7 surprises of home ownership

Some things need fixing immediately

If it's leaking, you'll need to get on top of that ASAP. No calling the landlord. You need to fix it now. First, build an emergency fund to pay for these unexpected surprises. Then create a database of people you can call in a pinch — and refine that list if the first guy who your neighbor recommended turns out to be a dud.

You'll need to learn a couple of handyman skills, too. Otherwise, if that second-story bathroom toilet overflows for an hour, you'll end up gutting the bathroom and everything below it. So learning how to shut off the water on every faucet, toilet and appliance is key. You should also learn how to reset circuit breakers, shut off power in an emergency and even how to change a light bulb that's located in a hard-to-reach spot (and buying the ladder so you can do so).