Today is a very special day. First for all, thank you to all the amazing Veterans that have served for our country (a huge hug) and secondly, today marks 365 days since we first signed papers and our small little house was officially ours. Yes, 1 full year since we stepped in the doorway of something that was ours together. Looking back and reminiscing on all the memories renovating and hammering away at this little house has been bittersweet. So many wonderful memories have already been made in the short 5 months we've lived here.
November 11, 2014
November 11, 2015
Along with the help of my trusty noble steed Taylor, we came up with 5 tips to share with young home buyers like ourselves. So here I go:
1. Don't become greedy. Purchase a home you can pay off within 5 years.
I've seen it. Taylor has seen it. We both experienced it. We love our little house but what we loved more was the little price tag is came with it. When we purchased our home, we were able to put down half of the price tag, which helped diminish our overall debts. We sit here 1 year later and our first home is paid for. No mortgage, no loans, nothing. Ours.
Story time: About 3 months ago, late summer, we had ran across the most amazing Victorian farmhouse like no other. White picket fence, French country green house, an amazing back yard, claw foot tubes, super-duper high ceilings.. the whole 9 yards. Our. Dream. Home. Boy were we in love.
Soon enough, our small home we worked so hard on wasn't that important and all we could do was dream of a life living in that farmhouse. Now back up, Taylor and I both agreed before we got married that we were going to do it right. Not jumping into huge amounts of debt and living life the Dave Ramsey way. But something about that charm of the house sucked us right in and we were facing the decision every couple faces when they first buy: do we go where everyone is going and buy the large home OR stay on our path and work up to what we want in cash later in our years. Long story short, after many prayers and guidances of loved ones, we made the decision that it was all too much at this point in our lives. See, if we would have went down that path, we would have fallen into debt for another 20+ years of our lives. We saw the bigger opportunity than the way of "normal". We now are more at peace with our decision not to side with the farmhouse. The experience has made our small home just as much valuable knowing we are free from years of loans and headache.
Take the road less traveled. Just because home buying is exciting and new, doesn't mean you shouldn't start out small. Start small, save your money, and purchase something bigger when you need to AND when you actually have the money.
2. Think ahead + PLAN!
I love to thrift and find bargains, I mean who doesn't. One thing that has really helped us when finishing our home were the little things I would pick up at the thrift stores; such as different lighting and hardware. Every time I stepped foot into a thrift store, I would head over to the hardware section.. ya know the section us women tend to skip over? I've found our towel rack, curtain rods, lights, you name it. All these things are items one tends to forget about in the midst of renovations. Also with in this, think of new ways to complete projects. Most likely all you first time buyers on a budget.. think outside the box in order to get what you want.
For instance, our counter tops. I knew we wanted white marble counter tops but do you know how much $$ comes with this luxury?! Big time. Something we didn't have. SO, we settled with marble tile slabs. A fraction of the cost and still beautiful! We went to Lowes and purchased two boxes of 1x1' marble tiles and slapped them on our counter. Cheap and got the job done.
3. Don't underestimate the power of PAINT.
Paint goes a long way. When we stepped into our home, the walls were covered in dated pastel yellow, blue, and green. You have to overlook all the eye sores and see structure. I didn't see the pastels but yet a natural color palate that we wanted. Once painted, our home looked TOTALLY different. In our living room, wood paneling covered the entire room. Dark, dreary and not fun. We painted our kitchen cabinets, all the walls, the trim and even our porch. The difference paint makes is drastic so don't underestimate the power of rolling on some new color.
4. Expect everything to be wrong and be happy when it isn't.
The words of Taylor. As most know, you can't ever expect anything to be done right. Nothing in our small home was ever level or straight. When coming into your first home, nothing is as simple as it seems. Looking back to renovating, I can remember thinking our small bathroom renovation would take.. oh maybe a day or so. OH NO. It took almost a day and a half putting up panelling and the ceiling. Things take time. Have lots of patience and understand that nothing goes as planned. When we were all finished painting the walls and trim, we tore out one of the walls in the dinning room only to find the walls had never been insulated. Yes, WHEN WE WERE ALL FINISHED WITH PAINTING. So, after our freshly finished walls were complete, we went back through and tore them all back down to throw insulation behind them. Am a thankful now with these chilly months ahead of us, oh yes. Was I happy then, oh no. Expect things to be the worse and be joyful when they are not.
5. Great things can be done with enough time and vision.
The last and the most important we feel is this. Our small house looks nothing to what we started with a year ago. Many hours were spent after work hours to get this place to where it stands today. The most important next to budget is time. If you have enough time and vision, you're able to conquer anything.
Keep an open mind and remember all these tips for when you're rolling around looking for a home to start your lives together. It's a journey and it's such a treasure to experience.
I hope all these tips were helpful. A year ago, we weren't exactly sure of what we were stepping into. We are always so thankful for all the family and friends that took the time to lend a helping hand. We now have a small home that is ours and us.
Much love, Alyssa (and Taylor)