Homeownership: A new era in my life.

Next Monday at 12 noon is when I will close on my first home. Possibly my last home too unless I win the lotto or something. This is it here:

Home sweet home.

It’s a three bedroom ranch with a finished basement and two and a half bathrooms. There’s a gas fireplace in the basement and a small wet bar. It’s eight years older than I am, but, unlike me, it’s in pretty good shape despite its age.

My entire adult life has been spent either living in someone else’s house or in apartments and now that I’m on the cusp of owning my own house it occurs to me that I have this odd contradiction about the stuff I own. I have a lot of stuff. A good chunk of it is still packed in boxes in the basement of the townhouse we’re currently renting until the end of May. Mostly books and kitchen stuff that won’t fit in the tiny kitchen we currently have. Also, there’s a number of additional boxes still in my in-laws basement from when we lived with them for awhile.

Some of those boxes contain Christmas decorations I received as gifts from back in my 20’s that have only seen the light of day once when I first received them and have been laying in wait for the day that I finally purchased my own house and had someplace to display them. That’s right, I have home decor that’s at least 20 years old with a few bits that are at least as old as my daughter. One is a porcellian horse drawn sleigh and another is a huge musical snow globe with a Santa in it. Non-holiday decor like some Sun/Moon/Stars wall sconces for candles are also in there. I’m really looking forward to having someplace to display them for the first time.

On the other hand there’s a ton of things I’ve never owned before that I’m going to have to purchase. Things like a ladder. At a minimum I’m going to need a step ladder and I’m sure sooner or later I’ll need an extension ladder. Another would be a lawn mower. I won’t need a huge one, but I’m going to need something unless I find a reasonable lawn care company.

I have had a dining room table before, but it was a small, round one that barely fit four people that I had to get rid of when we moved back to Canton due to lack of room for it. I’d like to get one that seats at least six people. I’ve got a power drill, but no bits for it. I may actually have to drill something in the future. I’m going to need a screen for the fireplace. It’s gas so there’s no real danger of sparks popping out, but I do have two cats that’ll be running around the joint. The fireplace also doesn’t have a mantelpiece and the more I think about it the more I think I want to add one. It’s a bit boggling to consider that I’m thinking of buying a mantlepiece.

That’s a lot of brick for what is a small firebox. You’ll note there’s no chimney for it in the first picture of the front of the house. That’s all for show.

I’m going to need to pick up carbon monoxide detectors for the first time in my life as well as replace smoke detectors from time to time. Hell, I’m going to have to learn about furnace filters and when to replace them and what size to get. I should probably buy a couple of fire extinguishers, which is something else I’ve never had to think about before.

A rake. We don’t have a ton of trees on our property, just one in the back, but it’s going to lose its leaves come fall. I have to remember when trash day is as I’ll no longer have a dumpster I can toss garbage into whenever the need arises. Also curbside recycling. Cleaning gutters will be something new for me. There’s that need for a ladder again.

It’s weird and exciting and a little overwhelming to think about. It all becomes my reality next Monday. I’m more than a little nervous about it. It’s taken me a long time, but I somehow managed to pull it off. Buying a home was one of the bigger challenges I’ve struggled with for a long time, but I believe I’ve done it without putting myself at too much risk. It’s a nice house. I’m hoping I don’t fuck it up too badly.

11 thoughts on “Homeownership: A new era in my life.

  1. YAY! that is a truly nice fire place! LOVE ranch style houses.
    Husband and I bought our first house together back in ’12,(just turned 50) it has saved us a ton of money. (Mormon neighborhood sucks though..first 4 years they were banging on my door every other week)
    Picture looks like a really sweet and cozy house…and I wish you both huge amounts of JOY in it!

  2. Mazel tov!

    Here’s hoping that you get settled into your new deity-free domicile with no unpleasant surprises. Best wishes for having good neighbors, too…

    Now the fun can *really* begin, eh?

  3. Talk to me I have a storage unit that may have some things you can use. It would help me too because $177. a month for things to lay dormant is not wise.

  4. Congratulations Les, it’s just like owning a car from here out. But cars usually don’t go up in value as much. Happy Housemas!

  5. Congrats on the new house!

    Have to say I wish I had a basement, but it’s not a Texas thing with our clay soil.

    Definitely work on some handyman skills – I may have mentioned getting “All Thumbs” or “For Dummies” guides in another thread, they are worth it for small repairs. Local hardware and home improvement stores may do workshop classes as well. Being able to replace electrical switches and outlets, or fixing a leak in the drain pipes under your sink without having to pay for a service visit is a great feeling.

    I put fire extinguishers near potential causes – kitchen, garage, bathrooms, fireplace. Any time I thought about the cost, I just remember what my dad told me: “I thought Lowes wanted too much for a fire extinguisher, but then I realized I would have paid a hell of a lot more to have a fire extinguisher in my hand when the tractor caught on fire in that wooden barn.”

    When we bought our house, we took the lower risk option and made sure our monthly payment was easily covered living on one salary (which was put to the test by the dotcom bust). We have been able to pay down on principal over the years, so we’ve moved into our last decade of payments. What’s really nice is comparing numbers with renting after almost 2 decades in the house – our monthly mortgage/escrow is cheaper than rent at the decent apartments nearby. Once the house is paid for, our taxes/insurance will cost us about half of what our rent did in the 90s at a crappy apartment nearby(that I would NOT move back into).

    I’ve always been partial to the clean simple lines on ranch houses (having grown up in them), and your new house looks very nice!

  6. May you live a long and happy life in your new home . There is nothing that feels as good as being in your own house and when you retire no rent to pay .

  7. Congratulations!!

    It was such a long journey, but I’m sure the result is worth it. This house looks awesome.

  8. Very nice house Les. You will be happy there and with all your “stuff” that needs a place you should be in that house for a while. Congratulations on a good choice!

  9. Thanks much for the advice. Papers are now signed and I am officially a homeowner. The only remaining detail is when the seller will be moved out. She’s renting from us for a couple of weeks as she gets her condo repainted. She has the option of staying right up to the 27, but we’re hoping she’ll only be there for a couple of weeks so we have plenty of time to move our shit over and clean up the apartment.

    I must say, I thought there’d be more fanfare at the closing, but the seller had pre-signed so it was just me and the agents and the loan people. Surely someone could have sprung for some confetti or something. My agent did take me out to lunch, though, so there’s that.

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