Everyone thinks Buying A House is the Best Thing Ever. (Yes, capitalization required.) No noisy people upstairs or downstairs! Don't have to pay for laundry! Your own yard!
Yes, all of those things are wonder-wonder-wonderful, however, there are some pitfalls (hmmm… strangely, most are related to… MONEY!) that, had I truly thought about, might have changed my mind to buy a house.
Note: since talking about money and junk is supposedly taboo, and I strictly conform to social norms (ha-ha), I will round up numbers to nice-and-even figures, to keep from being tacky.
Here are some of the LAME aspects of owning a home:
· Not-so-hidden "hidden" fees – I like to think of these as "oh yeah, I knew about that, but I truly didn't get it until I was like "OMG WHERE DID MY MONEY GO?"
o Taxes – ahem. Okay, yeah, I knew I had to pay taxes on my house. I got it. I knew there were charts somewhere with lines and lines of size 6 font showing different percentages and millages (still don't know what that means) and what not. Being an out-of-practice engineer, I shouldn't have been afraid of those charts, but oh, I was.
§ Taxes suck. We pay over 2% of the value of our house in taxes. That sounds so lame and puny, little old 2%, until you multiply that by a couple hundred thousand dollars. That's an extra (rounding!) $5000 a year that we weren't paying last year. Heartburn!
o Insurance. Alright, I understand the need for insurance. I have no problem paying insurance. I love insurance. Insurance loves me. Technically, that's only because I (THANK GOD) haven't had to file a claim yet, only to be denied, but ahh, let's not get ahead of ourselves. But, insurance is another one of those things that, when meeting with a realtor, they never include in their pricing. For instance, you walk into a realtor's office, and say "I want to spend $x a month on a house. Show me houses I can afford." Well, the realtor will show you houses whose house payment will be $x, not including house payment + insurance + taxes. I know those are all different things, but they usually get rolled into the mortgage payment. For instance, on top of my house payment, it's another $1500 a year to insure my house, but this I will gladly pay.
§ PMI taxes – omg this suckkkksssss so much. Basically I pay $1500 a year for my mortgage company to be insured against me, should I decide to stop paying them. SAH-WEET. SIKE! Heartburn.
o Home-Owners Association
§ Some bullshit about "snow removal" and "uniform mailboxes" – whatever! There goes $750 a year I could have spent on a new wardrobe – thanks to you, I'm wearing sweaters from the Old Navy 2003 line (so vogue!) and pants that are, ahem, tight (of the muffin-top variety – there, I said it!)
o A lawn to mow? No thanks.
o Sprinklers to maintain? Wait, I have to PAY SOMEONE twice a year to "turn them on" and "turn them off"? BULLSCHNITZ.
o That thing I drive up every day – I have to SHOVEL IT when it snows? Gross. Also, rude!
· If it's big, you have to clean it. Dust WILL magically appear on every surface, and yes, you WILL find random weird stains in bathrooms that are never even used. Perhaps it's from the ghosts of past owners, but don't tell Nick that because I have the feeling he's not too keen on having ghosts in our house. I'm kinda okay with it, but I digress.
· If it's small, you might as well live in an apartment.
· Total annual "not-so-hidden" costs: $8750 a year (about 0.35% of my heart just died) – amazing! Amazingly disgusting.
So, in an effort to not have this be 100% negative, I will list a couple of pros for my gentle readers:
· Supposedly you get money back come tax season? I don't know the deets, but, like, someone PLEASE tell me Uncle Sam is going to give me thousands of dollars in February. That would make for an AWESOME Valentine's Day.
· You can decorate however you want. For instance, tacky brass light fixtures? (All throughout my house… shudder.) AWAY WITH THEIR HEADS! Oh wait, that costs MONEY. Anyone have $8750 I can borrow?
· You can do laundry in your skivvies. This is a stretch in terms of a pro. But – since you have laundry in your own home, you can do it (or, do it) without clothes on. Oh wait, this is getting a tad too dirty for my tastes… nevermind.
· You will lose a TON of weight on your new diet consisting of rice, half-off meatballs, and tap-water.
Happy House-Hunting, My Friends!