I’d like to consider myself a pretty educated home owner, having experienced the highs & the lows as well as being a ‘go-to’ person for various people in my life when it comes to all things house related.
I’ve learnt quite a few lessons over the years since I bought my first home at age 18. So for the final part of my 1 year moving anniversary week, I thought I’d share a few valuable pointers with anybody considering taking the big old step of purchasing the biggest investment you’ll ever make, or perhaps you’re knee deep in the middle of a project.
1. Be patient –
I remember when I got the keys to my first home, which was a repossession in a complete state, & genuinely thinking that I’d be moving in within a month. I soon learnt that I was being completely unrealistic & it takes a lot more time & effort (as well as blood, sweat & tears…quite literally!) than you’d expect. Unfortunately patience isn’t my strong point but it really pays to do things properly rather than bodging then having to redo it a few months down the line.
2. Expect the unexpected –
When you buy a house, especially an older house, you have no idea what you’re buying. It’s a minefield if you don’t know what you’re looking for so it’s always worth getting an experts opinion (usually free to just have a quick look over & an opinion in the hopes they’ll then get your business if/when you need their help). We soon learnt that our first house needed completely rewiring & plumbing which we didn’t originally anticipate. Take into consideration that the previous homeowner (or 3 before them) may have gone for a cheaper option or been a serial ‘bodger’, in which case it’s your job to rectify this.
3. Budget –
That then brings me on to the horrific factor of having to budget. Unless you have a limitless bank account, the likelihood is that you’ll have a tight budget in order to do all the bits required to make it into your dream home. I can guarantee you’ll go over budget on pretty much any project you do, even if you are a money/saving obsessed weirdo like myself. It’s all too easy to forget about those little essential bits that result in countless trips to B&Q/Homebase at £20 a pop. Everything adds up!
4. Prioritise prioritise prioritise –
The above point means that prioritising is unfortunately something you’ll no doubt have to face when you run over budget then are left with a half finished room & an ever dwindling overdraft. That’s why it’s SO important to make a plan & put them in order depending on how much you want/need them. For example, which rooms do you need to complete? Could you live with an undecorated spare bedroom (like me…I still haven’t shown it on Instagram or here) over making your lounge area that you spend more time in nicer?
In fantasy world it’d be ideal to be able to rip everything out & go all out but that usually isn’t the reality so go from one room to another, always making sure to finish the first) on your priority list.
5. You’ll have to have patience –
This is something I really struggle with as I’m not the most patient person & I’m also highly impulsive. I’ve definitely learnt that it pays to be patient & wait on things rather than just going for it, especially with big decisions such as making expensive purchases or repainting a room.
I’m currently trying to change my mindset so that I stop making purchases that I soon get bored of so if I see something I want then I’ll leave it & if in a week (or longer if you can..) I still can’t stop thinking about it then I’ll go back & buy it.
6. DIY is the way forward –
It pays to do things yourself. If you’ve never held a paintbrush or screwdriver in your life then it’s relatively easy to learn & will definitely come in handy as well as pay off in the long run. I’ve learnt all I know from my very DIY-savvy parents but am still constantly harassing them for more knowledge & help in doing things. The downside of this can be seen in my ‘When NOT To Do-It-Yourself’ post however. The positive of this is that once you’ve learnt & done things yourself a couple of times then you’ll always have that skill PLUS it’s such a satisfying feeling knowing you’ve done something yourself,
7. Don’t become complacent –
I remember reading once that if you don’t start doing things in your house within a certain amount of time, then you’ll probably never do them (but I now can’t find this online so can’t be more specific!). This is so true whether it’s ranging from a complete home renovation to doing those little fiddly finishing touches after working your arse off for months. It’s all too easy to go for the easy option but it won’t pay off.
8. ALWAYS ask for recommendations before hiring somebody –
If there’s one thing I’ve learnt then it’d be to thoroughly check all tradesmen/women before hiring them. I’ve had my fair share of cowboys & learnt the hard way that going for budget over quality just doesn’t work…take my en suite makeover for example which resulted in water flooding through my kitchen ceiling. Referrals from trusted family/friends are brilliant but if you can’t get those then always use sites like checkatrade or ratedpeople. For more info have a look at my ‘How To Hire A Tradesperson’ blog post.
What would be your top tips when it comes to owning a home?
Love, Charlotte x