For many of us, buying our first home was our first glimpse of “adult life.” From furnace troubles to stained carpets, the experience of finding your first place is as stressful as it is rewarding. It is an unforgettable rite of passage that no person can fully be prepared for. We asked 25 people what is the one thing they wish they knew at 25 before buying their first house, and this is what they said:
1. The planned timeline for every “easy project” should be multiplied by three, to account for all of the “not-so-easy” issues that come up along the way. It literally happens every time. — Alyssa F.
2. Home renovations are stressful and time-consuming, but if you stick it out and do it right the first time, you will save yourself years of stress (and money!). — Salvatore Z.
3. Live at home with your parents for as long as you can. Those that critique people that live at home are just jealous of the rent free lifestyle. — Ben D.
4. Make sure to know the difference between septic and city water. Otherwise, you could find yourself in a crappy situation. — Jen N.
5. Most people want to change five or six things they don’t like about a new home before moving in. Live in the home for six months first and you will find five or six new things that bother you more! — Jake F.
6. Pay attention to lawn size, patios, trees, etc. Remember that more yard means more yard work. — Amanda A.
7. Don’t get emotionally attached to a house until it is closed. It is good to envision yourself living there, but until you close there are so many things that can come up. — Matt B.
8. Don’t forget the little necessities! Nothing is more frustrating than when you are in the middle of cooking your first meal and realize you don’t have a can-opener… — Maria L.
9. Closing costs are like a black hole, you have to make sure you understand what your closing is composed of. A tip: know the amount of oil remaining in the furnace! — Belma K.
10. In my first place, I wish I had noticed the thickness/hollowness of walls earlier. I could hear almost everything in the apartments that surrounded me. — Shay O.
11. While inspections are required by the bank, getting another look from someone who has experience with homes can be extremely beneficial. It is always good to use a second pair of eyes! — Paul A.
12. There will always be something that “needs to be done” on the house, and sometimes, it’s okay to just sit outside and drink wine instead. — Alyssa F.
13. Keep your calendars as open as possible, especially in the beginning. Between service appointments or just unpacking, you’ll need to be flexible. — Joe F.
14. Your credit score will dictate more than you think, not just when buying a house but in all aspects of your life. Make sure you have a good one! — Alphonso D.
15. Don’t get a pet right away (unless it’s a fish). As tempting as it may be, you will be too busy with appointments, projects, or simply unpacking. — Abby Z.
16. When buying a fixer-upper, do not get attached to what it “could” look like without talking to contractors or other experts. — Robert B.
17. If I had known what poison ivy looked like, it would have saved me from two weeks of itching! — Matt B.
18. If you buy a house with a lot of land, make sure you’re prepared. Invest in the big stuff (lawn mower, snow blower, etc.) but don’t forget the little things (rake, shovel, etc.)! — Frank I.
19. Be nice to your neighbors, especially when you are just moving in. A good first impression goes a long way. You never know when you might need them. — Neil E.
20. Don’t get hung up on paint color, carpeting, or anything that can be easily changed. Focus on the more expensive or permanent things, even if they are less visible. — Mary E.
21. As pretty as mature trees can be, if your lot has a ton of them then I would advise cutting some down. They’re not only a ton of work, but can be dangerous! — Greg A.
22. When packing your own moving van, use boxes that are all the same size (rather than boxes you collect from here and there). This makes for more efficient packing, especially for out-of-state moves. — Lucie J.
23. When shopping for paint, many stores have “used” pints or gallons that are still almost full but sold at half the price. Great for bathroom renos or other projects! — Sue S.
24. You can change nearly everything about your house, except for one thing: location. Do your research and pick the best neighborhood for you. — Camilla N.
25. Go into your basement, even if you don’t have a use for it. We neglected to check on our basement for about a month, and when I finally made it downstairs, there was about a foot of water. Gross and a pain! — Beth G.
A final note, whether you’re buying a starter house or a forever home, make sure you have the right home insurance.