{Thoughts on} Becoming a First-time Homeowner

One of the reasons {okay, THE reason} I have felt like somewhat of a hermit since moving to Austin is the purchase of our first home.  I don't want to cast a negative light on the whole experience by any means, but going from a renter to a first-time homeowner really does change a lot of things in your life.  My husband, Matt, and I were completely ready for that change.  We had spent the past nine years of our marriage moving around from place to place like nomads, and the thought of having our own home {one that I wasn't afraid to invest my time, money, or energy in} always seemed soooo far off in the distance... Fast forward to our move last summer - we were so ready to find a house that we never even unpacked our boxes!  That's right, folks, we lived in a tiny, 1.5 bedroom apartment among stacks and stacks of unboxed goods, straight off the boat from our previous residence in Okinawa.  Add in another delivery of boxes from storage, and it was complete clutter-dom.  Even our TV sat on our living room floor, in it's box {along with our bikes and shop-vac - isn't that where y'all keep your's??}.  Our half-of-a-bedroom was stacked to the ceiling - we simply shut the door and pretended it wasn't there.  For someone whose skin crawls at the very thought of clutter around my house, you can imagine what it was like for me to live like that for months, tripping over each other at every turn, barely making it out the door alive each morning.

Enter: our new house.  I don't know if it was the house itself, the curb-appeal, the size you could get for your money in Texas, or the apartment we were sick of living in {probably a combination of each}, but we were in love.  Nothing else compared to this house.  Nothing.  By no stretch of the imagination was this a fixer-upper, but it was a little outdated {think 90's oak kitchen cabinets with laminate counter tops}.  Thoughts of what we wanted to upgrade were constantly running through our minds way before we even made an offer.  Which leads nicely into my next section:

{this is definitely NOT a full list of EVERYTHING we learned, but just a few points I'd like to make to anyone potentially looking to buy in the future}

1.) If you're walking through a house for the first or second time, already imagining what you'd like to change about it, take a second to rethink your decisions.  Are the things you'd like to change minor changes, like, paint colors, blinds, light fixtures, maybe replacing some unattractive shag carpeting?  You're all good.  Do the changes you'd like to make involve kitchens, bathrooms, decks, custom built-in's, moving walls...?  Maybe think about looking elsewhere or getting a house built.  Just saying.

2.)  Become a stalker.  Literally, stalk that neighborhood.  Take the time to hang out in the area.  See what the people are like.  Is it quiet, loud, friendly, safe?  Actually go talk to your potential neighbors.  Get their opinions.  Take the time to develop your own thoughts about the neighborhood, not just the house itself.

3.)  Find a realtor you trust.  One that "gets" you and what you really wants.  One that listens to you.  Find one that you can be super blunt and honest with, and one that is going to be super blunt and honest back to you.  {Shameless plug alert} If anyone is looking for a great one in the Austin area, our realtor, Charlie, was exactly that. Check him out!

4.)  Don't let someone else's ugly decor prevent you from picturing your own stuff in the space.  Use a designer's eye, and look past it!

I'll soon be posting our interior "before" photos to show you what we're working with.

Happy Weekend!