We bought a house about two years ago, and we love it. It's not huge, and it's a ways out of the city, but it's ours and it has a great backyard, a big garage and basement, and enough room for our simple life. We love it.
But home ownership is more demanding than I anticipated. No one really prepares you for this stuff. After renting for literally all but two years of my life before now, it has really taken some getting used to.
You have to fix it.
If something breaks, big or small, it's up to you to fix. A stair gets wobbly: you replace it. The toilet runs: you get a new set of toilet guts to go inside it. Wasps build a nest of evil in your attic: you climb up there and exterminate them like a boss.
Correction: Someone you love goes up to the attic like a boss.
This is very different from the, "Call the Manager" approach to all problems I was used to.
The lawn does not mow itself.
Some people enjoy mowing the lawn. But then, some people enjoy folding clothes (my mom) and some people enjoy doing dishes (al-Qaeda). My husband, however, does not enjoy lawn care, so our lawn alternates ever couple of weeks between shaved down to the nubs ("Then I won't have to mow it again for a while!") and looking like the Serengeti. Whenever he does mow it, the next morning there are always a hand full of confused animals looking around like, "Wait, wasn't there like, a forest here yesterday?"
You are always working on something.
A home is a lot like a scrapbook in this way. You are never at a stopping point because you are always behind. There are always twenty things on your to-do list, and as soon as you finish those, if you ever do, it's time to start the next one. That's why I gave up scrapbooking.
Currently our home to-do list includes adding more insulation to the attic, remodeling the stairs to the basement, finishing our basement, adding a shelf to a cabinet in the kitchen, and building a back deck, just to name a few. It never ends.
It is also awesome.
Being able to play Dance Dance Revolution at midnight is only one of the reasons a house is way better than living in an apartment. Also, you can choose your own wall colors, not hear your neighbor's music (most of the time), and grill on your back porch. And a fenced in backyard. And more space. And more windows.
So yeah, there are definitely pluses. (I didn't want it to sound like I was complaining.)
But for all you first-time home buyers out there, just know that when you buy a house, you are also buying a new part-time occupation, a set of new weekly chores, a hobby, and a pet. Congratulations.