First Year as a First-Time Homeowner

The first year of owning a new home, there is a lot of mixed emotions and many ups and downs. Since this Fall was the 1 year anniversary of owning my first home, thought it was perfect time to reflect on the experience and provide some possibly helpful new home owner tips.
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The house closing was near the end of October, which was helpful to view the home during the prime Summer months and then to start to see the home turn into Fall, so if questions arise they could be answered at the closing by the current owners.

If possible, do allow for 4-5 days for preparing your new home after the closing date—before having to bring the U-Haul.
This allows for a deep clean prior to boxes flooded all over your home and may help eliminating some additional stress.

Steve and I worked on prior in our 4 day before move-in window:

  • Removed all the green carpet in the upper level ourselves (maybe I need to re-phrase that Steve removed all the carpet)
  • Hired a contractor to place gray dura ceramic tile
  • Hired a professional cleaner to deep clean entire house
  • Painted 2 main bathrooms that were Pink and Purple (classy right?)

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Once we moved in we concentrated our energy on simplifying our life (continuing to go through items that we actually need) and setting up the main areas to live in, kitchen, living and our master bedroom.



Before — 2nd Bedroom with layers of paint and original wall paper border.


After — the beadboard aka wainscoting was a hugh success and made the room even bigger!

Recommendations and candid MN Design Gal advice:

  • 1 room at a time. It may sound like a good idea to jump into every room and do 1 small thing, but in reality in most cases, take it literally 1 room at a time.
  • I started with my office, because it was important for me to have a place that was completely finished and where I can relax and make some freelance money…for more house improvements.
  • Planing for anything kitchen, start prepping your budgets for a range of costs…
  • Don’t fuss over the bathroom athletics right away. Bathrooms are more work than you think once you start to dive into them and a simple handle or two can be changed out over time.
    Start a house Google doc log. This will help you when starting to think about how much money you have put into your house. Log paint, brushes etc that go into improvements too.
  • Document your paint colors, when that bucket is gone, you will be kicking yourself later.
  • Open a credit card at the nearest home improvement store (this I do regret) get 5% off at Home Depot by just mentioning at check-out each time to get it (they do this because of Lowe’s 5%).
  • Take pictures! Pull the before photos off the MLS and remember to start a “Hawthorne home” folder on your phone for making that 1st home book.
  • Don’t fuss on the yard the 1st year. Watch everything grow-in and take notes. We had gotten back from a 5 day trip and our entire backyard was a white dream full of blossoms because of our wonderful tree we never knew we had!
  • Meet the neighbors—It helps with the awkward encounters later on in the year when you need them most or when you are in a jam.



Have fun with your partner or family and friends. The best part about owning a home is to learn about house construction materials (paint, wood etc) and have fun updating and making it your own.

Year 2 brings on the Kitchen remodel! Stay tuned for updates and before and afters…Here is a first look of the wall coming down.







Your First Time Home Owner,