Buying a house is a great investment. I can say that now because going through the process of buying a house taught me about closing costs and equity and PMI and all those terms that grown ups like to throw around but never explain. I mean, I remember saying “I want to buy a house” but not even knowing what all went into a mortgage payment. I didn’t know I could lump my homeowners insurance into my mortgage payment (which is SWEET because that is one less bill I have to think about). I didn’t know that PMI (google it) will never go away on our our loan, but it is ALL tax deductible (There is a spot for it when you file, I just learned that).
On top of all the crazy home owner terms that I learned, I also learned some really NOT fun stuff. Like OWNING a home costs WAAAAAAAAY more than BUYING a home. For all of my friends who have never owned a home, people are NOT being facetious when they say having a home is expensive. Ever had to buy a kitchen faucet because the existing one wouldn’t work to hook up your rolling dishwasher that you had to buy because hand washing dishes for 2 weeks was unbearable? I did.
When you are fixing up a home, a lot of things can snowball. I wanted a dishwasher (The kitchen is wired for one, but they never put one in). That sounds simple and all, but think about this…..we were already struggling with space in the kitchen. I know, that sounds silly because we have a pretty good sized kitchen, but in our last house, we had cabinets that went all the way to the ceiling, and we had an island, and a pot rack. Now we have no island, and the cabinets don’t go to the ceiling, and no pot rack.
Here’s the old kitchen:
It doesn’t sound too bad, but when you get used to it, you get spoiled.
Adding a dishwasher eliminates a large base cabinet in a kitchen. Loss of space. And then there is the labor involved in removing said cabinet, and then hooking up the the water line, because, you know, the dishwasher needs water. So now you have plumbing to deal with. Oh, and don’t forget about electrical and getting that hooked up. And the fact that a good dishwasher is going to run you about $600 minimum.
Craigslist rolling dishwasher, $200. New kitchen faucet to hook up dishwasher, $70. Not having to wash dishes by hand and not having to pay someone to hook up a dishwasher, priceless. Only downside…3 hour running time and massive rolling dishwasher in the corner of the kitchen.
That being said, these are decisions I have never had to make before, and when you are responsible for thing like that, you truly start to realize just how much money you will be putting into a house.
We chose a house that needed a lot of work, and we knew that. But no matter what, there will ALWAYS be cost that you cannot plan for. Example, we have been in this house for less than one year, and check out this list of not fun things we have had to spend money on:
1) New Roof.
We were lucky that the seller contributed the majority of the cost to replace the roof (and add gutters I might add) but they wanted to put on a cheap roof. So we paid to upgrade to better shingles and bigger gutters. One positive of having to deal with this now is that we will NEVER have to replace the roof again while we live here.
2) Water Heater. Let me show you what happens when you do not maintain an electric water heater and it gets corroded:
When we did the inspection on the new house, I’m sure you already know what the first thing I wanted to see was…the water heater. Sure enough, we found a dinky little 30 gallon fat boy water heater UNDER the house and horribly corroded. We ended up having a new 40 gallon installed in the garage. Needless to say I now have a horrible fear of a house fire.
3) HVAC. Google how much it cost to replace a heat pump, air handler unit and duct work for a house. I dare you. We have some VERY good friends that saved us when our heat pump started to crash, but this could have easily put us in the poor house.
*****4) Porch Supports. Not everyone is lucky enough to have a sweet wraparound farmers porch like we do, but with that porch comes maintenance, which is money. Because the house had no gutters on it for 20 years, the water damage to the porch was horrendous. I knew the supports needed to be repaired, but I wasn’t prepared for this picture in a text message from the contractor that was fixing them:
We ended up having to replace the footers and bottom portion of 6 of the posts. I felt much better when it was done, and a strange feeling of excitement. It was something that we, as homeowners, had facilitated, and you couldn’t see it. It wasn’t like a new roof. But I knew it was fixed, and right and I was proud.
Most homeowners don’t have to deal with this much stuff their first year in. I will admit, it was very overwhelming, but worth it. We now have a new roof, new HVAC, new water heater, new porch supports, new kitchen faucet (new toilets, new vanity in downstairs bathroom) and now we won’t have to deal with any of that stuff again any time soon!
My piece of advice to people who are going to buy a home is this: If you are buying a house that is over 15 years old, get the home warranty. It is worth it. But don’t expect it to pay for everything, and be prepared to start shoveling money in a hiding spot because unexpected problems WILL arise. Don’t be surprised by them, take them in stride, and be PROUD when you fix them.
That being said, I am still not looking forward to adding 5 and 6 to that list: Windows and a complete home re-pipe.
I love being a homeowner.