I have been asked by a renter how we knew that it was time to become a house owner. So I thought I would answer this question as a post since there may be several people wondering when is the right time to make that transition from rent to own.
We felt like as soon as we started creating a family that the next step was to purchase a house. Everybody starts asking you when you’re going to buy a home and then you see all of your friends going out and buying one.
Looking back, I wish that we had continued renting a little longer because we did not realize how much work really goes into a house.
Today I created a list of questions that will hopefully cause you think and really pray over the decision of buying a house. It’s a big decision! These are questions that I have since asked myself but it was too late. The papers were already signed and we were in it for the long haul. So, here goes…
Do you have a lawnmower? If not, then you’re going to need to one along with several other outdoor supplies to maintain your yard. Remember…you do have a yard now. (How do you like that one as a starter?) Again, we learned this the hard way and I think we had to pay someone to mow our yard for a few months until we could cough up the money for a mower.
How much is the electric bill? I remember asking this question and then I remember my mouth dropping when I actually saw the bill. $300 in the Texas heat. Ouch! For a 1330 sq. ft. home, I was not expecting that. But when you buy a house from 1982 and it has the original air conditioner, plus single pane windows, it’s going to be high. I think I feel another question.
Have you asked about the appliances and are you ready to pay for more? As a renter, you are probably living in a place where some appliances are furnished. As a home owner, you are the furnisher. You will be the one to replace the door on your new refrigerator/freezer because the ice maker has quit working. Do I make it sound like this has happened to us? Good. Because it did not long after we moved into the house. We have had ice problems ever since and the door is still not working correctly; even after having it replaced.
Do you have aspirations of becoming a landlord? If you answered “No!” to this question then you are not prepared to become a homeowner. You will be the landlord! If something breaks, you will either need to watch a lot of Youtube videos to learn how to fix it or you will need to pay for a repairman. Will you have the money set aside to do this? Do you have a separate savings account just for emergencies or a house account like we do? If not, then you are not ready to purchase a house because something is going to happen. After we first moved in, our hot water heater was the first to go. Remember…1982 house. Luckily, we had some insurance that paid for most of this but then our yard exploded with water when some pipes burst. Didn’t plan for that one. You can’t plan for what’s going to go wrong with your house, but just know that something is going to go wrong!
Did you want to walk into your house and have nice furniture, a new table, new curtains, plus all the other furnishings a person could wish for? Then do you have the money saved for this because these things will not be provided for you when you move into your home. We were so house poor that we still don’t have curtains. We have had this house for 10 years and we are just now getting around to fixing it up. Curtains, at this point, are the last things on our mind. Next time we move, I am going to have at least a $10K cash fund that I use only for furnishings. I would rather just walk into a house and purchase everything new since I’ve never been able to do that before.
And have you done your homework? Greg and I just moved into something that we liked. But there has to be more with a house. You need to make sure that you know the hidden costs like repairs around the home. Do you know where your child would go to school if you bought a house in that particular neighborhood? This was something we never thought of and now that’s all we talk about. Are your neighbors nice? Do they have a dog (a small one – this is very important)? Do you see a lot of kids running around the neighborhood or if you’re an older couple, does it look like a quiet street? Are you near a busy intersection?
Well, I hope I have created enough questions to really make your head spin but also to cause you to think. I wish I had thought twice before purchasing our home, but we did it and now we’re trying to fix problems that are causing other problems.
Lastly, remember that a house is different from a home. Our house is the building that we live in, but our home is what we make of it. We make our house a home by sticking together as a family and having lots of laughs. It has definitely gotten us through the hard times and I’m glad that our kids see what we have gone through so that they’ll make wiser choices than we have.
“Through wisdom a house is built, And by understanding it is established.”
I’m sure I forgot a question, so feel free to ask one. What did I leave off the list?