December 10, 2016

GET REAL: THE TRUE COST OF PURCHASING A HOUSE

I will be honest. I didn’t know.

I knew all about taxes, mortgage, and insurance.

I knew about emergency plans and having a little extra set aside each month. But, I didn’t know about everything else — paint, molding, flooring, mops, vacuums, furniture, more paint, flowers, hanging baskets, wreaths on the door, lawn mowers, trimmers, hoses, shovels, ant killer, mouse killer, rakes, tarps, dust busters, new roofs, new garage door opens, front door locks, keys, alarm systems, fertilizer, snow blower, snow shovel, even more paint, cleaners, toilet snake, water bills, sewer bills, electricity bills that double, paint, mulch, ladders, Christmas decorating, Easter decorating, outside lighting, inside lighting, trash collection, carpet, driveways, grass, soil, paint, hating a kitchen, hating a bathroom, wishing I had a truck and not a Honda, and living with the rest of the stuff I want to change.  So, did I miss anything?

I visit Ace Hardware almost weekly. The paint guy is really nice. He knows a lot. I know nothing.

I have no idea what type of grass seed to buy. There isn’t just one type.

I don’t know what fertilizer to get or even what it is supposed to do. My lawn looks like the neighbors lawn except I have dandelions and he doesn’t. I bought fertilizer and he didn’t. Who knows? I know that each month I need something else.

I try to tell myself that I don’t need to do it all at once, but it is hard to look at green carpet and be okay with it. I am doing better with ignoring blue tile in the bathroom, but it is hard.

Any suggestions?

When you have a house, there are so many expenses that you just don’t even see them all.

I remember touring homes and thinking — this needs a new kitchen, I’ll have to update the bathroom, finish the basement, and then paint on a weekend. Oh this house is perfect!

Then, we moved in. We spent the whole summer painting six rooms. I still had five rooms left — not to mention the hallway. The kitchen is a far off dream with the reality of having to keep up with everything else.

And the bathroom? I am beginning to think it is beautiful. Yes, beautiful — at least for five more years.

A finished basement? Who needs that?!?

I guess what I am trying to say is that owning a home is much more expensive then renting.

It is worth it though — because it is yours. I love my home even with the blue tile bathroom and the microwave from 1980. I probably wouldn’t have bought a home if I would have known all the extras, so I am glad I didn’t know.

I would like to leave you with one thought. If spending your weekend playing in dirt, painting, and talking to Ace Hardware’s paint guy doesn’t sound appealing, then maybe you are not ready. That is OK. Just go into the process prepared and with your eyes wide open.

Remember — it is your wealth and it will only last for as long as you chose it to. Put it towards the items that make you happy and that last.

I don’t think I want to ever move. I love where I live. At the end of the day, nothing makes me happier then pulling up the weeds in the side yard and building a path to the stream in the back.

Anna Domzalski is a staff writer for Financial Bin covering Budgeting, Wealth, Education, and Real Estate.

Have a question for Anna? Email her at Anna@FinancialBin.com.

Image: Idea go / FreeDigitalPhotos.net