7 Things to Remember Before Buying Your Childhood Home
The trailer for Fuller House, the Netflix reboot of Full House, is out. Don't lie, you're excited. From Miranda Lambert's "The House That Built Me" playing, to Comet Jr. barking by the door, the trailer really does feel like going home again--at least to anyone who grew up in the 80s and 90s. But moving back into your childhood home doesn't guarantee a lifetime of predictability. Here's what DJ should think about before she unpacks her boxes.
1. The neighborhood might be different.
When your parents bought the house, it was a newer neighborhood full of families with young kids. But over the years those families turned into empty nesters and retirees. Your best friend doesn't live next door anymore, either (unless she moved in with you à la Kimmy Gibbler). But that just means there's an opportunity to make new friends, and there are plenty of neighbors who can tell your family what an adorable child you were when you were growing up.
2. The old owners might have made renovations.
Unless you're buying the home from your parents, chances are the owners have made some changes. The Pepto-Bismol pink bathroom is now a chic collection of stone and earth tones (that might be a good thing), the place where you marked your height every year is painted over, and the backyard now sports a screened in porch. Our advice? Embrace the changes. You wouldn't have bought any other house with an outdated bathroom and now you're more concerned with documenting your children's growth than you are reminiscing over your own.
3. Things are a lot smaller than you remember.
This is a big one if you moved before you were fully grown. That giant hill you and your brother used to skateboard down? Yeah, that's really just a slight incline. You hardly notice it now when you're walking the dog around the neighborhood. The upside? When your kids start talking about the big hill, the giant field, or the "forest," you'll know exactly what they're talking about.
4. You'll be sleeping in the master bedroom.
Try to keep the giggling to a minimum, you're not doing anything wrong by sneaking into Mom and Dad's room. You're the Mom and Dad now, so get started making the room your own.
5. Your spouse might not have the same warm fuzzies about the house.
You can't stand the idea of chopping down the oak tree in the backyard that you and your sister used to climb every day after school. Your dad built you a swing on that branch right there, and that's where you were sitting when you had your first kiss from the boy next door. Your spouse doesn't have the same attachment to that tree. To him, the tree looks half dead and is more of a safety hazard than a prized possession. Be ready to have some give and take about what stays the same and what changes in the house. Remember, it's not just about reliving your childhood, it's about making new memories.
6. You might be tempted to spend more than you should.
Is the house slightly out of your price range? Treat it like any other purchase, letting your real estate agent negotiate for the fairest price, and staying with what you can afford. And if you're buying it from your parents, don't let yourself feel pressure to get in over your head. A lot of people overspend when they're feeling strong emotion. But overspending on a house is a decision you'll have to live with for a long time.
7. Will you have the place to yourself?
Your siblings may feel the same attachment you do, and they might feel a little too "at home." Will they be upset if you make too many changes to their childhood home? Will they expect you to host, and pay for, every holiday, just like Mom and Dad? Will they come over a few nights a week, do laundry, hog the remote, and eat all your snacks? Make sure that you're good at setting boundaries, or comfortable without them.
Returning to the family home can be wonderful, but remember that you won't have Uncle Jesse to help out (or you might not even want him there). Before you decide to make the move, consider all the options. And if it seems right for you? Go for it! And remember that you can have all the parties you want, and stay up as late as you want. Because it's your place now!