First-Time Home Buyers | Extra Mile

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.

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3 Responses to "Buying a House: 25 Things I Wish I Knew at 25"

  • Mapo | October 24, 2017 at 12:48 pm

    This is my third house I acquired. After I got separated I had my wishes to own a historical or at least a Vitoria era home. Searched all over for months while I moved into an apartment I rented. Finally after many trips I was able to find the house of my dreams, a house built in 1772, in good fair condition, but with a lot of work to do. So here what is my advice to you if you are buying a house under 415,000. Go FHA/ HUD if it’s your first house or your life status changed...you will win big buy doing it. I sold my house and my life status changed from married to divorced, so, I was ok to buy using this method which was great deal. The house was on foreclosure, by using HUD/ FHA the bank must fix the house for you so it comply with HUD to be in livable conditions. I got new electric box, new furnace, new water heater, few new windows done by the bank who owned the house. Once I moved in I replaced roofs, installed solar panels, removed carpets and finished hard flooring. Did some plumbing and electric to be more modernized, I installed new hood and range stove top, ( which was used in great conditions). I bought oops paint gallons at Home Depot for 9.00 instead of original price of 45.00 per gallon. I used unexpensive handyman, searched google for unexpensive roofers. I got all of these done ( excluded solar panel) for less than 11,000. Remember one thing, once you buy a house people think you are rich or you have a lots of money. So be like “ this is what I can pay you, not more than that”, if the person wants the job then they will do it for what you can afford to pay him. Do your yard work at the end of autum or on winter when landscapers are off of jobs, it’s much cheaper too. I have one acre to clean up and it will be done at winter time so I will save money. It take a lot for us women to accomplish things in our own, but we can do it. I find it much easier for men to get good deal, so I do pai with some males once things doesn’t go right on my own. Buying a house is the best investment we can do, so do not install your TV until you have all your hints accomplished, TV can and will keep you from working around the house.

  • Gpyle | October 21, 2017 at 8:59 pm

    Pay for your own inspection, don't use an inspector recommended by the seller or, especially, the real estate agent. And read the fine print in the inspection report. Most of them say that the results are "an opinion" on the condition of the house. The inspectors specifically exclude any liability for things they missed.

  • Nunyainct | October 17, 2017 at 3:00 am

    I bought a contemporary. The house itself is 2200 sq ft, the roof was 4400 sq ft because of the extended eaves...lesson learned, massive roof, massive roof bill for a complete tear down. Think out your projected expenses for necessities in addition to the wish list of other renovations.

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