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Whether you own a home or plan to one day, here's one question you may not have pondered: What type of homeowner are you? Because, let's face it, there are as many different types of homeowners as there are types of homes -- each with its own unique strengths and, alas, fatal flaws.
See if you recognize yourself (or a neighbor or three) in these common breeds below, and learn a bit about how each type can become the one kind of homeowner we all hope to be: happy!
Type No. 1: The I-bit-off-more-than-I-can-chewer
You've bought the home of your dreams, but man, did it cost you. The rooms are bare, because you can't afford furniture. You can't remember the last time you ate dinner out. Even in the dead of winter, no one had better think about turning the thermostat above 50 degrees -- or else! It's rough, but hey, it'll get better once you pay off your mortgage … in 30 years.
A little advice: "I actually know people in this situation who are scrimping on every aspect of their lives to have enough money to cover their monthly mortgage payment," says Cameron Huddleston at GOBankingRates.com.
The best measure here is preventive. "Typically, lenders require that your housing debt -- monthly mortgage payments, taxes, and insurance -- shouldn't exceed 28% of monthly income," she says. Or if you're already in over your head, check if refinancing can ease your misery. No home, no matter how nice, is worth eating Kraft macaroni & cheese for three decades straight.
Type No. 2: The DIYer
You're determined to prove you don't need a handyman. Whatever the repair or renovation, you're ready to tackle it -- at least until someone loses a finger.
A little advice: Before you start wielding that nail gun, sit down and accept that in spite of what HGTV has led you to believe, not all renovation projects can be safely handled by watching a few videos, then rolling up your sleeves.
According to HomeAdvisor, an online site that matches consumers with prescreened home professionals, DIYers should think twice about tackling plumbing or electrical work. At the very least, hire a pro to come over and show you the ropes to avoid getting in over your head.
Type No. 3: The dorm room-er
You've graduated from college and actually bought your home, but it sure doesn't look like it. Between the mess and wall-to-wall Ikea furniture, the lack of sophistication makes you feel self-conscious whenever guests drop by -- a feeling that will only grow with age if you don't get your act together.
A little advice: If your home is stuck in a gawky adolescent stage, it's time to help it grow up, which may not be as daunting as you think. For one, rethink your walls. Less is more: Tear down any posters and replace them with one simple print, framed, per room. A frame signals "I am mature enough to go to a store, buy a framed picture, and nail it on my wall." This might not seem like much, but if so, what's the holdup? And in case you haven't guessed, the other common piece of college furniture to shed is a futon bed. If you're single and you bring a date home, it's not doing you any favors.
Type No. 4. The showoff
You're proud of your home, and of all the hard work you've poured into finding every stick of furniture that graces it. And yes, guests are impressed. But that doesn't mean they want to hear you gush, "Oh, I got that credenza during my summer in Tibet. You won't believe how much it cost to ship here!"
A little advice: Your home is gorgeous, we get it. You don't have to hide that, but you don't have to gloat, either. Let your fancy/exotic home furnishings speak for themselves, and divulge the backstory only if asked.
Type No. 5. The coveter
Despite the fact that your home is lovely, your enjoyment is overshadowed by the fact that the place down the street is nicer.
A little advice: Haven't you heard that keeping up with the Joneses is a race you'll never win? Since comparisons are your Achilles' heel, try to focus on your own place and what you can do to be happy with it. You don't need a full kitchen reno; even a solid decluttering, new coat of paint, or rearranging of furniture can brighten your attitude.
Type No. 6: The party host
Your house is the party spot on the block! Why else did you make sure your pad had all the right amenities, from a fire pit to a hot tub?
A little advice: Unless you want the cops at your door every weekend, you've gotta understand that while your home is your castle, your neighbors have a right to peace and quiet. So be sure to warn them ahead of time with a note promising to end the ruckus by a decent hour.
Also be sure to include your phone number so they can easily call if you're keeping them up. Because while waking a neighbor is bad form, it's far more annoying to force them to march over in their bathrobe to tell you to shut up.