Owning a home is more than just a commitment—it's a full-blooded relationship. And, much like the relationship you have with your spouse, kids, or others you choose to surround yourself with, this alliance has its heavenly highs and abysmal lows. It's full of laughter, tears, triumph, and unfettered, barely controllable rage. There will be moments when you love your house, and others when you hate it with a great passion. We thought we’d share many of the things that people adore about being homeowners, as well as a few things that can drive them crazy. Consider this a primer on how to prepare for the emotional highs and lows of homeownership so you know to take it all in stride.
Love: No more throwing away money on rent
That's right, your old landlord can no longer bleed you dry and leave you with nothing to show for it.
“When the first of the month rolls around, my home payment is paying down my own debt instead of someone else’s,” says Keith Hickman of Los Angeles. "That's a great feeling."
Hate: All the money you'll have to funnel toward home maintenance
Then you wake up at 3 a.m. to find that your pipes have burst ... and your basement has flooded ... and that it'll cost around $10,000 to fix. Wouldn't a landlord be nice right about now?
Love: You can let your 'inner decorator' loose
Want to paint your bedroom walls fire-engine red, or add zebra-print carpet to your kitchen? Go right ahead, let your freak flag fly. It's your house, a blank slate on which to express yourself.
Hate: Addictive obsession with HGTV
Forget “Keeping Up With the Kardashians”—now it’s all about keeping up with Chip and Joanna Gaines. And don’t get us started on the other byproduct of your new maniacal decorating focus—the design paralysis that will set in. Who knew there were literally hundreds of shades of white to paint your walls?
Love: So much space!
Compared with a cramped apartment, a home has no lack of storage space, so go ahead and fill up those cabinets with that hundred-roll of paper towels you've often dreamed of buying at Costco. Quench your thirst with an endless stream of cold drinks on hand thanks to that second fridge in your garage.
Hate: All that space could turn you into a borderline hoarder
But watch out: Your home could become the de facto storage place for everything you and your extended family don’t want in their house.
“My ‘unused’ third floor has suddenly become my family's ‘storage shed,’" says Gary Nosacek of Milwaukee. "The lovely open space now houses a giant nativity set that belongs to my mom, my brother’s stash of Halloween costumes, and three huge boxes full of branded give-away tote bags for my daughter who works in automotive marketing."
Love: You'll get to know your neighbors
Renters rarely even look at their neighbors, much less engage in conversation. But now, you might be astonished to find yourself waving at strangers next door or across the street, or bringing them an apple pie.
Hate: You'll get to know your neighbors
There's a fine line between neighbors being friendly versus nosy, helpful versus overbearing. One or two bad apples could become so annoying, you'll cringe and hide when the doorbell rings.
Love: Your home's price could appreciate
In a healthy economy, a home's value generally goes up—with the average property appreciation hovering between 3% to 4% per year. And that means that if all goes well, you stand to reap a tidy profit when you sell.
Hate: Your home's price could also plummet
All it takes is one bad twist of fate—like a huge hurricane or wildfire—to turn your real estate "investment" into a real clunker. And it's one you're stuck with, too.
Love: Owning a home means you can finally feel like an 'adult'
You're no longer some flaky, fly-by-night drifter. You own a home. It's a weighty rite of passage, and can pave the way toward all other types of grown-up activities such as raising a family and contributing to the community.
Bonus: Your parents can no longer nitpick about when you're going to get your life together, because you're one of them now. More or less.
Hate: Owning a home means you must bid adieu to your frivolous, fun-filled life
Being an "adult" homeowner is a ton of work—seriously, the honey-do list is endless.
“Every weekend passes by in a blur of repairs and maintenance projects, and each project ends up spawning many more,” notes Amanda Austin of Erie, PA. And it'll suck when you have to turn down your apartment-dwelling friends' invitations to brunch because you have to mow the lawn.
But while homeowners might gripe and groan, rest assured, they didn't take the plunge for nothing. For better and for worse, it's part of the American dream for good reason: It's worth it.