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Observations of a New Homeowner

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Sarah Buys a House has been a chronicle of Sarah DeGiorgis' journey along the road to becoming a property owner in West Philadelphia. Now that she owns the home, it will chronicle the renovation.


I’ve now been a homeowner for a little over a month and I thought I’d share what has been going through my mind since buying this house. In no particular order, of course, because that would be boring.

I can no longer quit my job, drop everything and move to some very remote place for the rest of my life because I have a mortgage. Bummer. I can, however, live out part of that fantasy by growing as much food as I can in my backyard. I like to think of it as practicing.

I’m keeping track of how much money I spend on fixing up this house and the big things aren’t that much of a surprise. Everyone knows a new roof is expensive, right? The biggest surprise has been how much paint costs! I guess I’ve only bought it one or two gallons at a time before, but it will be interesting/depressing to see how much I end up spending on paint just to get the walls and ceiling to not be blue.

I have very nice neighbors on either side and for that I’m VERY grateful...but I’m aware that this can change at any time. I’ll enjoy it while it lasts.

The list of house-related things to do is endless. Like there is actually no end in sight and there won’t be for a very long time, if ever.

It’s hard to paint 9+’ ceilings without getting paint, well, everywhere. Let’s just say I’m glad I decided to paint before tackling the floors.

When you’ve been working in a non-air conditioned house all day in July (or August) in Philadelphia the temptation to turn your backyard into one huge in-ground pool is HARD to resist. I keep reminding myself that renting a backhoe is pricey.

If I never look at another design blog or take another trip to Ikea it will be too soon.

Every project - every one - takes longer than you expect. And they all kind of blur together so that it’s often a relief to go to my air conditioned non-manual labor job all day where I can actually finish things and feel some sense of accomplishment.

On that same note, house projects are a lot easier to swallow when I think of how much exercise I’m getting while saving money by not joining a gym. Optimism!

But there is really nothing better than a cold beer on the front porch after a long day of working on the house. Oh well.

Speaking of the front porch: I love it. Somehow when you sit on it you can see a large swath of sky that turns beautiful colors at sunset and is prettier than sky in a city is every supposed to be.

Apparently my new house is on every junk mail list ever. The amount of it really is astounding.

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