Fridays at Home: 3-Year House Anniversary

16th March 2012

Holy moley. I have been a homeowner for three whole years. Wow. Buying a home is a big undertaking, no matter what. I found out the hard way that even in the 21st century (at least in the South), buying a home is incredibly difficult if you’re a woman. I was asked why my husband wasn’t looking at houses with me and all sorts of other impertinent questions, and one realtor refused to show me the home because I wasn’t married.

I hunted for houses for a year. Of course, I was looking in a very specific price range (aka: low) and also knew the neighborhood I wanted, so for me, it was worth it to hunt for so long. When I found my house, I was ecstatic. Wood floors, 12-foot ceilings, a big backyard, a huge closet, and a really big kitchen. So I made an offer. Thus began two months of hell. The buyer was absolutely nutso. She kept attempting to back out of the contract. She lied to me about the appliances and eventually threatened to kidnap my dog if I didn’t pay her $800 (for a 10-year-old washer and fridge). Yeah. So closing day wasn’t exactly the thrilling moment I had anticipated.

But. I have absolutely, positively loved owning my own home. It is so incredibly satisfying to be able to paint walls and move furniture and even weatherproof. I have worked to make my home my own, and I love it. The most obvious change I’ve made happened last summer when I hired my sister’s boyfriend (who does such work) to paint the exterior. I always hated the butter yellow with cream and blue (!) trim. The screen door was hideous and blue, while the front door was burgundy. There were other projects I wanted to come before it, but I had some exposed wood (the prior owner didn’t prep well before painting) and knew that would only deteriorate further if left unpainted. So here’s the house on the day I moved in way back in 2009:

And here’s what it looks like today:

Here is a rundown of everything I’ve done to the house with links (if I have them) to the projects:

Here are just a few things I’ve learned:

  • For any given home project, you will make at least half a dozen trips to the hardware store.
  • How to cut in! No more taping for me when I paint.
  • That unless it’s electricity or plumbing, I’m not afraid to do it.
  • That people will think you’re crazy half the time.
  • That nowhere is as good as home.
  • That the smallest projects take you the absolute longest to get to.
  • Budget about a third of any project’s costs extra for random purchases/takeout food/gasoline spent going to hardware stores.
  • That having your dad around to help you hang cabinets is so great.
  • Even if you can do it yourself, it’s always nice to have company/someone to catch you if you fall off the ladder/someone to dial 911.
  • Mowing the lawn sucks.
  • Wearing paint-spattered clothing to the hardware store is a badge of honor.
  • Oh yeah, designate some painting clothes.
  • Just pick a damn paint color already. ๐Ÿ™‚
  • A 6-foot ladder will not reach lights mounted to a ceiling that’s 12-feet above you.
  • A detached garage is a scary place.
  • That Valspar paint is truest to the color card.

I’ll include a small gallery of some of the projects/rooms I haven’t blogged about. If you’re curious about any of them, tell me in the comments, and I’ll plan a Fridays at Home post! And if you’re a seasoned homeowner, what are some things you’ve learned?

 

 

  • Anonymous

    Wow! That’s crazy. I had no idea it was so difficult for a single woman to buy a house. wtf?

    Your house looks great, btw. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • It was for me, unfortunately. I don’t know if others would have this problem, but it happened too often for me not to see the pattern.

      And thanks!

  • Terri B.

    Congratulations on 3 years! You’ve done a fabulous job and it looks great. Looks like the kind of home you want to spend time in too.

    I had no idea it was so difficult for a single woman to buy a home in the South. “Why isn’t your husband with you?” GEESH!!

    • Yep. It was pretty upsetting, and it was definitely a stressful time in my life, but it was something I knew I wanted to do.

      And thank you, Terri. I certainly do enjoy being home. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • MPL

    Good for you for buying a house on your own! Thanks for showing single gals it can be done. You have a gorgeous house with a beautiful aesthetic.

    • Thank you so much! It really does make me proud to know I did it on my own.

  • Congratulations!!

  • What a fun adorable house!!! Love it and the blue and yellow on the front…so pretty…:D

    • Thanks, TinaB! I was so excited when the exterior was finally painted. Made it look totally different.

  • I always love reading your posts about the house – it’s such a cool look at homeowning for someone like me, who has never owned a home and doesn’t have real aspirations to do so – not for a while, anyway. (I’m lazy and like to call other people to come fix the problems in my apartment.) I don’t think I’d ever read about your experience buying the house, which lands somewhere between being interesting and really, really depressing (can’t believe how hard it was to find people willing to work with a single woman). As always, the house looks fantastic – that blue color is the best.

    • Thanks, Ellen! I can understand not wanting to own, but it was definitely one of my goals.

      As for the story about buying, I could tell you so so much more. I eventually broke down and sobbed to my mom and dad, something I rarely, if ever, do. But it’s water underneath the bridge.

  • Amy

    Thanks for sharing (and re-sharing) your adventures in home ownership. Your house is beautiful and I am always inspired by your ideas- sometimes too much ๐Ÿ™‚

    I just bought my first place a couple weeks ago. It is an eight year old condo with nice appliances, so I am in good shape there, but the walls… yellow based cream on white trim. Ugh. Except the master bedroom, which is a very unattractive shade of yellow.

    I share all that because I need to follow your advice and PICK A DAMN PAINT COLOR! I think I have almost every shade of green from Valspar in a sample right now!

    P.S.- You should report those realtors to the EEOC!

    • Thank YOU, Amy. And yes, pick your color. I’ve *almost* never regretted a paint choice, and paint is a relatively easy and inexpensive change to make. I hope you’ll share your room when it’s finished. As for Valspar, I love their paint and have had really great experiences with it. Covers well and very true to color. So hop to it!

      And yes, I know I should have reported him, but at the time, I wouldn’t have even known where to begin.

      • My color selections are (I think) all final now. Whew! Moving the boxes of books and furniture this weekend almost feels like it will be easier than the paint selection process!

        • Most definitely. Decisions, decisions. Moving is hard work, but when it’s finished, it’s finished.

  • Oh Jenn! It’s absolutely gorgeous. Congratulations on three years of home ownership. And when are you coming to Dallas to help me out? ๐Ÿ˜‰ I can’t even decide on drapes for my family room (after two years I’m FINALLY getting rid of the lime green drapes that the previous owners left…)

    • Thank you so much, Trish! And next time I’m in Dallas, I’m all yours. ๐Ÿ™‚ Sometimes making the actual decision to change something is the most difficult part. Do it!

  • Love it! Your house is gorgeous.

    • Thank you! Still lots to do, but it’s coming along.

  • Sara (wordyevidenceofthefact.b

    The house is gorgeous, Jenn. Good work! I’d love to hear more about the floor painting as I’m about to embark on a project of my own. Was it wood or concrete? Tell all!

    • Thanks, Sara! I can definitely do a post about painting the floor, but as a preview, it was wood – but really poor quality.