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This New House: Dealing with fix-it list anxiety

As a new homeowner, I can tell you that finally owning your own property is an incredibly rewarding feeling. I can also tell you that it has created an incredible amount of anxiety.

This anxiety started when my wife and I were in the process of finalizing our offer. The home inspector came out to the home, walked us through a few problems he discovered – no surprise as our house is OLD – and then went on his merry way. I was feeling pretty good about our future home, but then I received an email with a detailed list of issues within the house. Upgrading electricity, fixing garage sill plates, adding roof ventilation for the attic, insulation here and there, the list of projects we would need to do went on and on and on. I panicked wondering if it was the right house, how much the owners should fix and why we were buying this money pit.

I was anxious, but slowly came out of the pits by following these steps:

  1. Speak with other homeowners or buyers. Thankfully, we had two sets of friends and a family member looking to buy houses at the same time. We compared our inspections and found out we all had to fix similar things. Any experienced homeowner will tell you that you will be taking care of your house for a long, long time. Other homeowners may be able to tell you if something stands out as odd.
  2. Once you calm down and realize you’re not in a worse situation than anyone else, prioritize. Make a list of what you need to fix and how soon you would like it fixed. Just having a game plan can do a lot to ease your stress.
  3. Don’t research on the internet. This stressed me out more. When I started looking into potential fixes for our issues and the costs, it was a whole new problem. Instead, call local contractors and a repair person to ask them for broad quotes or inspections. The regional prices were much more reasonable than the ones I was finding online and made fixing my house seem much more manageable.
  4. Still in the negotiating phase? See if the seller would include a home warranty. It’s an extra layer of insurance that can protect you from big purchases should a main appliance break.

Of course, you still may have some anxiety even after reading this. If you follow the steps and talk to your friends and family about concerns, you can calm yourself down and get ready to fix your house, making it even more valuable.

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