Thursday, October 06, 2011

The Home-Buyer's Chronicles - What we've learned

If the title of this Writing fails to explain the gist of its content, well, it's time for me to give up and attempt to teach myself to play Parcheesi. I have a home. I have a mortgage. I have much more time on my hands now that I'm no longer playing "Will there be more paint on my home or on my shirt?" every night. Here's a bit of what I learned along the way... 

Waiting for a credit report while applying for a loan is a nerve-throttling experience.
Essentially, your entire credit history floats through your mind. In the 30 seconds I waited to hear whether or not my credit was good enough to be approved for said loan, I managed to worry about everything from paying an electrical bill two days late to poor investment decisions. (The autographed 8x10 of Angel Berroa seemed like a really good idea in 2003.)

Negotiating with home sellers is not easy, either.
Baseball cards are not typically viewed as proper currency in a home transaction... Who knew? Beyond that, I generally fall into the "pushover" category in life. If my niece can convince me to watch a Disney film for the 433rd time instead of a live football game, what chance do I stand when someone asks me to pony up a little more money? Answer: none.

Home inspectors... They can be a pain
I had to paint my home in order to be approved for my home. That was no problem, as the old paint was peeling in a manner that gave the place a "recently condemned" feel. Today, thanks to the paint job, the place looks great... Well, good... Well, better... Well, you get the idea.
Unfortunately, I then had to make the most of tools at hand (razor, flat-head screwdriver, pocket knife) to cut through layers of paint to ensure that all my windows could still be opened. Sure, I'll probably appreciate that if I ever want a nice breeze from the outdoors or if I need to escape through a window and I don't fancy diving through glass, I'm just not sure the whole sale of the house should have been dependent on whether or not my third living room window might budge.
I had to have air duct work completed to receive said loan. That was not a major issue, as it provided a good opportunity to go ahead and have central air-conditioning installed. Something tells me that I'll appreciate that next summer when I'm not wearing a scuba mask to bed to avoid drowning in a pool of my own sweat.
Unfortunately, I then had to pay to have propane put in my tank so that the inspector could test the heater. Obviously this was going to happen at some point, but I needed something to complain about here and it was not much fun writing that check.
I had to have ground fault interrupters installed to get the house. No worries. I don't fancy the idea of being electrocuted.
Unfortunately, I then had to have more ground-fault interrupters installed. The reasoning? I never got a real great answer. I just assume the inspector enjoys redundancies.

If you have no clue what you’re doing when it comes to general home improvement, make sure you have friends that do.
If not for friends and family, I’m fairly certain that I would have fallen off a 20-foot ladder, been stung by a bevy of angry wasps, been electrocuted, and probably would have been in danger of suffering many other fates that one typically only associates with Wile E. Coyote by now. Thanks, friends.

Collecting is okay. Hording is not.
While packing things at my old apartment, I found many, many items that serve no practical purpose, but that I keep anyway. Sentimental value is not something to be ignored, after all. Then I found a Blockbuster Video coupon that expired in 2003, four years before I even lived in that apartment. Yes, I am seeking help.

Home ownership leads to the disease of wanting more.
I bought a new ottoman for my living room. And a new couch cover. And I paid far too much to have a poster of Bramlage Coliseum framed to serve as a wall decoration. Now, I want to get a recliner. And a new table set. And a shed for the backyard. Oh, and I could probably use some new shelves around this place. Did I mention that my television seems smaller in here? I think I'm going to need a third job.

You should never judge a book by its cover.
When my house hunt began, I happened upon an online listing for a former schoolhouse.  The text mentioned that the interior had been renovated, but the website had only one picture of the place: an exterior shot that was not flattering. After one quick glance, I moved on.

Weeks later, at a new website I came across an exterior picture I had seen before, but this shot was accompanied by pictures of an interior that stood out. Wood floors, stainless-steel appliances and slick cabinetry caught the eye. True, it was small, but small meant affordable. The asking price was much more reasonable than many other places I’d seen that I hadn’t been impressed with.

After showing the listing to family, I decided it was a place that I needed to check out. From here, you can guess what happened: the place was hit by a meteorite and the search continued… Wait, sorry, wrong story. I visited the home, liked it, and (eventually) made it my own. Had I dismissed the house as forgettable again due to the outdoor pic, odds are quite strong that I'd still be paying rent at an apartment and dealing with a neighbor who enjoyed strumming the guitar but refused to take requests that I attempted to pass telepathically. Jerk.

With that, my home-buying adventure is done, and I better not be back in the housing market for years. What's next? Unpacking would probably be a good start. Note to self: Quit putting that off.

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