So, you’ve purchased your first home. Congratulations! As a fellow homeowner, I wanted to share a few things I wish I had known prior to purchasing.

 

1. A pretty yard can cost a pretty penny

I’ve always envisioned a yard with beautiful landscaping but failed to realize how expensive it can be. Most newly constructed homes come with sod that you must water diligently and care for to get roots to establish in the turf. Depending on weather conditions and type of sod you have, daily watering may be required. Doesn’t sound like a big deal, right? My first water bill quickly got my attention. Most irrigation systems use about 12 gallons of water per minute for an average of 15,000 gallons per month. Even though my water company only charges me a few pennies per gallon, using an irrigation system added hundreds of dollars to my monthly water bill. I’ve since changed my landscaping goals.

 

2. Save up for home maintenance

“The fellow that owns his own home is always just coming out of a hardware store.” Frank McKinney Hubbard

I heard homeowners should save money every year for home maintenance (1% of purchase price BTW), but I completely forgot about tools. My husband and I save a lot of money on maintenance by doing a lot of the work ourselves and with the help of YouTube, we can learn to fix just about anything. I did not think about purchasing tools until I needed them. Because home repairs were always a surprise, so was the cost of tools. Most homeowners will eventually need a lawnmower, ladders, rakes, hoes, shovels, gloves, hose, Weed Wacker, and your assortment of wrenches, screwdrivers and hammers. Borrow what you can until you’ve saved enough to buy quality tools. Hey, what better way to get to know your neighbors?

 

3. Appearance & Style

I was excited about personalizing our home. After all, this was our home and I wanted it to reflect our style. We now have a deck that needs patio furniture and a new grill for summer parties. Curtains and décor may not cost a lot, but a full shopping cart of décor at Target can surely add up. No matter how you choose to display your personal style, remember you don’t have to buy everything all at once. Make a list, prioritize and budget for all of it. Most importantly, enjoy the journey of home ownership.