Friday, April 25th, 2014

The joys and headaches of owning a home

The day before I was to close on my house, one of my coworkers told me to enjoy my final day as a renter.
I knew it was a congratulations from a home owner herself, but also a warning of things to come.

This week, a month after our purchase, my husband and I had to call in our first contractor, a plumber, to repair a nasty clog in the bathroom tub that must have started forming when the house was built 57 years ago. The clog was so massive and so far removed from the drain that we had to cut into our wall on the other side of the bath tub to locate it.

About $200 later (it could have been much worse if it weren’t for the nice plumber who didn’t charge us more for the extra hassle), we no longer stood shin deep in water while taking a shower.

Problem solved, at least for now.

That’s the thing about owning a home. Instead of picking up the phone, calling the property’s owners and telling them about their problem, it’s almost always your problem.

On the other hand, though, I look around and have begun to really appreciate some of the small things around me that no one, except for maybe the bank or a thief, can take away. When you dream about owning certain belongings someday, these things rarely come to mind – the patch of sunflowers in my back yard, the rose bush next to my front door and the window on the back of the house that makes doing dishes tolerable. Tolerable, I said, not enjoyable.

Of course, I also own a handful of weeds in the back corner of my property that are taller than my head, a lawn that doesn’t mow itself and a shed I’m afraid to step foot in for fear of creatures that call it home.

I read an article online the other day about how 27 percent of renters say they have no intention of ever buying a home.

Part of that I’m sure is the poor economy and the growing speculation that purchasing a home is not necessarily the best way of increasing one’s wealth anymore. The other part of that is not wanting the upkeep or commitment that comes with owning property, which I definitely can understand.

For me, however, purchasing this home has been the most challenging, scary, exhilarating and rewarding thing I’ve ever done, and I wouldn’t take it back for anything. Ask me again in five years, and maybe my new home ownership excitement will have worn away.

For now, though, I’m going to enjoy the little things and try not to think about what problems lurk behind the walls of this house.

Just ask my husband, who sat with me outside the other night, as I pointed out how neat it was that we own the concrete slab on which we were sitting.

Looking at me like I was crazy, he said, “Well, this can be your part of the house then.”

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