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What Did You Invest In When You Bought Your First Home (And Wish You Hadn't)?

Hanna KielarNovember 27, 2019

There’s no denying that buying a home is expensive, especially when it’s your first one. As a first-time home buyer, you have to dish out a great deal of money for a down payment, closing costs, mortgage payments, property taxes, homeowners insurance, utilities ... the list goes on.

Our team at Rocket HomesSM chatted with several first-time home buyers to find out what they splurged on and whether or not they regretted their decisions. Here’s what we found.

Home Gym

“When we bought our first home, my wife and I spent $30,000 on a home gym in our garage and the only thing we regret was not investing in it sooner,” Cooper Mitchell told us. Cooper and his wife were initially worried they wouldn’t use their home gym as much as their gym membership, but they actually use it all the time. They like the fact that it’s available to them whenever their schedules allow for a workout and their kids get to see them make healthy choices.

If you’re tired of the gym grind and believe you’ll exercise at home, buying equipment like a treadmill, stationary bike, and weights may make sense. Since the average cost of a gym membership is $58 per month or about $700 per year, investing in about $2,000 worth of gym equipment for your home will pay for itself in 3 years.

Furniture

“We splurged on furniture and we don’t regret it. The handmade log bed with dressers and nightstands and log dining room table and chairs were exactly what we wanted, and we knew that once we got settled in, we would never spend that kind of money again,” explained Melanie Musson, writer for HomeInsuranceRates.com.

While you don’t have to splurge on all the furniture you buy, there are a few pieces that may be worth spending a bit more on. Your couch will get a lot of use, so while buying a durable, functional, and stylish couch may be pricey, the investment may be well worth it. If you have kids or pets, a leather or microfiber couch is a great option as these materials can withstand their activity.

Another furniture piece that may be worth the extra money is a mattress. After all, you sleep on it every night and will probably spend more time on your mattress than any other furniture piece in your home. Shop around and test several mattresses in store to make sure you like the firmness and softness and will be content with sleeping on it for the next 7 – 10 years. If you do want to buy one online, make sure you can return it after a trial period if you don’t like it. The last thing you want is to be stuck with a mattress you bought online that gives you back aches.

Pool

“Our first house had a huge backyard, so we decided to buy a pool. It’s been 5 years and we’re kicking ourselves for this splurge,” said Emily Wilson. While being able to take a dip in your backyard on a hot summer day sound great, owning a pool comes with a lot of maintenance and upkeep that you may later regret.

Before you take the plunge and invest in a pool, keep in mind that you’ll have to maintain it on your own or hire a company to do so. If you take care of it yourself, you’ll need to buy special equipment and chemicals. On the other hand, if you don’t have the time or desire to maintain it, a pool maintenance company may charge you $125 a week to maintain a standard 14-by-28-foot pool. You’ll also have to pay for repairs any time an issue arises.

In addition, owning a pool can be a liability. If your child’s friend comes over, for example, and gets hurt in a swimming pool accident, you may be on the hook. While you can install a safety barrier like a fence around the pool to help prevent accidents, some of them are inevitable.

Sunroom

“I work from home so I thought adding a four-season sunroom to our 1,300-square-foot ranch would be a good idea. A few years later, I do regret this decision because it led my property taxes to increase and my utility expenses skyrocketed. I also found that I’m more productive when I work in my kitchen,” explained Dana Edelman.

A sunroom is a room you can use to relax and unwind in while taking in the beauty of nature and enjoying plenty of natural light. It may be a good option if you think you’ll actually use on a regular basis rather than every once in a while.

If you feel confident you’ll use a sunroom, you can opt for a three-season room that can be used in the fall, spring and summer. While a four-season sunroom that can also be used in the winter is more expensive, it may be worth it if you live in an area with long winters.

Your lifestyle and personal enjoyment will dictate whether or not the extra costs associated with a sunroom are worth it. Be honest with yourself and figure out whether the use you’ll get out of it outweighs the costs.

It’s easy to get carried away with splurges as a first-time home buyer. Before you decide on a splurge, however, carefully weigh the pros and cons and consider all of your options. Also, speak to other people you know who have made the splurge you’re considering to find out whether or not they regret their decision.

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    Hanna Kielar

    Hanna Kielar is an Associate Section Editor for Rocket Companies focused on personal finance, recruiting and personal loans. She has a B.A. in Professional Writing from Michigan State University.