I can’t even list on my fingers and toes the things that having anxiety has stopped me from doing. I didn’t go to my graduation, prom, or to college. It took me almost 20 years to work up the courage and take the leap into self-employment. I decided not to have children largely based on the fear of what it would do to my mental health. I also have no desire to ever learn how to drive because the thought of being in control of a vehicle makes me break out in a cold sweat.
Sometimes I feel like I’m made up of 70% water and 30% anxiety.
Despite the very long list of things I’ve been too anxious to do there are also so many, many, ways that I’ve been brave. For most of my life, I identified as a coward. How could I not when the smallest things would make me want to hide in my bed? But that’s bravery isn’t it? Facing those things and getting through them. And when you have anxiety there are a lot of things you have to face.
There was one thing I wouldn’t let my anxiety stop me from doing: owning a house.
Growing up, we were always renters and while we didn’t move a lot, it was still stressful. I stayed in my first apartment for as long as possible until they sold the building and decided to renovate the entire building. I hated renting. I hated that I didn’t have complete control of who came into my space. I hated the uncertainty that came at the end of every lease.
The thing I craved more than anything was stability when it came to housing. So when I was 25 I started seriously looking into what it would take to buy a house. The first hurdle was I had absolutely no credit so I focused on that and building up my savings.
By the time I was 30, I’d bought the perfect little house for me. But once you’re a homeowner there are brand new anxieties you have to contend with. What if something breaks? What if something goes wrong? Why is everything so freaking expensive? Why am I feeling anxious about pretty much everything?
That’s a wonderful little thing I like to call “homeowner anxiety.”
Homeowner anxiety is not a formal diagnosis but worrying about all things house-related can make your regular ol’ anxiety even worse.
In this post, we take a look at some of the strategies that you can use to reduce (or potentially eliminate homeowner anxiety).
Learn To Do More Maintenance Yourself
At least for the little things. I remember the first time that I fixed a leaky sink all by myself. I felt like an absolute superstar. YouTube is a great resource when you’re learning how to fix things. And here is something completely silly that I had to remind myself of – “I’m not going to get in trouble for trying to fix something small. It’s my house after all!”
It can also help to look up common household repairs so that you have materials on hand when those things pop up. You can find appliance replacement parts available from this site.
Also, if you’re not big on getting gifts for the holidays (I’m not) ask for gift cards (or even tools!) from Home Depot or Lowes that you can use when needed. Way better than a gift that you’ll put in the closet.
Keep Maintenance Under Control
Preventative maintenance is the best option because it allows you to reduce costs dramatically. My first few years of homeownership I procrastinated because of that familiar anxiety of hating having people in my space. Did I come to regret it? Why yes, yes I did when the HVAC went out in the middle of an Oklahoma summer.
Find companies you trust to do preventative maintenance and then when something breaks you’re not doing a mad scramble trying to find a reputable company to do the work.
Build an Emergency House Fund
Pricey repairs are almost inevitable. In the six years that I’ve had a home, I’ve had to replace part of the HVAC system, the water heater, and a good about of the floors. Homeowner’s insurance can help for a lot of things but you’ll also run into deductibles and depreciation so have extra in your savings so that you can build an emergency fund.
Focus on Self-Talk
If you know me, self-talk is one of my favorite coping skills and one of the ones that work the best for me. So here are some things that I say to myself when I’m anxious and stressed out.
“I am safe here in my home.”
“This is my space and it is sacred.”
“Everything is going to work out.”
“One thing at a time.”
If you’re anxious about owning your home, know that you’re not alone and it’s also natural. It’s a huge asset that requires a lot of time and money so of course, you’d have worst-case scenarios in your head. Fight against them and focus on feeling safe and at ease in your space.