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4 Crucial Differences Between “Renter” You and “Owner” You

It’s hard to ignore the metamorphosis that happens when you become a homeowner.

For many of us, there comes a point when we’re ready for a more permanent living situation. Negotiating yet another rental lease, tipsy revelers in the hallway, and paying a penalty for having the audacity to paint your bedroom sage green? It’s not surprising if you’re at the end of your proverbial renting rope.

So you made a plan and took action. You found the perfect starter home and you’re ready to move in. Now that you’ve signed on the dotted line, how will “renter” you differ from “owner” you?

1. You start caring about your neighbors

When renting, it’s not uncommon to keep to yourself and not bother with introductions to anyone else in your building. Why make the effort? After all, your new neighbors are probably moving soon anyway, and this way, you can avoid the laundry room small talk.

But after purchasing a home, getting to know your neighbors might suddenly feel like a high priority. While not every backyard buddy is Wilson W. Wilson material, it’s good to know that in a pinch you have someone to water your flowers or offer advice on the most trusted handyman. What good is a beautiful block if you don’t know at least a few people at the annual party?

2. You’re suddenly an equity-building ninja

As a renter, the concept of building equity may have felt as though it was out of reach. If you overheard the phrase at happy hour, you’d think, Eh – don’t need to worry about that yet.

But now you’ve got skin in the game! Equity building may sound scary, but by making the leap from renting to owning, you’ve also taken a huge step toward investing in your financial future. So keep your eye on property values and perk up your ears when someone mentions cost-conscious home improvement projects — you can expect a major ka-ching down the road!

3. You have a new definition of “weekend warrior”

Rolling into brunch at 11 a.m. for a couple of bloody marys may be a recipe for a great weekend, but as a new homeowner, you likely have a few more agenda items on the weekend to-do list.

Many first-time buyers don’t have the budget to get a perfectly move-in-ready home, which means laying flagstone pavement and edging the path in your burgeoning backyard oasis might end up being your responsibility. Whether you’re DIY-ing solo or together, dedicating at least one day a month to home improvement projects is an easy way to transition into homeownership.

4. You’re planting roots

Renting has its benefits, but becoming a master gardener isn’t one of them. Unless you really hit the rental jackpot, most renters are satisfied with a microterrace, a tidy little herb garden, matching pots, and a bistro table for late-afternoon reading. Perfect!

But as a homeowner, you’ve now been drafted into the green-thumb big leagues. Here’s to hoping your new abode has an oversized lot, and you’re not holding back. Picture this: Having located the sunniest spot, you’ll be spending your Saturday using a rented tiller to carve out your own cornucopia of summer produce. Who knows, you may even jump on the back-to-basics bandwagon and learn how to save money by preserving your bounty.

Now that you’re fully embracing the owner lifestyle, invite all your neighbors over and show off your handiwork. See you at the housewarming!