Thursday, March 1, 2012

Owning My Own Home: The First 6 Months

Six months ago today, I woke up with a great amount of excitement and just a bit of panic. If everything went well at the final walk-through and barring any last minute surprises, I'd be a first-time homeowner before I went the day was over.

I won't tell you it all went smoothly because that would be a lie. But looking back at it all through the lens of owning my own home for 6 months, all the stress was worth it.

Within about 6 weeks of moving in, I was completely unpacked. I forced myself to live with bare walls for 2 1/2 months so I could be completely certain about the furniture placement and acquire a few important family heirlooms from my dad.

Possibly the smartest thing I did was to have my real estate agent measure each of the rooms and window and door locations and sizes during my inspection. I used her measurements to create a to-scale floor plan of each room and then drew all of my furniture to scale on separate paper and moved it all around on the floor plan until I got it right. When I moved in, I had the floor plans taped up in each room and it made placing the furniture easy peasy. I also had my entire kitchen set up before the movers arrived with my furniture. This meant I could immediately start cooking and knew where cleaning supplies, garbage bags, and toilet paper were located. All of my boxes were labeled with specific rooms with general content lists on the outside, so I could quickly unpack and not have to move boxes from room to room because they were placed correctly in the first place.

Six months later, my walls are decorated, I've got curtains in the living room and dining room (I am still curtain-less in my bedroom and office), wine has been spilled on the carpet (white, not red), I've thrown my first parties and feel settled in my home. Betsey and Ross officially have a Cat Cave under my bed, have picked their favorite pieces of furniture, and know where the warmest spots are based on the location of the sun throughout the day. They, too, have stained the carpet, but we're dealing with that. I've met a number of my neighbors and know which restaurants have the best delivery.

I've gotten into a routine in my home and I love that on the first of each month, rather than paying rent, I pay a mortgage, my condo is mine, and if I want to change the paint or the carpet or an appliance or anything else, I can do that.

Frankly, there were no fewer than a gazillion people involved in the purchase of my first home and I'm incredibly grateful for all the help and wise counsel I received. Purchasing my own home is the best decision I've made in a very long time and I couldn't be happier.

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