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10 Things To Know When Buying A/Your First House

We had a fun discussion yesterday on a post about pros and cons of home ownership. @easymoneyme suggested this idea for a post as a follow up. Our house looks much bigger than it really is. It's about 1800 sq feet. https://notepd.com/idea/homeownership-good-ideabad-idea-18fgw


    1. Home purchase finances

    Make your life easier by buying less house than you can afford, like the cheapest house in a great neighborhood that you can slowly improve over time. Also, get a 15 year mortgage. The optionality you gain buying house in your 30's and being paid off around 50 is sky high versus getting to 50 and only being halfway there.

    2. Pre-approval doesn't mean what you think it means

    If you see commercials for getting pre-approved, they imply that a pre-approval will make you competitive with cash offers. That's not even close to right. A pre-approval takes care of your credit check and gives an indication of how much the bank might lend to you. You still need to go through the underwriting process.

    Your credit might be great but there are endless possible issues, things that need to be fixed, that could come up from the house. With a cash offer, there's only you as the buyer to hold anything up, like negotiating something that needs to be fixed. There will be several "oh we just need one more document for your loan package" requests. I promise, the first one of these will not be the last. A pre-approval might save you half an hour. It's not that you shouldn't get pre-approved but you should expect no less hassle with the underwriting process just because you were pre-approved.

    3. Things will break

    Accept it now, it will happen with some frequency, things will break and need to be fixed or replaced. Some people have relatively good luck with frequency and some have relatively bad luck but it will happen. If you know it will happen, just not when or what, then hopefully it will be less frustrating.

    The positive is that when you fix or replace something you are making an improvement, you are making it better, you're spending money on something that you probably won't have to spend money on again anytime soon.

    4. Don't half ass repairs

    This might be a learned skill but you don't want to half ass something like repairing a water heater, especially a gas water heater as opposed to using duct tape on a coat rack repair that has no consequence for failing.

    5. You're gonna want to learn how to do some stuff

    Calling someone for every single thing will get old. Learn some stuff that you can do around the house and build from there. You'll find a groove of things you're comfortable taking on and you'll also figure out what things are better to call someone. My wife worked in construction for a couple of years and she knows things, more than I do. Between the two of us we can do a decent amount but I wouldn't say a lot.

    A good example of knowing our limitations, we've put in a couple of ceiling fans over the years but know that getting into the electrical box is beyond what we should tackle.

    6. You're gonna want tools

    That's just some of our tools. Not having the tool you need for some project is a hassle, having the right tool makes your life easier. We don't need our air compressor or chop saw every day but when we do, we do and it's there. This is also a learning curve to take on but again life will be easier with the right tool. That can also be a metaphor for other aspects of life too I suppose.


    7. Ditto building materials

    8. Don't ignore things

    What's more likely to happen with a small problem? Is it more likely to magically go away or get worse? Nip it in the bud.

    9. Keep your cool when things go wrong

    Sort of a repeat from above. Don't let the frustration of something expensive happening cause friction in your relationship.

    10. Convenience is a great investment

    In 2020 we got solar with battery backup. It was expensive. The power can go out here for days. The infrastructure is so old that it can be hard for the power company to get parts. We had one snow-caused outage and the impacted equipment was in a spot that they could not get to because of how much snow there was. For us to get an adequate propane generator for these outages would have cost about $15,000 back then. In the winter, the propane company can't necessarily get to us if there's snow so a circumstance of a long outage with not a lot of propane in our tanks and we could end up cold and in the dark.

    The solar cost $28,000 but we got a total of $8000 in tax credits so really, it cost $20,000. The way I view it, for an extra $5000 we won't have the worry of a long outage using up our propane. Between the solar and having our own well for water although we're not off the grid by any means we are well down the road of being very self-sufficient. Money well spent. Apply that concept in whatever way is relevant to you.

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