Deciding to purchase a home in many ways is like making the decision to get married. You have clearly fallen in love with the way this house/ person looks- you envision experiencing all of your most crucial life/cycle events in this home and with this person. You can taste your future and from all that you can see, all the time you have invested background checking your potential new house/ dating your beau- you imagine it will be nothing but happily ever afters sitting around that roaring brick fireplace with your love by your side helping to stoke the flames of your passion.
And when my husband I bought our house we believed all these things to be true. We imagined years sitting by a roaring fireplace lovingly gazing into one another’s eyes. But the reality of owning a home is like the reality of owning a fireplace– they both look incredibly seductive – but once you are in them- keeping that roaring fire going is a lot more work than you ever imagined it could be and it is also pretty filthy work at that! And the same goes for owning a home– no matter how shiny and new it looks from the outside- once you settle in- you will have to roll up your sleeves and get to work fixing up all the things that will inevitably break!
Of course when we purchased our house we went through all the usual procedures. We had good jobs, good credit scores and an apartment we were selling which made it easy to get a mortgage and in fact I was able to put down over 80% of the price we bought for. Unfortunately it was a seller’s market at that time so we were unable to get much off the asking price. One of the first steps was to get an engineer to evaluate our house to make sure that the house was structurally sound and it was with very few recommendations.
What we were able to gain from this report was that the roof was sound, the boiler and hot water heater were functioning well, the general structure was sound and there were no termites or termite damage. We loved this old Tudor style house with all its charm, wood floors, fireplace, big dining room and crown moldings even though it had only one bath in the entire four bedroom house.
What we were not told was that the unfinished basement flooded with water after every rainstorm, the windows needed to be replaced, all the major kitchen appliances, refrigerator and washing machine would need to be replaced in the next three years. We were also not aware that the house would require painting every 3-5 years for the lifetime we own it, the entire inside of the house would require painting and new sheet rock on every ceiling in the house, there was no lawn irrigation system in place, carpenter bees would damage the upper wood trim and we’d need to put in an additional bathroom off the master bedroom. We also didn’t foresee that there would be mold and water damage in the front hall closet that would need to be fixed, or that the main drain line to the sewer would clog up every 4-6 months and need to be snaked and being that it was a big house it would cost a lot to heat in the winter.
With that being said here are five things I WISH I knew before I Bought My Home aka Learn from My Mistakes and Some ESSENTIAL Moving tips!
#1 Make sure you set aside some money for all those “I can’t believe that appliance just broke” fund. Believe me- even if you buy a home and all the appliance appear as though they are in tip top shape and are only a few years old, it is MURPHY’S Law that one, two or all of them will break down, need to be fixed and yes some might even need to be replaces. And if you are as attached to your washing machine as I am- you will want to be able to get one as soon as possible.
#2 Water damage repairs to your house can be one of the most financially draining on your bottom line (and your marriage). In our old apartment we spent many a night during a rainstorm using pots and pans to catch the falling water in our living room. It was not a pretty sight! Before you purchase your home make sure you thoroughly check that your new home is free of any leaks or prior water damage ( which could signify that, that is an area prone to water and needs to be investigated and fixed prior to your, moving in!)
#3 Keep in mind that the materials used to construct your house will determine how much maintenance the outside of your house will require on a regular basis. When we bought our house- we loved the wood trim, we thought it was quaint. However, in hindsight said wood, rots and needs to be replaced and painted on a regular basis, whereas an all brick house would have far less maintenance. Just another thing to keep in mind!
#4 While old houses have charm and character they also require a LOT of refurbishing and upkeep. Our house is almost 100 years old- which also means- the windows are almost 100 years old. When you buy an older house- you need to keep in mind that some days it will feel like you are Shelly Long and Tom Hanks in that movie The MONEY PIT and you feel like you are on a never ending treadmill of fixing old structural stuff around your home. A newer home while it might not have the crown moldings and built in cedar shelves and alcoves will LIKELY have all new windows!
#5 Kitchens and bathrooms are EVERYTHING. The truth is we all spend the bulk of our lives in one of these two rooms- so when purchasing a house you want to make sure they been updates and upgraded to accommodate all the cooking and cleaning you will be doing in said rooms. We made the mistake of not taking this into account and recently sunk a whole bunch of money into our bathrooms.
It can be scary to pull up roots and leave the security and comfort of a home base, but it can also be a smart move in the right direction—and an exciting chance to discover new experiences. With a little organization and planning, you can make the transition as pain-free as possible. Here are a few Moving tips to make it easier:
Find a new phone and Cable and internet service like Verizon Fios. Whether you’re a new or existing Verizon customer, we’ve made it easy to set up or transfer your Internet, TV, and phone service. To make things as simple as possible, you can keep your current Verizon.net email address, and you may even be able to keep your current phone number. We’ve provided a printable checklist below to help make things easier.
If you’ve never had the chance to experience the benefits of a 100% fiber- optic network, now is the perfect time to upgrade to FiOS. With a 100% fiber-optic network, your entertainment will go off the charts with a TV picture so clear and Internet speed so fast you’ll wish you had made the move before.
Switching to FiOS is another smart move in the right direction. Find out if FiOS is available in your new neighborhood.
Get the right supplies ready and in large enough quantity, Packing tape, packing tape and packing tape did I mention packing tape. Make sure you have enough bubble wrap or newspaper to pack glassware. You will need labels or a black marker to label your items that have been packed, and a scissor and box cutter to help pack and unpack.
Invest in sturdy boxes. If you’re moving yourself, make sure the boxes you choose are durable enough to hold your possessions, especially if you’re moving out of state or cross-country. You can purchase boxes at storage and mail supply stores, or ask offices, schools, and retailers if they have any they may be willing to give away for free.And invest in good packing tape. It’s worth the money. If you’d like to choose a sustainable moving solution, a quick Google search will turn up a number of companies that offer green alternatives—recycled plastic bins that can be rented and returned.
Label a first day’s essentials box or boxes which will include meal prep or utensils, unpacking, cleaning and hygiene items that you will need the first day or night you are in the new home. Also keep one or two days of clothes and pajamas in one box or suitcase to avoid needing to go into the sea of boxes for essentials on the first one or two days. Keep your laptop and work essentials separate to avoid digging in to boxes for the next day of work after the move. When it comes to packing valuables, fragile heirlooms and items that require additional security or special access are better kept in your personal vehicle during a move.
Put heavy items in smaller boxes and lighter items like towels or linens in larger boxes. Make sure the boxes are packed without space so that items will not be shifting during lifting and moving. Be careful when packing heavy items in large boxes that may be too heavy or the box may even break during the move.
Label each box with the room it will be going in and a short description of its contents. You can also color code each room and put the corresponding color on that room’s door to make loading the boxes into the new house easier This will help you and your movers know where every box belongs in your new place. Avoid mixing items from different rooms in the same box this will make your packing efficient and your unpacking easier without having to go from room to room with items. Make sure labels are on the sides of boxes because they may be stacked.
Organize important papers. It’s hard to forget your couch or bed, but it’s easy to lose critical documents. Gather all valuable information such as passports, birth certificates, insurance policies on jewelry and other valuables, and more, and place them in an accordion-style folder. Include a folder with important real estate papers such as leases, deeds, and closing documents you’ll need for your new home, and keep it in the car with you too instead of loading it on the truck.
Pack dishes on their sides, wrap each dish with paper or bubble wrap and then wrap them together in groups of 5 or 6 together with more paper around them and bunch paper in the box to avoid any movement I the box.
It may be easier to avoid packing and unpacking your closet by using garment boxes which hang clothes and just rehang them in your new closets on the same hangers as they are on in the current house.
When it comes to packing shoes you will want to keep and wear in your new destination don’t just throw them in the bottom of a box, air them out prior to the move and put powder in to minimize moisture and mold formation. Wrap your shoes in tissues, paper towels or newspaper and return them to the original boxes if you have them for the move. If you are moving hanging things you can move your shoes on a closet shoe hanger.
You can cut down on boxes by using all your suitcases, hampers and laundry bins packed with items and clothes.
When moving electronics and computers it is best to pack them in their original box, color code or number the ports for easy reconnection, take a picture of the original connections to help you reconnect in the new house. Pack ink or toner in a separate sealable container or package. Seal each box and label it fragile and which end is up. If you can write down instructions how to reassemble electronics.
When you buy a house you soon found out that you have to look at it in a practical way and not to go in with blinders from the glare of the charm we both got taken up by. But remember owning a home is like any other relationship in your life you won’t know what you are in for until you are in it.
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Verizon. The opinions and text are all mine.