Things to remember when owning your first house

  • Find the best contractors.  Scour Angie’s List and HomeAdvisor for good local plumbers, electricians and exterminators.
  • Get a good mulching lawnmower so that the clippings can re-enter the soil and nourish it.  Mow your lawn to the point where your grass looks better than your neighbors’ lawns.  And I mean on both sides of your house.
  • If your house has an enclosed garage that connects to your house, make sure you have a modern electronic garage door opener that scrambles its signal.  Security is important.
  • You need family pictures in your house.  Always have a photo hanging in your entranceway of you with your loved ones.  Maybe another picture nearby with the words “Bless Our House” or something along those lines.
  • Drains will clog.  Even if you do have a plumber on speed dial, learn how to handle simple fixes.  Drain cleaner and plumbers’ snakes are easily available from your local hardware store and will continue to work long after you’ve gone years without any drain problems.
  • Fire extinguishers are important.  So are smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms.
  • Before you wire your house with thermostats that can be controlled by your voice, make sure that there’s an override to those thermostats so you can still adjust the temperature manually.
  • Every home needs a garden.  And gardening is a wonderful way to relieve stress and to enjoy nature.
  • Make sure your outside mailbox is labeled with your house number and your last name.  This avoids any issues regarding new people living at an old address.
  • Although there are Home Depots and Lowes’ stores all over, take the time to find your local independent hardware store.  Spending money with them means you’re keeping money in the community and you’re helping support your neighbor.
  • If you have a backyard, put up a bird feeder or two.  You will be pleasantly surprised at your new flying neighbors.
  • By the same token, don’t forget to provide some food for the squirrels.  That way, the squirrels won’t think that you’re feeding them via the bird feeders.
  • Even if you hate the thought of owning a septic system, make sure you understand what can and what can not go down the toilet.
  • Double-check your electrical system.  I’ve seen instances where the wiring was so old, it looked as if Thomas Edison contracted the installation.
  • Make sure your home internet network has a secure password.  You don’t want to be the friendly neighbor who allows the whole neighborhood to illegally download Game of Thrones off your wi-fi.
  • Be friendly with your new neighbors.  Learn which ones are friendly in return.
  • Clean up after your dog if you let your pet roam outside.
  • Saturday mornings are great for yardwork, but please keep the leaf blowers OFF until maybe after 11:00 a.m.  Or just do it the old fashioned way – with a rake.  Your jacked and buffed arms will thank you for it.
  • Have your roof inspected.  The last thing you need is a leak.
  • Set aside money for property and school taxes.  You’re going to pay them.  There’s no way around it.
  • You are now part of your local community.  Take a moment and attend a local community gathering, whether it’s watching a Little League baseball game, celebrating a Memorial Day in the local park, or some other local function.
  • Find out from your neighbors how many kids trick or treat through the neighborhood, and buy candy appropriately.  You don’t want to run out of Snickers when you see a caravan of kids arriving at your door.
  • Things will break down.  Rather than cursing about “why did I ever buy this god damn house in the first place,” think instead of “I bought this house.  It’s mine.  And I will fix whatever breaks in my house, because it is MY house.”

I’m sharing all these  wise and wonderful home ownership tips because later this  week, my son Kris will close on his first house.  He sent me pictures of the place.  It looks great.  And I also sent him a housewarming gift for the new home – an advertising clock.

There’s a lot of things to remember when one buys a house.  And there’s a lot of things that we don’t realize when we buy a house.

But the big thing to remember is – it’s a house, it’s now your house, and you need to do whatever it takes to keep that house in your life.

So enjoy the new home, Kris.

You never know when your old man might drop in and visit. 😀