September 24, 2022

Why No One Is Ever Truly Prepared for Home Ownership

At the time this post was written, the annual spring real estate season was just getting underway. All over the country, eager renters are now bursting at the seams to get out and start viewing homes. It is a rite of passage we see every year. And yet, how many potential first-time buyers are truly prepared to own a home?

Truth be told, very few – if any at all. The fact is that no one is ever truly prepared for home ownership no matter how much research they do. Why? Because, like parenting, every situation is different. No amount of blog post reading or handyman video-watching can account for the different experiences each homeowner faces.

Regular Maintenance Is Required

It goes without saying that a home has to be maintained. Most renters never give a second thought to maintenance because landlords handle those things. When you are in an apartment, you don’t have to mow the lawn or shovel the snow. You do not have to caulk around the windows, trim the hedges, and make sure the garden hose is coiled up and put away.

Fully understanding all the maintenance that goes into a home is difficult for someone who has only rented. You never truly grasp the scope of home maintenance until you are in the thick of it. But that is just the start. There are also repairs.

Things Break

Maintenance includes things like cutting the grass and washing windows. Repairs are all about replacing or fixing things that break. Major repairs cover things like roof replacement and HVAC repair. Minor repairs include things like replacing a door handle and fixing that kitchen drawer that tends to stick.

No matter how you look at it, there is always the question of doing the work yourself or hiring a professional. DIY work may or may not save you money, depending on whether your efforts make things worse. Professional service definitely costs, but is it in your budget?

Everything Else

The stresses that come with home ownership are part of the maintenance category, the repair category, or the ‘everything else’ category. This third category is incredibly broad. Items in this category run the gamut from paying property taxes to making sure your homeowner’s insurance is up to snuff. It never ends.

Vivint Smart Home, a company that provides home automation and security equipment, published a blog post discussing 20 essential things new homeowners should know about their homes. The list discusses things like:

  • pest control
  • knowing your property lines
  • locating and shutting off utilities
  • installing and testing smoke alarms
  • locating individual wall studs
  • locating the source of water leaks.

The list goes on and on. A new homeowner might see Vivint’s list and be convinced that it iscomprehensive. An experienced homeowner would know it’s not even close. Even the most experienced among us would have trouble creating a comprehensive list of all the things homeowners have to think about. There are just too many.

Still Worth It

None of this is to say that owning a home is not worth it. Some people feel that way, and that’s fine. But for anyone who wants to own their piece of the American dream, all the time, effort, and money put into home ownership is still worth it.

It is up to you to decide where you stand. Just know this: there is a ton more to owning a home than simply paying your mortgage and cutting the grass. It is a very intense enterprise that is bound to surprise you time and again.