5 Years Later- What I've Learned After 5 Years of Home Ownership | Live Pretty on a Penny

5 Years Later- What I've Learned After 5 Years of Home Ownership

You guys! It's been five years since we bought and closed on our first home, can you believe it?
When we bought our house back in September 2011, it looked like this.
Not too bad, but definitely needed some work. It was a foreclosure and had been vacant for around 8 months before we bought it.  It's so funny because we knew nothing about where this journey would take us. We both came from apartments, with hand me down furniture, really bad art and other accents, and the things we did have were pieced together.
It wasn't until I moved into my home that I got the decorating bug and it hasn't stopped. That's why I'm so thankful for this blog. It's the perfect outlet to share my passion.
It's so weird to me how fast time goes, but I am enjoying the journey along the way.

So in celebration of our 5th year of homeownership, I want to share 5 things we, or specifically I  have learned during this process of home ownership.

1) There is ALWAYS something...ALWAYS...

Something to be done...

Something to be maintained...

Something to be fixed...

Something to be upgraded...

Always something. In my experience, it seems like every time we get a small break and think we are sailing smoothly, then something else comes along. Just this year alone, we've had a leak in the dining room wall (taken care of by Insurance thankfully), a broken supply line in the master bathroom (again taken care of by Insurance), several A/C repairs, and a new water heater. Whew! In addition to home projects, basic weekly maintenance things like lawn cutting, and just balancing a household. But would I trade it? Nope! Well, maybe the balancing household duties like Laundry, cooking, and cleaning. You can keep that:)

2) Budgeting and Planning is Important...

Each month, I sit down and figure out how my money will be spent and saved in relation to our home and bills. My husband want's no part in it, lol.  We also like to do lots of projects and that money has to come from some where and be accounted for. So for bigger projects that we may have to contract out or larger furniture purchases, or and DIY's that may cost quite a bit of money, we typically plan those around Spring. We like ensure that in most cases, we pay cash.

3) A Home Warranty is Worth It...
I know many people that feel like home warranties are worthless, a waste of money, and a scam. I can understand that, but this is definitely not the case for us. Each month, we pay American Home Shield and believe me when I tell you, they come in handy! Now... here is my disclaimer...some of their contractors are a bit bootleg, but overall they are fine. Just this summer alone, they have come out and repaired our 20 year A/C unit about 3 times. However last year was different. They came out multiple times last summer as well, and I know what you may be thinking.. "if they are so good, why do they keep having to come out?" Well, the average life of an a/c unit, especially here is Georgia is around 10 years. Mine is 20! So parts continue to fail on it, just like it would with anything that old. So they have pretty much rebuilt us a brand new unit. Plus, if at some point,they come out to repair it, and it can't be repaired, they will replace it.  So I am sure they are just avoiding replacing it because a new unit for my home is around $6-$8,000. But we really don't care, as long as it works when they fix it, we are satisfied.And let me tell you, service calls definitely are expensive so going through Home Shield is worth it to us.

Plus, I have always appreciated their customer service when I call. Over the past 5 years, we've gotten the garbage disposal, microwave, furnace, old water heater, and a/c unit repaired. Our realtor gave us the warranty for a year as a closing gift, and we have kept renewing since.

4) Don't Skimp On Homeowners Insurance...

We all know that if you owe a mortgage on your house, then homeowners insurance is required...well that's the case in Georgia. But let me tell you how glad I am that we decided to go with a reputable agency as opposed to a so- so one with a cheaper rate. Our entire 4 years of ownership, we went with incident, but this year we had two situations that required significant repairs. I talked about it here and here. The second situation I never talked about, but maybe one day I will. But, hear me when I say State Farm came through like a champ with no hesitation and barely raised our premium. I've heard horror stories from people when dealing with insurance agents and companies, but not in my case.

The thing about insurance is you hope that you never have to use it, which the company is hoping for too, but if it comes down to it, and you have to, you want to make sure you have the best. Your home is an investment and should be well protected:)

This article offered some really great tips about homeowners insurance, so check it out!

5) Make Sure You Are Ready...

This is the most important thing we have learned. Only buy when YOU are ready, not when others say so, or when "society" thinks it's time. This has been an ultimate responsibility which takes sacrifice at times, but yes it has been worth it. Thankfully we bought at a time when interest rates were low, and there were hundreds of homes on the market.

We also bought way under what we could have been financed for because we still wanted to be able to do other things. That would be another suggestion. If you are looking to buy, just think about what you can realistically afford each month, because yes you may get a home for the same amount as what you paid in rent, but you also didn't have the additional maintenance that comes along with owning a home.

So those are my little nuggets that I have picked up during our 5 years of home ownership. We have seen the good, bad, and ugly but I believe if its something that you are ready for, its all worth it in the end!

So what are some tips you have learned over the years if you are a homeowner? If not, are you looking to buy anytime soon?

Leave a comment below!

Thanks so much for stopping by...until next time!


  1. Wow Erin these are some great tips. I'm looking to buy within the next 3 years and I needed this info! Thank you :)

  2. We've been in our current home for 24 years now, and I agree with all of the above. Great tips.

  3. Great post Erin! We are going on 11 years in our home and the only thing I would add is to go a bit bigger than what you need 😁, we had 2 kids when we bought our little starter, now with 6 of us in the house it's busting at the seams! Lol, but I know you guys did do that, so time for baby #2!😂


I love to interact with you guys! Your comments make my day:)