Opinion: 5 Things I Wasn’t Prepared for When I Bought a House

Moving house is surprising.
Moving house is surprising. Photo by Michael Coghlan/Flickr
Buying a house is a terrifying experience that comes with a lot of expected changes from apartment life. I knew I’d have to prepare for appliance breakdowns, lawn care, and stuff like that, but a few things still snuck up on me. Stuff like…

5. So Many More Solicitors

At my apartment, the only solicitors who rang the door were people who wanted to save my soul. Now that I have a house, I get at least one salesman a week. Mostly they offer pest control, roofing, pool cleaning, and alarm systems, but they’re all very pushy. One bro rolled up to my door on a monowheel with his hands in his pockets like it was an Orange Cassidy wrestling match, and he was very unimpressed when I said I don’t sign contracts without talking to my wife. Twenty years of apartment complexes made me think door-to-door salespeople were extinct.

4. People Steal Your Trash

I am a slow unpacker, so three months later I am still putting out flattened cardboard boxes and things I probably never should have moved in the first place. I came home from getting breakfast one day and saw all the boxes were gone even though the actual trash hadn’t been picked up.

As someone who’s had a fair bit of stalking over the years from annoying Nazis, the idea that people are driving by going through my stuff, even the trash, is unsettling. Whoever took the boxes is welcomed to them, but it doesn’t help my paranoia.

3. Quiet is Weird

When you live in an apartment, you get used to a certain level of noise that you didn’t create. Even in nice, well-built apartment buildings you’ll hear distant appliances, arguments, music, and other signs of humanity.

When I moved into the house, I was unnerved by how quiet it was. I’m starting to understand why NextDoor is full of terrified racists. House sounds are different in ways that make you think you’re being invaded. By something. It takes awhile to get used to the new soundscape.

2. People Take You Way More Seriously

When you buy a house, people hand out credit like it's free candy. Despite the fact that I just put myself in debt from now until died-at-my-desk, everyone is willing to give me a credit card or just waive a payment for a month. When I set up trash pickup, they just told me to pay them in three months and started the service.

There is also a frankly more disturbing level of elevated respect from other venues. I’ve always suspected that cops and school officials were being shittier to me when I had an apartment number after my street number, but now I’m certain of it. I’m still the same unstable mutant I always was, but far fewer people treat me that way.

1. You Realize How Cheap Even Nice Apartments Are

At the end, I lived in a “luxury” apartment, and buying a house has made me realize that label is just total bullshit.

I married a spiller, so I’m used to carpet degrading like milk, but I was shocked to find out that the carpet that came with my house actually went back to normal when I cleaned up some dropped macaroni. That’s what happens when you don’t have the crappiest carpet on offer.

My electricity bill is lower even in a bigger space because my windows aren’t made of saran wrap. The dishwasher is done in half an hour because it doesn’t take two cycles to clean the dishes. I had to buy a fridge, and it actually maintains my food the temperature I set it at. The air conditioner keeps my house at 70 degrees even when it’s a hundred and change outside.

Apartment complexes are fantastic at making poor people think they’re getting a swag place. Now that I’ve had a little time to see what a little actual quality looks like, I realize how much they were overcharging me for sub-standard living. Which is, of course, one of the main reasons it took me so long to save up for a house in the first place.
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Jef Rouner (not cis, he/him) is a contributing writer who covers politics, pop culture, social justice, video games, and online behavior. He is often a professional annoyance to the ignorant and hurtful.
Contact: Jef Rouner