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DadChat: So you want to buy a house

Home ownership is one of the many goals for your average "I just wanna grill" dads, and while prices are getting higher and higher, maybe you have an opportunity to stop paying someone else to live in their house and instead take all the headache onto yourself!

Owning a home can be easy, but buying one take a lot of patience, persistence, and maybe a few tears depending on how much money is getting sunk into the venture. I have compiled a list of things to be sure you're doing when buying a house.

1: Watch The Money Pit

80s Tom Hanks is some of my favorite acting from him, so you're getting the double pleasure of watching a great actor in a great movie and then watching his house fall apart around him

As someone who bought a money pit (140 year old victorian era house built before plumbing) I encourage you to thing about how much time and money you're willing to commit to fixing the house up. Older houses need a lot more and expensive care to keep them up and running, and you'll still get gouged on utilities (Never getting a house with twelve foot ceilings again, that's were all the heat lives in the winter)

It's not just old houses though. The house I live in now was a rental property for over a decade, and if you think about the rental properties you live in, you might notice you don't have the best appliances or fixtures. So far we have replaced fixtures in the bathroom, knocked out walls, replaced the gutters, rebuilt the kitchen and have had more than one plumbing emergency in three years. What I'm saying is all the money you save not paying rent will be eaten up with all those things your landlord was supposed to replace anyway.

2: Don't skimp on inspections

The house inspection is an important part of deciding what to buy, and it may be that you have to be the one to pay for it. It can cost hundreds of dollars and it's just there to tell you what's wrong with the house, not give the current owner a list of what to fix before you pick it up.

However there are other inspections like the sewer lateral which is where your pipes connect to the city. If that has collapsed it's going to cost upwards of ten thousand dollars to have someone come dig up your yard and replace the pipe. And no, they aren't going to make the landscaping pretty after they get done so there's some more cost for you.

Once you have the inspection done, look over it for large structural issues like foundation damage. If it's an older house it might have knob and tube wiring which can be dangerous if not abated properly. Look for roof damage, gutters, all the big stuff that will cost an arm and a leg to replace out of pocket.

3: Talk to your relator

If you're going to buy a house, you need someone who can manage the paperwork and tell you what needs to be done. There's a good chance at least one of your Facebook friends has decided to stop being a bartender and instead sell houses, however you can also search for relators online and contact on based on reviews. Relators can get you access into the house you want to see and give you much better advice than what you'd read in a blog post.

Your relator also handles negotiations with the seller, so things like closing costs and down payments can be discussed. Ask lots of questions if you have them. Remember, your relator is going to make money off you buying a house and if they are a good relator then will help you find a good fit.

4: Get a home warranty

I cannot express enough how much a good home warranty is important in the first year that you buy a house. The older the house, the more you're gonna need it. We had to replace the water heater when we moved in to our current house and thankfully with the warranty it was only a couple hundred dollars.

If you can't negotiate one, then buy it yourself at least for a year. We kept ours for two years and canceled it once we were sure we wouldn't get any more surprises

5: Have a handy man

Or be handy yourself. I have had inspections done on properties and just handed it over to my favorite contractor and let them tell me if it's worth the time and effort. If you can, find a person who works independently (I have found people who rely on word of mouth for their business have much better customer service).

If you're not handy, YouTube will teach you a lot. Watch old episodes of This Old House and you'll learn enough to be somewhat competent (That's how I learned how to rewire outlets). However if you're not comfortable with it, leave it to a professional.

6: Don't be afraid to walk away

Once we were looking at a two story duplex property near us. In a neighborhood we liked, a good price and had a garage that needed a lot of work but was there (We have an electric car that needs a charger)

We got the inspection done (spent a grand on it) and our contractor told us to walk away. Too many problems with the roof, the windows needed replacing, the garage was going to need a full rebuild, just not worth it. So we cut our losses, left the contract and moved on to another property. Does it suck to lose the money? Of course! But we would have lost even more if we went through with it and got stuck with a lemon of a house.

There's no perfect guide to house buying, but between me and my wife we have gone through this process a couple times and we have identified some important parts of the process that might slip you by.


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