10 Things I’ve Learned After 60 Days of Being a Homeowner

On March 31st Tom and I signed our names a bunch of times and eventually were handed over some keys because we crazily decided to buy the second house that we looked at.

We spent the first weekend doing a couple of projects and moving in a lot of our stuff and finished up the second weekend with the rest of our furniture. And crazy person that I am, we hosted Easter dinner the following Saturday.

They say that buying a house is one project after another. I thought that was for like, fixer upper houses, not ones where the contractor has completely remodeled the house and it’s essentially move in ready. House 1, Nichole 0.

Coming from living at home and then living in apartments for 8+ years where other people are responsible for problems, this has not been an easy road for me. Before we officially turned in the keys to the apartment complex, I seriously debated going back there and refusing to leave. It was a very trying weekend, don’t judge me.

I believe I’ve reached a point where this stuff is now funny or at least amusing because we’ve gotten through it, so I thought I’d share with you some of the things we experienced. And please, feel free to laugh at us if you’ve owned a home for years and knew all of this. We’re still painfully naive.

I’ve taken a lot of before and after pictures so eventually I’ll chronicle some of our updates, but for now let’s just share the issues we’ve encountered, starting from the first day.

1. Paint: Those commercials that claim to sell one-coat paint? You know the one where the guy has the artwork back on the walls the same day? I call serious bullshit on that. We painted an accent wall. Dark aqua over generic beige. It took three coats and an entire day to dry.

I painted the laundry room a light blue color. Another claim for 1 coat paint from another brand. It took 2 coats, which is better than 3 so at least we know which paint company to go with when we paint the rest of the house.

2. Sliding Glass Doors: whoever thought it was a great idea to sell screens separately to get you for more money is a complete asshole. Especially when the name of the door brand is not anywhere visible on the door and the contractor doesn’t remember. So despite measuring three times, you buy and return three generic screens that are meant to fit “all sliding glass doors”. You know, except ours. Tom eventually made it work by removing the spring from the top and bottom and now if you barely touch it, it shoots off down the track faster than a horse at the Kentucky Derby. Whatever…

3. Mailboxes are the devil. Never assume that just because a house has a mailbox means that it was properly installed. Our mailbox adventures went as follows:

  • Determine mailbox is rusted shut. Purchase replacement mailbox to sit on existing post.
  • Find out someone stripped the screws in the plastic piece the attaches the mailbox to the post and that the plastic piece needs to be replaced.
  • Find out the plastic piece is not sold individually and only comes with the post. (Of course)
  • Purchase a new post, making the total cost of the mailbox and the post more than if it had been purchased as one piece.
  • Remove old post only to find that the 4×4 that the post is supposed to sit over, doesn’t actually exist so you still cannot have a mailbox despite filling out a change of address.
  • Wait one more week until father in law arrives, husband purchases post, and then it’s finally installed.

4. Installation of items after the inspection can mean laziness. One of the things we negotiated was to install a garbage disposal, which was done after our home inspection. The first weekend here, I tried out the dishwasher only to find out that instead of draining into the sink/pipes, it poured water all over the new hardwood floors. Angrily, I posted this on Facebook and my awesome neighbor popped over and removed a tiny little cap.

Do you know what that tiny little cap does? Allows a dishwasher to drain properly. The garbage disposal and dishwasher are next to each other. It’s not like they didn’t know we had one and removing that cap was necessary.

5. Outlets make terrible noises. I’m still waiting on this one to be fixed, but the light switch that controls the outside outlet makes a terrible grinding noise when turned on. We thought we had fixed it, but it came back and now I’m patiently waiting on the electrician to return my call.

6. Outside lights randomly fall off. This was fun, I came home from work one day only to find that our outside light had cracked completely in half at the bracket that holds it onto the siding. Currently waiting to hear from the home warranty people because while I don’t expect much, I think lights should stay affixed for more than 2 months.

7. Gutter cleaning is optional. We couldn’t figure out if the gutters were clogged or if the tree in front of the house was creating the massive waterfall in front of the front door every time it rained. Tired of dealing with it, I called a guy who came out and cleaned them that day. And he found that the front gutter wasn’t just entirely clogged with your generic gutter materials, but with shingle soot, meaning they replaced the roof and didn’t think to clean the gutters afterward. Maybe I’m being picky here, but seriously? That’s like washing the outside of your car and dumping a full trash bag inside.

8. Spiders don’t share. I am quickly waging a war against all 8 legged creatures who are currently residing here. None of them pay the mortgage and prefer to be large, hairy and pop out at the most inconvenient of times. A monthly service to a exterminator is looking better and better every day.

9. Storm door instructions are liars. Now, this is more about the door itself than the house, but I wouldn’t have a storm door if I didn’t have a house, so here it is. At the bottom of the door was the tube and spring that stopped the door from flying open. It had a little button that said press to keep open, and I thought what that meant was you pressed the button and it locked the door in the open position and it wouldn’t swing shut. Instead what that meant was the hinge part would shear off completely and now the door swings open whenever it desires.

10. There is a never-ending list of random small projects. Ours includes replacing the ball and spring to keep the closet door closed, replacing the drain stopper thing in the shower that randomly broke off, shaving off the bottoms of all the bedroom doors because they catch on the carpet and don’t allow for air flow, patching small holes in screens, and applying caulk to damn near everything because apparently there was a shortage on caulk when they remodeled this house because it’s not anywhere it should be.

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