Monday, August 1, 2016


When I originally purchased my house, I had every intention of reaching a point where I could say everything was paid for, and then I would triumphantly share the hilariously large bottom line here on my blog. I thought that point would be as soon as I had settled in, cleaned up the mold in the basement and attic, fixed the broken dishwasher, cut an egress window in the basement bedroom; and I was living happily and comfortably with renters paying most of my mortgage for me—surely within the first month of owning the place.

I have come to realize that ... ha ha ha ... excuse, me, I can't finish my sentence because I can't stop laughing. If I thought I was ever going to be done fixing up this house, I was oh, so very wrong! Before I moved in, I knew there were a couple of flaws that I'd need to repair, but after I moved in, everything that I thought had been working suddenly stopped! The washer, the dryer, the garbage disposal—all were nonfunctional! A technician from the gas company came in to turn on the gas, deemed the furnace and the water heater to be safety hazards, and turned them both off! My house was a beautiful skin with no muscles inside! I spent a couple days crying on the floor, then I slowly got around to getting things fixed.

I realize I'm never going to be able to say I'm done paying, but I did promise that I'd dedicate an entire post to the financial side of my home purchase, so here goes, at least a fairly accurate tally of what I've spent so far!

The housing search alone was a significant drain on my finances. I paid for 1.5 home inspections, one appraisal, and one pest inspection on houses that I didn't even buy, which amounted to 1,290$ just thrown to the wind!

But that's peanuts compared to what I paid to actually buy this house. A glance at the final page of my closing documents reveals that the total amount spent at settlement was 292,252.96$. Some of that includes pre-paid homeowner's insurance and taxes, but most of it's the cost of the house itself (278,000) and fees. Of course, 15,000 of that sum is covered by the CPCUP home-ownership loan, which I never need to pay back, as long as I live in the house for 10 years.

I have always kept my money distributed in accounts at several banks—different banks offer different benefits, and it's nice to be able to do my banking wherever I happen to be. This has never caused a problem for me before, but it really threw a kink into my home purchase. In order make my down payment, I had to use money from 3 banks, each of which charged a different wire transfer fee or withdrawal fee. Although I neglected to tally the exact amounts, these fees cost me around 100 dollars in total. If I'd pulled all of my money from one bank, I probably could have gotten that cost down to just 20.

When calculating how much money I'd need to buy a house, I knew I had the cash for a sizable down payment, and thanks to the CPCUP loan, I'd even have quite a bit left over after the closing. What I neglected to consider was that, when your money is spread among three banks, two of which have minimum balance requirements of 5,000$ each, the actual amount of money you're free to spend is a lot less. By the time I'd finished paying the mold remediators (3,501.40$), I was scraping the bottom of my financial barrel. I have become one of those people who has to check their bank account before they buy anything—and that's a strange thing to be when 8 months ago, I could foot the bill for a 6,000$ vacation without batting an eyelash.

I've thought about closing one of my accounts or finding a different one with a lower minimum balance, but I realize that having 10,000 dollars that you're unwilling to spend (lest you incur an account maintenance fee!) is probably a good idea, so I think this annoyance might have been a blessing in disguise.

Annoyances—that's how I classify most of the major financial blows in the multiple thousands of dollars. They were pretty much expected, so they don't bother me too much. But now that I'm a homeowner, it's the ongoing nickel-and-diming (or the 21st century equivalent, which is more like twenty-dollaring and fifty-dollaring) that's really getting to me.

Within the first couple of weeks of living in the house, I had shelled out 300 dollars to buy missing home essentials (like fire extinguishers) and pay for minor service visits. This probably doesn't seem like much to most readers, but to me, it felt like being stabbed to death with tiny needles when it was spread out over 8 annoyingly frequent transactions. I'm trying to recoup my savings, not burn the rest of them on stupid things like a disconnected dryer!

On the plus side, though, I feel like I was blessed with a fortuitous influx of free things! When I moved in, I hardly had any furniture, and I expected that it would be a major struggle to get some. I was also missing several little things, like shower racks for the bathroom, waste baskets, and the like. However, free furniture basically fell into our laps, and I'm pleased to announce that most of the things I thought I'd have to buy, we have acquired at no cost. I even found an antique ladder in the attic that I was able to sell for 40 dollars, plus a dozen DirecTV signal splitters in the shed, which are going for a pretty penny on eBay, so I'm working my way to a net positive. Sort of. If you don't believe me, see the tally sheet below. I estimate I'll get back in the black shortly before I die of old age.

3 Inspections
590 + 590 + 200
Two appraisals
500 + 500 
Wire Transfer fees

Cash to close

Mold remediation

Egress window
Not done yet
Lock for shed

Fire extinguisher
Two aerosol canisters
Used, from Craigslist
Miter saw
May not be usable
Remove 2 wasp nests
Ha! We got those wasps ourselves with a hose!
Extension Ladder
Used, from Craigslist
Fix disposal*

40 for a dishwasher, 18 for parts, 18 for another dishwasher 
Fix sink*  
* The disposal, dishwasher, and sink together make a story that is worthy of an entire blog post on its own. Stay tuned!
Fix furnace
Not done yet
Fix dryer
“Turn on gas supply to dryer” is more accurate
4 lamps
shower caddy
Garbage can
Coffee table
Second wardrobe
Attic ladder
DirecTV splitters