You did it, lady. You bought your first house and it’s yours and you can do whatever you want with it! Well…not so fast. Here, eight things that first-time homeowners often don’t realize before it’s too late.

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THAT YOU MIGHT NEED TO MAKE IMPROVEMENTS STAT

If you just plunked down a ton of money to buy the house (closing costs, whaaaa), it can seem ridiculous to shell out again right away. But even if you’ve passed inspection and are moving into a well-built abode, there’s a good chance you’ll have to do something big (a new boiler… a roof fix) within your first year. Keep a cushion of cash on hand, even if it means waiting to buy that farmhouse table you’ve been coveting.

RELATED: All the Things You Might Not Know About Buying a House

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And that those improvements could require permits

It depends on where you live and the extensiveness of your plans, but plenty of renovations--say, a kitchen remodel or a window installation--might require a permit from the city government. Do your research, talk to your contractor and don’t risk starting anything that’s not good and legal.

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But that other improvements could save you money

Did you know that you could earn a 30 percent tax credit by installing a geothermal heat pump? Or that you could save on monthly energy bills by getting a solar panel and selling electricity back to the grid? Hooray for going green! 

RELATED: 7 Tax Deductions You Didn’t Know You Could Take

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That your neighbors might not be as jazzed about your 4th-floor addition as you are

You’ve been excited to install that gargoyled turret since the day you moved in. Frank next door is terrified you’ll obstruct his views and park a dumpster in front of his house. Have him over for sangria to discuss any big-ticket renovations that could disrupt his life--and proceed with serious caution when it comes to projects that are likely to piss off more than one neighbor.

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That you have to follow trash laws

Recycling goes out on Tuesdays. Big electronics on the first Friday of every month. Anything glass must be in a clear bag. Learn your city’s trash laws, and follow them to a T. (Unless you love getting hit with fines.)

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That lawns require attention during every season

Once the temps rise, you are all about that lawn-mower life. But news flash: You also have to take care of your yard from September to May. Keep your lawn raked and tidy in the fall (or risk turning your property into a slip-and-slide) and your grass short and debris-free come winter. 

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That you might be liable for stuff that doesn’t seem like your problem

Got a tree that overhangs Frank-the-neighbor’s driveway? Got a sewer line that runs beneath your yard? Got an icy sidewalk that you just don’t feel like salting? All of those things are your responsibility to maintain and keep safe for others.

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That you don’t have to do everything at once

You have a new house! You want to make it beautiful and homey and full of cheery wallpaper right away. But slow down there, hotshot: If you pace yourself and tackle one thing at a time, you’ll make your money and energy go a lot further. Plus, it’s fun to always have a next project on the horizon. Isn’t that why you bought a house in the first place?

RELATED: 7 Inexpensive Ways to Boost Your Home’s Curb Appeal

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