So you’re getting ready to make the leap and buy that first house. Awesome!
But before you do, we need to talk. (You may want to sit down for this.)
You’re going to turn into a crazy person.
Buying a house is hard. You have to learn a whole new language for starters (hint: “cozy” means “uninhabitably tiny”). You have to deal with a real estate agent who may or may not wear a ton of cologne and a mortgage broker who only works for three hours on Wednesday mornings and tries (unsuccessfully) not to sigh when he looks at your finances.
Still think you can do it? Be prepared. Here are six kinda crazy but totally true thoughts you’ll have as you work on buying your first house.
1. Why did I buy all that stupid shit?
If you snagged that first credit card in college (or before, or right after) and promptly ran up a balance buying beer, pizza, and clothes, now is the time it’s going to come back to bite you. Your awesome collections of super-duper whatevers are long gone, but your debts — or just the realization of how much money you could have socked away by now — are yours to mull forever.
2. Maybe those paper hoarders have the right idea.
What, you didn’t know you’d need to provide every tax return and your long-form birth certificate to get a mortgage? Good luck tracking down all that paperwork. Pro tip: Invest in a filing cabinet now to store all additional piles of paper that you’ll get when you actually sign on the dotted line.
3. Do I really want this kind of commitment?
Cold feet are normal, especially once you think about mowing the lawn, shoveling the snow, painting the walls, and doing 101 DIY projects that you’ve only ever seen performed on HGTV. Buying a house isn’t much different from having a baby: You’re suddenly in charge of something both valuable and breakable.
4. I am an all-powerful decorating God!
Do enough walk-throughs and you’ll get pretty good at mentally redecorating houses that aren’t yours on the spot: “Lose the linoleum and add some cork, dah-ling. It’s tres nouveau.” Correcting other people’s terrible taste is a blast, and your “What were they thinking?” stories make great cocktail conversation.
5. But, really. Can I really do whatever I want?
You’re a grown-up now, so the answer is yes. Once you buy that house, you can turn the extra bedroom into a window-filled art studio or pimp out the basement as an amazing home gym complete with an underwater treadmill. It’s all up to you (so yes, you’ll get carried away at first).
6. I seriously need to go shopping. I don’t have any stuff!
Welcome to the wonderful world of being house poor. Once you saw off your right arm and make that big down payment, you’re not going to have much cash left over. The grand irony? Now you have way more space than you used to, and tons of ideas, but no way to quickly fill it up. Get used to daydreaming about the Ikea catalog — it’ll take you years to actually “finish” your house.
If you can’t stand the idea of saying any of these six things out loud, you might not be ready for the sacrifice of sanity required by home ownership. If these crazy-person thoughts appeal to you, though, congratulations! You’re 100 percent ready to make the leap into homeownership.