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First Time Home-Buying – What They Don’t Tell You

When I purchased my house in 2007 I was super excited. I’d been watching TLC’s Trading Spaces as well as HGTV for years and I was excited to doff my hard hat and get to cracking on some serious house remodeling.

What they don’t tell you when you are starting your house projects is that not only are all those materials to remodel your house expensive – there is also the expense of buying hammers, nails, paint brushes, screws, ladders, drills, saws, tape, drop cloths, putty knifes… and the list goes on and on. When I left Home Depot after purchasing paint for 3 rooms and all the materials the bill was $894.00. Yep. And that was just for the living room, dining room and kitchen.

Something else you may not know even after watching hours upon hours of HGTV is that you should not paint your house and then buy furniture – it is the other way around. First – find a piece of art or a focal point in the room and then build your entire room around it. A great painting, a rug, a sofa, some throw pillows – all of these things can be great inspiration. But DO NOT go to the paint store with a vision in your head and buy gallons of paint that you have not tested on your walls in your rooms in various light. I made that mistake and consequently I have a garage full of colorful paint that looked beautiful in Home Depot but hideous on my walls.

Secondly – it is a nightmare trying to decide on a contractor or repairman to do any small or large jobs. There are too many to choose from and thankfully we now have to help protect the consumer from shoddy Handymen that recently lost their job as a computer support technician and decided that a new career in home remodeling would be a good source of revenue.

Thirdly – when you buy your house they do not tell you that when you sell it that it cost about 8% to sell it. So if your house cost $100,000 then there is going to be a minimum of $8,000 to sell. Sure I knew there would be the 6% that would go to the realtors, but the bank gets some money for handling all that paperwork and the transferring of funds. When I found out it would cost me $12,ooo to sell my house for $150,000 imagine my disappointment when I realized that this would just make me break even. It takes about 5 years for you to put any dent in your mortgage as well as for it to appreciate and so when you buy your house don’t think you can just hop in and out of it with ease – unless you live in a hot real estate market like California or Hawaii.

Fourthly – Don’t even get me started on landscaping and yard maintenance costs. When you go to the store to buy a pallet of flowers you can easily drop $50 bucks and barely have enough flowers to even show up in your front yard. In order to really make a noticeable difference in your front yard look to spend at least $500 – otherwise you are just improving what is already there or sparsely furnishing your front yard with just enough greenery to make your house look like a home instead of a crack house.

Fifthly, when you do decide to buy your first place, find out what your budget is and then plan on going a few hundred less than what you think you can afford on your mortgage because while your rate is fixed, your taxes aren’t. Your insurance isn’t and both of those items can increase your mortgage by $200-$300.  Imagine my surprise and mortification when I found out that I had received an escrow review and my mortgage payments would jump from $1,167 to $1,454. Yeah. It was not pleasant.

Lastly, that insulation in the attic that you didn’t think was that important… it is. Those windows that look old and tired, they are, they are tired of keeping cool air in or hot air out and therefore your air-conditioner will be working overtime and you may end up with a consistent year-round bill of $300 a month. Sound crazy… it is. And trying to argue with the electric company is a lesson in futility.

Hopefully all of these tips will prove useful to you when you are house-hunting.

And, if you need a good realtor in Denton, TX check out Jack Ragsdale.

By Evan Stark

Eddie Renz is an avid fan of Egyptology, Wilbur Smith and bacon. Not a fan of humility but often finds himself humbled when he is around people who understand numbers like the Fibonacci sequence and Pi.

17 replies on “First Time Home-Buying – What They Don’t Tell You”

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