What To Expect After You Buy Your First Home

January 23, 2013

The papers for your first home are signed, the keys are in-hand, and you’ve started unpacking box after box of junk that you can’t figure out why you still own. You have probably spent the last six months to a year researching how to buy a home, but now that you are moved in, what can you expect in the next five years?

  1. You might as well move in to your local home improvement store. Houses, new and old, require constant up-keep. Paint will need touching up, light fixtures need replacing, the lawn will demand perpetual attention, and eventually a major appliance will bite the dust. No matter if your home is a fixer-upper or move-in ready, trips to the home improvement store will become a monthly -- if not weekly -- occurrence.
  2. Where did all the space go? Many people consider ample storage space and extra square footage when purchasing a new home.  A few years down the road, you start to realize that every last square inch of space is crammed with all the stuff that you’ve either accumulated, or worse, never unpacked from the move.  Even if you are good about recycling or donating items you no longer use, the extra space will slowly start to disappear over time, especially if your family grows.
  3. You’re a slob. No, really. After the big cleaning that usually takes place when moving into a new house, you think vacuuming here and there and dusting every now and again will do the trick.  Wrong! Dirt and dust accumulate in places you’d never think of cleaning -- like above door frames, window sills, the floor boards, and on top of the refrigerator.  Not to mention the wear and tear of carpets, soap scum in the shower, burnt-on crud in the oven, and grubby windows -- inside and out. It’s a lot of work to keep a house sparkling clean, and if you have pets, you have an even harder battle.
  4. Your tax returns will be awesome. You now get to deduct your mortgage interest, property taxes, and take advantage of a whole bunch of other deductions, if applicable, every year. These deductions reduce your tax bill substantially and, for some, this may translate to a large tax refund.  Certainly, make sure you consult a tax professional for any tax advice.
  5. Do what you want! If you haven’t figured it out by now, the house is yours! So do with it what you want.  Paint every room purple.  Dedicate an entire room to your action figure collection. Install a slide into your basement. As long as you’re within the proper zoning, code, and HOA regulations, make your house your sanctuary and enjoy coming home to your personal paradise every day.
  6. Time to move. Typically, homes are long-term investments.  However, after five or 10 years, your personal situation may change, which means it might be time to move.  Perhaps you need more space, want to move closer to your job, or you are ready to move on to bigger and better things. Or your tastes have changed and you are ready to tackle a major renovation.  No matter what, your needs will evolve over time and your home may or may not be able to evolve with you.

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