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This is a guest post by Paige Mitchell of Paige A. Mitchell. Paige is a writer who enjoys sharing practical advice on making our homes healthier and more functional.
My fiancé and I bought our first house in November. The experience was equally exciting, overwhelming, and humbling. We had been counting down the days until we could leave apartment-life behind and looked forward to moving into a four-bedroom standalone house witha big backyard for our dog, Gus, to run in. We were anxious about homeownership and the amount of work and money it would take to maintain a whole house. But most importantly we were humbled by how quickly we transformed this house into our home. Here’s how you can too in 30 days or less.
Prioritize your to-do list
The laundry list of home repairs that will be recommended by your home inspector is always overwhelming. It’s important to go into your home inspection knowing that there is no such thing as a perfect house. Any long-time homeowners will tell you that as soon one problem is resolved another crop up.
The New Home Journal is a handy, practical resource that makes it easy to keep track of your essential homeowner information in one place for future reference.
We were pleasantly surprised with our inspection. We expected the worse from a 19-year-old house with all original appliances and systems. Everything is working, but it’s all well-passed its expiration date so we’re left to anticipate a lot of repairs in the very near future. Fortunately, our realtor worked with us to create a reasonable list of repairs to request from the sellers.
The sellers not only completed the whole list, but they also transferred a home protection plan to us, which covers the repair costs of appliances and systems that break down from age or normal
wear and tear. Many real estate professionals advise home buyers, especially first-time buyers, to ask for a home warranty in their offer.
In addition to knowing what to expect from your home inspection and investing in a home warranty, you should also take your time when approaching home improvement projects. It can be fun to save inspiration photos on Pinterest and create a wish list of furniture and fixtures, but don’t forget to separate your need-to-haves from your nice-to-haves.
Remember, a house is always a work in progress. You have the foreseeable future to get through this list and you’ll likely remodel and redecorate a thousand times over. Our first projects included replacing the heating elements in our water heater, rewiring the gas fireplace, hanging bedroom curtains, and replacing the mollies in all of the loose bathroom towel bars.
Get out of boxes
Nothing makes a house feel more temporary than an empty room filled with moving boxes. It takes time, but it’s definitely worthwhile to completely unpack as soon as possible. The boxes
that took us the longest to unpack were actually our decorations. We’re not sure how we want to decorate the house and we didn’t want to start putting nails in the wall yet. However, instead of leaving them in boxes, we unpacked all of our paintings and knick-knacks and stored them in a closet. I’m wary that they’ll eventually become dust-collectors but that’s still better than cardboard clutter in my opinion.
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Host family and friends
Our family not only helped us move into the new house, but they also occupied our guest bedrooms four consecutive weekends in a row. At first, I was stressed out about hosting guests before we were unpacked, not to mention the lack of furniture we have. But it actually turned out to be a blessing in disguise. Not only did our family help us unpack and tinker around the house, but a full house also feels a lot cozier than an empty one. In just one month, we hosted both sets of parents multiple times, an aunt, and our cousins weekend after weekend and we made memories each time. Instead of focusing on the immense amount of work we have to do around the house, we enjoyed movie nights, a Thanksgiving dinner, and we explored our new town with the people we love, which brings me to my next point.
Explore your town
You will have a lot to do around the house. It can be all-consuming and you may have a tendency to hole yourself up indoors to unpack, clean, and decorate. After 10 days of tinkering, we got a little stir crazy. My prescription is fresh air, curiosity, and a good meal. By getting out of the house, we’ve met a new neighbor every time we walk the dog, we’ve learned the local farmer’s market schedule, and we’ve found three decent restaurants plus a wine bar. These little breaks have given us a real sense of community.
Seasonal or holiday decorations
Buying a house before the holidays has its pros and cons. Some obvious disadvantages include maintaining a budget for a mortgage and Christmas gifts as well as dealing with winter weather
and anticipating something—like a furnace—to break. However, some fun aspects to this timing are getting snowed in with your spouse, filling the house with Christmas music, watching Hallmark movies next to the fireplace, and decorating the whole house inside and out.
Getting into the holiday—or seasonal—spirit can make any house look and feel charming.
- Christmas Farmhouse Decorations that Will Make Your Home Warm & Festive
- Decoration When You’re On a Budget
Candles and string lights cast a welcoming glow. Green Christmas trees, wreaths, or
houseplants bring spaces to life. Making some room in my budget and schedule to add these festive touches was a difficult decision to make at the time, but the relief and love I feel every time I pull into the driveway and walk through the front door is well worth it.
BONUS: Essentials for Your New Home
13 Gallon Stainless Steel Automatic Trashcan
This bin has an odor-absorbing filter and a wide opening sensor kitchen trash bin. It’s powered by batteries or you can opt for an AC adapter. Its rectangular shape makes it easy to fit into any sized kitchen.
Stanley 65-Piece Homeowner’s DIY Tool Kit
Get access to the most commonly used household tools when you need it most!
About the Guest Author: Paige A. Mitchell
Paige is a recent graduate and a new freelancer writer. As a writer, Paige has enjoyed reviewing household products, writing about making our homes healthier and more functional, and blogging about personal experiences.
Learn more about Paige over at Paige A. Mitchell.