When D. and I first started talking about buying our home we ran through the benefits over and over.
It’s yours! Really and truly, you can do whatever you want with it. When you rent an apartment you have to ask permission to paint; you have to ask permission to plant in the back yard. Never again. I can paint my house purple if I want to. I won’t. But I could!
Your work = your reward. Every ounce of effort you put into your home is for your gain. Prime example, my garden in Oakland was a labor of love and absolutely beautiful. It was filled with plants my mother and grandmother started for me – roses, lavender, camellias and bougainvillea. My garden was a reflection of the love two generations for women than loved me. However, I don’t live in Oakland anymore, but my plants still do. Never again I tell you!
Pay yourself, not the man. Every renter complains about how they are throwing money away to someone as they sign the bottom line of their check, lick the envelope and mail away another rent payment. I was told a while back that buying a home is like a savings account and is the safest bet against inflation. Not 100% true (re: 2008) but almost true statement.
As a first time home buyer, D. and I understood the financial commitment we were making and I was equally excited about all the benefits. Obviously, #1 and #2 were the most exciting. Getting to decorate any way I want to is a dream come true. We planned. We budgeted. We went through countless notepads making list after list of items we wanted, needed, multiple quotes, mapped out timeline for parts to arrive, and estimated install times. I priced out light fixtures and doors, door knobs (which I still don’t have) and paint by the square foot based on number of coats needed. Crazy, but true. Regardless of all the planning, there is one guaranteed outcome: it’s never enough. Some lessons we’ve learned along the way:
You will never have enough money. There are always upgrades and better options. Alternatives that will cost “just a little bit more” that chip away at your reserves. And sometimes, if you really want it, you just want to wait and save. (insert big sigh here)
You will never have enough time. “If the paint would only dry faster” is a common phrase in our house. Between work, travel, friends and family, and running (which hasn’t happen much lately), tackling everything on the to-do list inevitably takes longer. Life has a way of overriding plans.
You have to be patience. D. and I joke about how I “always want things now” and he always “wants things done right.” Truth is, doing things right takes more time. In our downstairs bathroom, we ripped out all the fixtures and removed some of the marble tiles. I was excited and wanted to see the space with the new sink before the dry wall was completely installed and painted. Impatient and stupid mistake. There is an order and process for renovations to ensure an (almost) perfect end result. Be patient.
Nothing is ever perfect. The first weekend we had our home was the 4th of July. We had 5 days off work and dedicated them completely to painting all 3 floors, 7 bedrooms, 4 bathrooms, 2 hallways, 2 kitchens and 2 livingrooms. One of the last rooms was the green spare bedroom. Whoever lived in the home prior to us had painted it green and had thrown wax all over the wall. (She worked at a sex shop – so who knows.) D. scrapped wax off the wall for hours before coming downstairs, broken. We lied on the floor of the greenroom and laughed about how nothing was perfect. Why can’t anything just be easy? I think about that moment often, as nothing in a house is perfect. No cabinet, no pipe, no right angle. Be prepared to make hundreds (really, hundreds) of trips to Home Depot and reread #2 and #3 above.
But remember: “Trees that are slow to grow bear the best fruit.” ― Molière
image via Lonny