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Home improvement Redditors reveal unwritten rules for new owners: here are the top responses

Getting the keys to your new home isn’t the finish line. Oftentimes, it’s the starting point. See what homeowners on Reddit are sharing as their top unwritten rules of the game.

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Sarah Sharkey

10/3/2022 · 3 min read

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Key Takeaways

  • When you’re a homeowner, projects can take much longer than expected. 

  • Many things around your house may break along the way. 

  • The list of projects can keep growing. But finding a balance is key to enjoying your lovely new home.

Sometimes, buying a home can seem like the end of a long journey. 

But sometimes, getting the keys to your new home is just the beginning. As a new homeowner, you might face a collection of unwritten rules that can impact your experience as you settle into your new digs. 

Users on the popular r/HomeImprovement subreddit discussed the unwritten rules they encountered – but may not have anticipated – as new homeowners. Here’s a list of the top responses Reddit’s new homeowners ran into after closing.

1. Projects can take longer than expected

When you first close on a home, it’s common to have plans for how you want to change it. Whether you have a big project or just adding a few minor personalizations, it’s normal for repairs to take longer than expected. 

Redditor u/MaxSupernova wrote, “Any project will be 90% completed in a normal amount of time. The final finishing touches will take at least a year, and you will be unable to find at least a third of the things you originally purchased to do the finishing touches and will be forced to rebuy them.”

Instead of panicking with an expanding timeline, try to give yourself as much wiggle room as possible at the beginning of the project. 

2. Neighbors can have really strong opinions about trees

Some lucky homeowners have beautiful trees to make their property picturesque. But if you have plans to touch any of those trees, be prepared for a visit from your neighbors. 

“Your neighbors will magically become arborists as soon as you trim more than 10% of any tree on your property,” writes u/ParaDescarata123. Get ready for some interesting conversations about what you can and cannot do with the tree on your very own property. 

3. You may visit the home improvement store often

When you embark on a project, u/ParaDescarata123 warns that “you will NEVER complete a project with a single visit to a home store.”

That may be because another unspoken rule is that every homeownership project can require more steps than you originally thought. 

The post’s author says, “Every project you undertake will require that you uncover at least one additional project that needs to be addressed before the original project can be completed or create a new one by you breaking something while you were working on the original project.”

4. Expensive repairs might not create a dream home aesthetic 

When considering homeownership, you might have watched some HGTV shows or scrolled to Pinterest for the perfect style. But for many homeowners, even expensive repairs don’t necessarily lead to a dream home. 

U/Apostate456 wrote, “Your most expensive and necessary projects will not make your house look or feel nicer (e.g. replacing the roof, changing out the pipes, repairing electrical work) but is the most necessary component.” 

5. The list of projects can grow

When you own a home, things tend to break over time. That’s just part of the experience. 

As u/moaii puts it, “The list is never finished. Never. So take weekends off now and again and spend it with the ones you are making a home for.”

Of course, everyone's experience will vary, but it’s always best to be prepared and stay calm if any of these underwritten rules head in your new life as a homeowner. 

This content is meant for informational purposes only and is not intended to be construed as financial, tax, legal, or insurance advice. Opendoor always encourages you to reach out to an advisor regarding your own situation.

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Sarah SharkeyAuthor

Sarah Sharkey is a personal finance writer who enjoys diving into the details to help readers make savvy financial decisions. She covered mortgages, insurance, money management, and more.

JG

Jena GreeneEditor

Jena Greene is the Managing Editor at Opendoor. She covers real estate, personal finance, money management, and market best practices. Jena is passionate about empowering people to find their dream homes and making the home-buying process a delightful one.