5 Lessons Learned from Buying a First Home

Recently we bought our first home.

The journey wasn't without its pitfalls and problems. Here's the collected, naïve wisdom from Olivia and I on buying a house after 1 week:

1. Everything Costs

Nearly every part of the process of buying a house costs money. As we're generally very budget-conscious, every new expense eventually had us thinking "when will it stop?" All up I reckon it cost us around $25,000 to buy the house - on top of the price of the house itself - although there was a rebate on stamp duty.

2. Get a Moving Truck for the Big Day

We've moved house before using trailers and cars - never again! Nothing compares to a 3-tonne truck to get the job done properly, regardless of wind, rain, or size of furniture. And, you don't need a special license to drive a truck this size.

3. Get Good Help

Unofficially, Olivia and I manage our seperate "teams" for moving day. I had a really good team this time around with the help of Geoff and James, my Dad, my brother Dave, and Olivia's Dad who was invaluable applying his expert skill to repairing things we broke while we were shuffling furniture :-)

4. "Painting is the cheapest improvement you can make"

SmurfI'll credit Olivia's Uncle Rob with this brilliant advice. We were initially turned off buying the house because of the interior color of "smurf blue". Once we accepted that when we owned it, we could change it, we changed our attitude and instead budgeted for paint (still an ongoing process...)

5. Prioritise Changes and Renovations

Apart from the color scheme, there's a couple of other changes we'd like to make. All changes, improvements, and renovations take time and more often than not, money. We tried prioritising our changes so that the big, important things happen first, and at the same time Olivia and I can acknowledge to each other that the smaller changes are coming "when we get to them".

We rented for a long time before buying. If you're in that situation, I hope these tips can be some use. If you have any others, please share in the comments.

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Creative Commons LicenseThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons License. Copyright Thomas & Olivia Williams 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009