A disclaimer to start - no, that isn't my house in the photo. Actually, taking a good look at it, I wish it was.

I was kind of late to the homeownership game.

I have good reasons, though. Radio is the kind of business where people are afraid to buy homes. But 5 years ago, I felt like I had gotten to the point in my career where I could plant some roots  (I am of course knocking on wood as I type this).

So I bought my place 5 years ago.

In those 5 years, I have learned a lot. I think it's fair to say that everything that we learn can be used to our advantage in one way or another, but sometimes it's not fun to learn those lessons.

So here is a sampling of the things I've learned in my first foray into being a homeowner.

I'll never buy a condo again
All due respect to well run and true cooperative condo associations. Suffice to say, mine has had its share of, let's say "challenges". I do see and understand the benefits, and I will say that a condo is a good choice for a first time homeowner. But, that being said, it sure won't be the path I go down when it's time to be a second time homeowner.

A mortgage is a good thing
Before, I was a believer in renting. But a lot of friends and family would explain to me how paying rent and paying a mortgage are totally different. You will never see the rent money again. You pay it, it's gone. But, whether or not you get back what you paid to buy your home, at least you'll get something back in the end. When I think about the decades of paying rent in my past, it's a little shocking to think of how much it would amount to. Certainly enough to put a down payment on a decent home!

You're never done fixing things
It's ironic when I think about this one. I actually rented the same place for the first 5 years that I lived here, and I feel like there were never any major problems. But wouldn't it figure that it seemed like the second I signed the mortgage papers, everything started to break. And it feels like it hasn't stopped since. Now, in fairness, it could be the fact that in the past I could always call a landlord who would take care of things, and now, for all intents and purposes, I'm the landlord. There's nobody to call now.

Good neighbors are everything
I'm lucky to have good neighbors. One of the problems with renting an apartment is the fact that your neighbors are almost always changing. You may go through a period of having nice, quiet, clean people living next to, above, and/or below you, but an empty apartment could be filled by noisy and inconsiderate people at any moment. I live in a nice little cul-de-sac in my community. It's a mix of people; singles, families, younger, and older, but my little corner has a nice low drama vibe. I know that it's not like that for everyone, and I appreciate that fact every day.

I've had my share of challenges. And looking back there are some things that I would have done differently. But I am glad that I took the big step of becoming a homeowner.

I certainly know things now that I didn't know before. Again, for better or for worse, but it all comes together to help me tackle the same kinds of decisions and issues in the future.

What was your first experience as a homeowner like? Comment below and let us know!


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