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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.

Home Stories

She could feel depression lurking in the shadows waiting for a sign of weakness so it could swoop in for the kill.

Judith pulled into her garage and left the car engine running as the garage door closed behind her. She thought how easy it would be to just lie there, still and quiet, allowing the carbon monoxide to just carry her away.

It wasn’t that her life was depressing, it was just that she was tired. More and more she felt like staying in bed as there seemed very little reason to get up. The things in life that once allowed her to escape from reality had lost their thrill, food became tasteless, people became an annoyance.

She shut off her engine and allowed the darkness to settle around her. Suicide was such a cowardly way to go and in comparison to the people around her she really had no reason to be bored with her life. She got out of her Camry and made her way into her house.

Without flipping a light on she dropped her keys on the kitchen table. They clanged loudly disturbing the silence but not bringing it fully awake.

Then Judith bumped into something and screamed. There was a man standing there in front of her. His face wasn’t dark and menacing, on the contrary it was warm and inviting. He pulled her toward him without seeming to move at all. One minute he was standing there and the next she was clutched tightly in his arms.”Don’t resist” He said.

His voice was deep and throaty and instead of fear she felt a twinge of excitement. Only moments ago she was thinking about death and now this? She felt her legs go weak as the man began to kiss her neck gently. Then he slammed her against the refrigerator, magnets and pictures fell to the floor as the assault continued.

Could this be happening? It felt like something out of a Lifetime made for tv movie. She couldn’t believe what she was feeling, joy, excitment, fear. She was suddenly turned on and without realizing it she was kissing back, greedily and lustily pulling off her attackers clothes. His eyes met hers and they was a break, a moment of hesitation as he sensed that the tables were being turned. He tried to pull away but Judith kept on pulling him toward her. She twisted and spun in such a way that pulled him to the floor and she fell on top of him.

She reached down between them groping for the buttons on his pants. She ripped his shirt open and bit his nipple. The intruder yelled in pain and tried to push Judith away but she held him down relishing the feeling of being in total control. She slapped his face hard and then kissed him devouring his face like Thanksgiving dinner.

When she pulled her mouth away from his she heard him saying something and shaking his head, “No, No, No”. The fear in his eyes seemed to ignite an animalistic need in Judith that she didn’t know she had. The power was all-consuming she reached up into the drawer and pulled out a knife and held it to his throat. With a single slice she cut his carotid artery and whispered, “Thank You”.

Judith sat quietly in the dark waiting for Mr. Parsons to get home. She held her breath and then pressed the cool steel of the blade to the side of her cheek. the cold cause her to gasp with shock. Before the intruder had come into her life she could feel depression lurking in the shadows waiting for a sign of weakness so it could swoop in for the kill, but she decided to show depression she wasn’t as weak as he thought. As she slid the knife into Mr Parsons heart she smiled at the thought of death and laughed…. life has a funny way of working things out and finally she had something to live for.

Home Stories

Lived In…

I like houses that have been turned into homes by years of wear and tear and clutter. I like that feeling of something being lived-in, but still taken care of.  What I love more than that is a house that has been lived in and taken care of by a woman.

I currently have snowman sheets on my bed. They are flannel and I keep them freshly washed in Lavender Vanilla soap and dryer sheets. They smell amazing, but they never compare to the sheets at the Bruner’s house or the Miller’s or my mom’s house. Those sheets always seem to smell like an angel washed them with a fragance you can’t buy at a store – love.

Recently I stayed at the McWhinney’s home in Holly Lake Ranch and even though there house was relatively new to them, it had all the elements of a home. There is something about the combined efforts of a man and a woman that seem to make a place special. There’s normally a balance of masculine and feminine and even if it borders on the feminine side I think that most men find that welcoming.

My house is a bachelor pad. I have minimal furniture, no family photos grace my walls, the countertops are barren in the kitchen. It’s exactly like I want it.

Right now my bedroom walls are painted with multiple swatches of color. I’ve got multiple projects going all at once and I’m finally getting the need to do things exactly my way out of my system. I love my home, but now I’m willing to give someone else a shot at picking the wall colors of my bedroom. I could use some help in narrowing down what type of flooring I want in the living room and what color of cabinets to put in the kitchen.

All of this is not saying that I’m ready to be married, but if I do get married, I’d now be ready to let someone come in and have their way with my space and that was something I wasn’t ready to let go of a few months ago. I needed this time to explore my ideas and to let loose with my creativity. Now I’m exhausted by the options and the futility of my efforts and I’m willing to admit that I’m not as good at this as I always thought I was.

So one day, I hope that this home and all the houses I have after this one, will have that “Lived-In” feeling where when people walk in the door they realize that this is where people live.  People who fight and cook and clean and love. Where people have friends stay over on clean sheets and when we say goodnight after a party our friends won’t want to leave.

Design Home

There’s No Place Like Home…

Christmas is coming and the goose is getting fat… all the while I’m sitting in my house preparing for the holidays and enjoying the challenge of decorating not only for Christmas but also just getting things done around the house that are extremely necessary.

I’m putting up curtains and since there is only one room in the house with curtains it is an expensive and timely endeavor. Do I go with a warm chocolate brown curtain or something in a cool crisp white? How about red or something in a pattern? What about a new rug and that vintage style clock that I saw at Target? And what about Christmas decorations, do I want to hang snowflakes from the ceiling or large silver ornaments? I’ll be ideating about all of things things endlessly and to further frustrate my creative flow I have to decide what color to paint my bedroom. 

 I recently picked up a nice shade of gray called “Winter Oak” and it turned out to look like light purple on my wall. Then I opted for a color called “Sand” but I’m afraid it looks too much like the gold/yellow color that is in my living room already.

What to do? What to do?

I am excited that right now I can afford to do a few small projects and get some nice things done to my house to make it feel more like a home. Like most things in life working on your home is a non-stop effort, but it’s worth it, because there really is no place like home.

Design Home

Courthouse Gold

I’ve been on vacation for the last few days and so I haven’t had a chance to update. When I have been at my computer I’ve been working on websites and planning a huge New Years’ Party for 250 people. A couple of years ago I helped some friends with a New Years Party where we charged $25 per person, this year we are increasing the price and the theme is going to be a little more rugged. The party will be at the Courthouse in McKinney and so I want to do a Bonnie and Clyde theme or Bandits and Babes with hand-cuffs and silver pop guns as party favors.

I’m also having a big Christmas Party at my house on the 13th that I’ve got to plan. On top of that I’m trying to get my bedroom painted and I just purchased curtain rods for the living room, dining room and my bedroom and so I’ve got to install all of those.

So what should I call my party this year for New Years? Any ideas? Courthouse Gold? Babes and Bandits, Courthouse Roundup? Any thoughts you send my way will be appreciated!