When you decided you wanted to buy your first home, you got all sorts of advice and comments from older, wiser friends and family who have owned homes for years.
“Buying a home is so stressful.” “Say goodbye to your personal life for the next few months.” And of course, “Are you sure you can afford that?” You took all their advice in stride, but to be honest, it worried you a little bit.
Sure, buying your first home is difficult but it’s also incredibly rewarding and a great learning experience. But here’s what they didn’t tell you.
Your credit score becomes super important to you.
Before you started thinking about buying a home, you had no problem opening that store credit card to get 20% off your purchase. But now, you know your credit score can make the difference between paying a mortgage at 4 or 5 percent interest rate.
So the next time the cashier mentions the 20% discount, all you can think about is how opening and closing new lines of credit might affect your score because that measly percentage point could cost you $100 a month.
You’ll know more about your budget than ever before.
Before you started searching for the ideal home, it was easy for a month to go by yet not entirely sure where all your money went. Your essentials were always covered and that was enough for you.
Once you started thinking about buying a home, you started tracking every penny, figuring out exactly what you could afford without seriously damaging your lifestyle.
You’ll become an expert commentator on house hunting shows.
You know exactly how to find the perfect home, so it only makes sense you want to share your expertise wherever you can—even if it means shouting to house hunters on the TV. You’ve been known to yell things like “That foundation doesn’t look great. You better make sure your inspector pays attention to it before you buy,” or “Karen, it’s okay if you don’t like the red on the walls. You can get a gallon of paint for $35.98!”
One day you’ll be able to share that advice with friends and family who are starting their home search, but for now, you’re honing your commentary skills on HGTV.
You’re an expert in all the neighborhoods in your area.
To say you’ve done your research on neighborhoods in your hometown is an understatement.
You know which areas feed into the best schools, where all the cute little bungalows are hidden, and which neighborhoods have the lowest crime rate. You’ve discovered all the cute, independent coffee shops, mentally rated all the parks, and know which bars are really “neighborhood bars.” You’re basically a walking Zillow at this point and you’re eager to put your new knowledge to good use.
The changes don’t stop once you buy the home either. When you’re a homeowner, you can expect a whole different outlook on your weekends, your idea of fun, and your long-term plans.
You’ll become a homebody.
You love your home. It’s beautiful, it’s decorated just how you like, and it’s so incredibly comfortable. When the fridge is fully stocked and you have a good series queued up on Netflix, there’s really no reason to ever leave.
Who cares if your favorite band is playing this weekend when you have plans with your couch?
Which is why dinner parties will become your go-to Saturday night plans.
It’s the perfect way to be social without ever having to leave your home.
You get the chance to show off the serving dishes your mom gave you and to impress your friends with your decorating skills. Not to mention you’ll save money throughout the week by eating leftovers from your party.
You become a nosey neighbor.
You know the Hitchcock film where the guy spies on his neighbors and is convinced he witnessed a murder? That’s you.
You have no shame when you stare out the window at the stranger pulling into your neighbor’s driveway or at the solicitor going door to door. No one can help being a nosey neighbor. After all, you’re just keeping an eye on your neighbors’ houses and you’d want them to do the same for you.
But you also want to be best friends with your neighbors
Being friends with your neighbors is like being back in college when everyone you knew lived within walking distance.
How great is it to hear a shout over the back fence, asking if you want to have some drinks around your neighbor’s fire pit? Not to mention you’ll always have someone to take in your mail and keep an eye on your house while you’re away. Having neighbors who are also friends makes your whole block feel like a safe, tight-knit community.
You’ll be a regular at the home improvement store.
You’ve been watching YouTube videos, obsessing over interior design blogs, and constantly calling your friend who used to work summers at his uncle’s construction company. And being at the home improvement store, picking up something you need for your next project becomes a routine. The people there know you by name and a tool belt has become your accessory of choice because at this point you’re basically Bob Villa.
You never want to move…ever.
Buying a house—and moving into it—is incredibly stressful.
There were weeks you agonized over how much to spend. The time you thought your mortgage lender would never get back to you. And that perfect house which got scooped up by someone else.
Now that it’s all over, you’re prepared to die in this house if it means you’ll never have to go through the process ever again.
You couldn’t be happier with the new you.
You’ve struggled and you’ve grown throughout the whole process. However, you came through on the other side more aware of your finances, feeling more accomplished, and generally just happier. You wouldn’t change a thing.
Author bio: Kylee Della Volpe is a writer and editor for mortgages.com.