Now that we have been in our home for more than a year, I feel like we have grown as homeowners. For us, owning a home has presented different challenges than when we owned a Downtown Condo. Here are my top ten lessons:
1. Using the fireplace will not burn the house down. Yes, I admit that I was scared to use it. All it takes is an annual chimney sweep for around $30 and keeping a fire extinguisher on hand and you too can stay warm all winter.
2. Utility bills in an older home are EXPENSIVE! Ugly plastic on the windows and four months of stretch pants are worth saving hundreds.
3. Gray paint looks very different on the walls than it does on the paint sample. We painted our living room four times. We have sampled over 25 grays.
4. Online shopping saves money and time. It's not worth driving all over town looking for curtains. Online shopping has thousands more options and easy returns.
5. Home improvement projects take longer than anticipated. We are still working on projects that I thought we would have done in the first six months.
6. Home warranties are worth every penny in an older home. For $55 we now have a new double oven and refrigerator.
7. Reuse, recycle and repurpose items around your home to save money and make things personal.
8. Gardening and weeds do not agree with me. I tried to find my green thumb but it just doesn't exist. I think the weeds like to play tricks on my by multiplying before I turn around.
9. Dogs love a big home and a backyard. I thought Mika would always be an indoor dog but she can bird watch and chase squirrels for hours.
10. Be patient and find the house that calls to you and feels like home.