick to realise this possibility because they want to put their mark on the home. They also want to make sure that the property feels like their home, rather than the home of whoever lived there before.
Do you know the average cost of renovations in the first year of owning a home? It’s at least a few thousand which is why it might just be best to purchase a new home and dodge this additional cost completely.
There’s another issue that you need to be aware of when completing renovations and remodels in your home. You might not quite have the freedom you hoped for. Let’s look at an extreme example. Perhaps, you want to paint your house fluorescent pink. Ignoring the obvious question of why let’s jump to whether or not you’re allowed. The answer might be complicated because when you buy a home, you’ll often sign an agreement stating your home design won’t stray too far from the rest of the house’s on the street. Fine, you say, I didn’t want a stupid pink house anyway. But wait because that agreement can extend to smaller details from the colour of your front door to whether or not your backyard has a pool.
For these types of changes, you will have to get permission and approval before you start work.
Yay, I Have A Garden! Oh No…I Have A Garden!
Gardening isn’t for everyone, but when you have one, you don’t really have many options other than to look after it. You can hire someone to look after it for you, but that’s going to be expensive, and if you’re dealing with mortgage repayments as well as other costs, you probably don’t want to add this one on.
Don’t worry though, there are some quick, easy ways to make your garden as easy to maintain as possible and avoid endless hours in dreary weather frowning at flowers you planted lovingly that just won’t bloom.
The best advice here is to limit the level of grass you have in your garden and instead of concrete it as much as possible. Of course, you probably don’t want your garden to look like a play park because a) that will attract kids from the neighbourhood and b) it completely obliterates your curb appeal. To add a little colour and make your garden look like, well…a garden, use astroturf. It doesn’t grow, so it doesn’t need to be cut, and it’s not alive. Watch your neighbours go green with envy to make up for their brown grass as yours stays lush all year around.
Of course, if you make these changes to your garden you’re going to have a lot of green waste and rubbish. If you are going to set up a low maintenance garden, then my advice would be to use a service like Dirty Cheap Rubbish Removal. They’ll remove all your green waste for you and ensure that your garden doesn’t look like a mess for months after you’ve completed the landscaping work. After all, you can’t make the neighbours green with envy if your front yard looks like a construction site can you? So, you need to make sure that the green waste is collected right away.
You might be thinking, ‘hey, why don’t I just wait for my local rubbish collection service to pick up that green waste and save myself some cash.’ Well, you might be waiting a while. If it doesn’t all fit in your bin, they probably won’t pick it up, and there’s also the possibility that they don’t come as often as you like. If that’s the case, you’ll have that rubbish for a lot longer.
Darn, Something’s Broken, Call The…Oh Wait
There’s definitely at least one benefit of renting property, and that’s being able to call the landlord when something goes wrong. Problem with the plumbing? Call the landlord! The issue with the heating? The landlord to the rescue. When you own a house, it’s more a case of what’s wrong, how much will it cost to fix and can we afford it?
That’s why you want to try and avoid potentially expensive unaffordable issues with your home. You have more responsibility as a homeowner to check your property. The good news is that there are plenty of services you can use this for this. For instance, you can get your heating checked every six months. The benefit of this is that if an issue is discovered, it will make a fix a lot cheaper, rather than a full replacement of the system that could cost thousands.
As such, being a homeowner requires you to hope for the best and always prepare for the worst. If you don’t do this, you might find yourself in the position where your home is costing far more than you could possibly afford.
I hope you find this advice helpful and that it allows you to tackle some of the slight snags that come with being a homeowner.
This post was contributed to Life, Love and Dirty Dishes