There is a lot of pressure to get that first step on the property ladder - the theory goes that if you're renting you're only paying someone else's mortgage, so you're just forking our 'dead' money into a bottomless pit.
There's a lot of focus about how you're best to get that foot on the property-rung, but what about after you've picked up the keys? Hubby and I have been in our first home for just over a year now, and we've discovered that the learning doesn't stop after you complete.
What happens when you move in to your new home and discover that the kitchen sink is rotten, or that someone had sawn through the floorboards in the spareroom or that only thing stopping the water-tank from crashing through the ceiling is one small plastic crate? We uncovered all of the above in the last 12 months. It also seems that the people we bought our house from had a thing for No-More-Nails. No job too big for No-More-Nails... including sticking the bathroom light to the ceiling, fixing curtain rails, hanging curtain rails...
A little part of your New-Home-Owner brain makes you assume that your lovely new home will be shiney and new... the bubble quickly bursts when you're scrambling around in your loft trying to build a wooden frame around the header tank.
Be prepared to flex your DIY muscles - never assume that the people who were there before you didn't cut corners.
Your survey, and your solicitor will have told you which boarders you have responsibility for, so you're prepared to replace fence panels if they blow over. But what you might not expect is your neighbour to complain to a door-to-door hedge-trimmer-man that the evergreens in your backyard are interrupting their Sky signal...
Tradesmen: It's not what you know, it's who you know
Sometimes no matter how much Googling you do, or Youtube videos you watch, the task remains beyond your DIY skills. When that happens, your only option is to call in the big-guns. But where do you start? If you're like me and move to a new area away from family, how do you know where to turn to?
I have to recommend sites such as Mybuilder - you post the job you need completing on a board, and interested parties can 'bid' for your business (you can read reviews and see photos of previous work), all without sharing your personal details - or Trust A Trader where you can find the details of recommended tradesmen and women. I've found a fantastic plasterer and a super double-glazer - and I'm not afraid to ask for more help when I need it.
I guess I really am a grown up.