While in some respects, I’d sell a kidney (and my children) to be the age I was when I bought my first home, the thought of having to get on the property ladder from scratch in the current climate would not thrill me.
I was 18 when I got the keys for my first home. What a thought! Not much older than Boy One. By many people’s standards, I haven’t been trying very hard at home ownership – four properties in more than 30 years.
Here’s what I’d tell that teenager if I had a time machine and there was any chance of her listening to anyone’s advice:
- The novelty housework that you get when it’s your first precious palace will wear off. And how!
- Use the DIY book and learn how to fix things. You will, but try to do it better – fallen down shelves are not a good look. Oh, and find some Sugru, or invent it.
- Build up a contingency fund and do not use it for shoes. Actually, this is something you’ll spend a long time trying to learn.
- If there’s a damp patch on the wall, chances are there’s a problem whatever the estate agent says.
- However much money you think you’ll save, sometimes paying professionals (movers, wallpaperers, etc) is worth every cent.
- If you’re even slightly lazy (which you are) or easily bored (which you are), keep the walls and floors as neutral as you can and you can ring changes with much less effort than redecorating or replacing the carpet.
- Spend as much as you can afford if you replace things – taps, radiators etc. They’ll last longer and, as we’ve already established, you’re lazy.
- Don’t buy something so expensive, you’ll have no money left for fun. You won’t but many of your friends will – it’s not a good idea.
- That really hideous swirly carpet does, at least, hide the dirt. Think twice before you replace it with a plain one.
- The guy next door is a creep. (Actually, it’s odd, but that applies in three of the four homes.)
- Get decent grown-up advice. Here’s a step by step guide to buying a house in Ireland and about home insurance.
- Make sure you check what’s going to be included when you move in or you’ll find yourself missing the carpets, cookers and lightbulbs you were expecting and it’ll be a bit of a pain to sort things out.
- It’s hard to imagine, but one day you’ll live in a house so cluttered that the very thought of packing it up exhausts you. Learn early to declutter.
- Equally hard to imagine, but one day, your favourite point of the week will cease to be Friday at 5pm, it’ll be the time between the cleaner leaving and everyone else coming home.
- It’s your house, make sure no one fits hooks you can’t reach, mirrors you can’t see into or things you routinely bang your head on.
- Don’t be shy about taking photos and measurements when you view a house. Also, it’s OK to go for a second look. After all, this is the most expensive thing you’ve ever bought.
You might like:
This post was written in conjunction with AIG Ireland.