Domesticated Gays, what are the must-buys / must-haves on a new home?
I'm under contract to buy my first house. Been a lifelong renter, but the time was right. Beyond all of the obvious/mandatory things (like homeowners insurance,) what are some things you think a new home-owner (especially a first timer) should have post-closing?
For example: are home warranties (that cover heating, electric, plumbing and appliances) worth it?
I'm thinking a Home Depot or Lowe's credit card is in my future.
|by Anonymous||reply 81||06/29/2020|
Is it too late to back out?
|by Anonymous||reply 1||06/28/2020|
Ha. I knew that would inevitably be posted. What took you so long, R1?
Yes, it's too late. And, no, I have no intention of backing out anyway.
I'm in a very stable job. Our company has actually been doing BETTER in the midst of COVID-19, I lucked out on finding my dream home and being the first to place an offer and rates are really great now. I was able to secure 2.5% interest with 10% down and $6,000 in lender credits.
|by Anonymous||reply 2||06/28/2020|
You sure it’s not too late?
Any advice of Must Have’s you get from this site are probably going to make you miserable.
|by Anonymous||reply 3||06/28/2020|
OP, a house is your permanent part-time job for which you will receive one paycheck at some point in the future (if things go well.) Good luck to you.
Start with Liquid Plumber, a Korky Beehive toilet plunger, a plumbing snake, and a few of the plastic hair removal sink snakes. On the day I moved into my first house, the toilet stopped up. So make sure you have all of these things from day one.
And be prepared to go to Home Depot twice a week for the rest of your life.
|by Anonymous||reply 4||06/28/2020|
The home insurance seems like a good idea, but rarely is. Even if you have a claim, they will wear you down trying to fix whatever broke.
Is this a SFH, condo, or townhouse? It will cost you a lot, just in different ways.
|by Anonymous||reply 5||06/28/2020|
Most lenders require you buy insurance protecting them in case, for example, the place burns down. But make sure you get a full “homeowners” policy that covers you as well as the lender.
It’ll cover your liability in case someone slips and cracks their skull over your water hose or a loose rug; or if you have to find someplace to live while your house is being rebuilt after a fire.
|by Anonymous||reply 6||06/28/2020|
Call a locksmith and meet him or her there at your new home after your closing.
You have NO IDEA who has been given a key to your new home.
Money well spent for peace of mind.
|by Anonymous||reply 7||06/28/2020|
One of those "Live/Laugh/Love" (bonus points for extra adverbs: "Live Simply/Laugh Often/Love Deeply") wooden/pressboard signs (available at TJ Maxx, among other fine stores) will provide just the right touch of warmth to your new home.
|by Anonymous||reply 8||06/28/2020|
Find a few of the better Mr Fix It sites on You Tube ... pretty much any amateur handyman repair that you can think of had been posted.
Journal the plants/flowers that grow in your yard for a year before messing with landscaping to see what is already there
If you don’t have a good storm door that you can swap out a screen with, think about installing one.
|by Anonymous||reply 9||06/28/2020|
Obviously you need to get a gun to protect your investment. If your home has two storeys, get two guns.
|by Anonymous||reply 11||06/28/2020|
You should have asked for a one year homeowners warranty from the seller. Your real estate agent should have taken care of this for you.
The only extended warranty I ever get is on the refrigerator.
The best deal going if you need appliances is through the Best Buy credit card. They usually give you 18 months no interest. I recently got an extra 10% off and a gift card that I used to buy the refrigerator warranty.
|by Anonymous||reply 12||06/28/2020|
[quote] And be prepared to go to Home Depot twice a week for the rest of your life.
|by Anonymous||reply 13||06/28/2020|
I loved doing minor upgrades in my home at first - easy stuff like replacing outlets with USB, changing lightbulbs for better quality, putting brand new batteries into the smoke alarms, getting a really nice shower head, etc.
|by Anonymous||reply 14||06/28/2020|
Not strictly a must-have, but I have always enjoyed owning, and using, a power-washer. Driveways, sidewalks, cars (wth the gentle nozzle)... Hours of fun.
|by Anonymous||reply 16||06/28/2020|
These fall into the category of risk management, OP.
If you are going to do any painting, make sure you understand before you start what preparation is needed and what are the best paints to use for the purpose. Painting lifts the look of your house cheaply and impressively, but one of the worst things you can do in a house is paint over something that should have been stripped back or sealed first: really hard to fix afterwards.
Have someone check the roof and gutters so that you know your walls are not going to be waterfalls in the first heavy rain. Likewise, if there are any large trees near the house, have an arborist check them to make sure they're not going to fall on your new prized possession in a windstorm. If it's got central heating, have someone check the mechanism in August: don't wait till November to find out it needs replacing.
Check that your homeowners insurance includes the contents, and that both building and contents are insured for an appropriate amount. Companies have sheets on their website that help you calculate this.
If it's a freestanding house, make sure you have good garden hoses, plus a fire extinguisher near the kitchen.
|by Anonymous||reply 17||06/28/2020|
^^^ I meant "pressure washer."
|by Anonymous||reply 18||06/28/2020|
OP, do you have a lawn mower? A grill? Deck/patio furniture? Furniture in general for the added space you will have? How is the driveway? Does it need to be sealed? How about home security?
Things people often forget to buy:
Tool box, drill, ladders, brooms & mops, rakes, shovels, hose, trash cans and recycling bins, smoke detectors, fire extinguisher, blinds/curtains, vacuum cleaner, bath mats and shower curtains, hangers, plunger, flash light, batteries, lightbulbs,
|by Anonymous||reply 19||06/28/2020|
If you have gutters, make sure you really clean them often (or have someone do it) - I kept forgetting about mine, and it cause barrier roof damage.
Check window/door connections to make sure the connections/seals are tight.
|by Anonymous||reply 20||06/28/2020|
Aspirin, OP. A big ol' bottle of aspirin.
|by Anonymous||reply 21||06/28/2020|
You writing all this down, bitch?
|by Anonymous||reply 22||06/28/2020|
Set up a door on sawhorses in the basement/garage and keep all your tools nearby so you don't have to hunt for them and you have a place to work on messy stuff.
Draw a rough floor plan of the house and measure everything so you can buy curtains/blinds/rugs whatever on the spot instead of guessing if something will fit.
Prep and paint all the walls before you move in, even if it's just "decorator white" while you decide on actual colors.
Also on list to buy: plastic tarps
|by Anonymous||reply 23||06/28/2020|
OP - are you the one who posted a couple of months ago? Are you in Jacksonville?
If so, the thread showed that now was NOT the right time and you just gave into this desire to own a house no matter what.
Good luck to you, but you should have held off and saved more money. Now you have tens of thousands of dollars of expenses and maintenance.
|by Anonymous||reply 24||06/28/2020|
Two suggestions. A separate credit card for all house related expenses and a good filing system to keep things like roof issues separate from plumbing and appliances. Five years down the road you may not remember the contractor's name who repaired the chimney and the extent of the work done. (Be especially nice to all the good tradesmen/women you find - they're a rarity depending where you live and you will need them again. And again.)
And be aware going in that pre-closing home inspections are often worthless. During mine he said the furnace was fine - it failed the first winter. The fine print said the inspection company was not liable.
|by Anonymous||reply 25||06/28/2020|
First thing, get that sling up, OP. Home ownership will turn anyone into a hungry power bottom.
Your home will teach you again and again to take it, bitch. Take it hard and deep. Take it!
|by Anonymous||reply 26||06/28/2020|
The home warranties can be ok if you are willing to duke it out with the company and use only their repairmen. It has helped prolong the life of some things (Like hvac) but in the end they find a loophole that you didn’t follow their protocol and say you have to pay to replace it.
In terms of decorating I would live in it with minimum furniture for a bit and then commit to one room at a time. That way at least you have a room or two that feel complete instead of the whole house being unfinished.
|by Anonymous||reply 27||06/28/2020|
R25 - so true. Home inspections can often give a false sense of security. It's better to get two - one for a normal inspection and then a second one to say - Ok, prove this is all correct.
Costs more, but it can save you a ton of money.
|by Anonymous||reply 28||06/28/2020|
R25 here - forgot to add that if you can, get the major messy remodeling done before you move in. I lived through gut jobs of a kitchen and two bathrooms. You cannot contain all the construction dust from spreading to floors, furniture, clothing, etc. And the inevitable delays and surprises while you're living through it all is taxing.
|by Anonymous||reply 29||06/28/2020|
Yes if the floors need refinishing also do that first or you might never do it.
|by Anonymous||reply 30||06/28/2020|
R29 - God, I hope OP doesn't have massive renovations to do on top of all the initial first-home expenses (furniture, decor, outdoor, lawnmower, tools, etc.).
If so, OP's going to have no money for a very long time or will blow through all of his savings.
|by Anonymous||reply 31||06/28/2020|
NO LIQUID PLUMBER!!! Yes on the toilet plunger. Get the line snaked, the line from the house to the sewer. It shouldn't cost that much. You'll know you need it if water backs up into the bathtub or shower. If the house has stayed empty for a while and there are trees around, get it snaked before your toilet backs up at 2am.
Shame on you R4!
|by Anonymous||reply 32||06/28/2020|
[quote] Call a locksmith and meet him or her there at your new home after your closing. You have NO IDEA who has been given a key to your new home.
Or he could just change the locks himself. It’s not hard to replace a lockset with another one. It’s a matter of changing a doorknob really.
|by Anonymous||reply 33||06/28/2020|
I’m a real estate broker and one of my best tips is to use your inspection report as a punch list of items to slowly improve on your property. Upgrade your outlets, add a second vent to your furnace closet, etc. These are not sexy things but they improve the safety and efficiency of your home and when you go to sell, you can point to it and say, “I upgraded/updated all of these material defects”. Looks great for resale.
|by Anonymous||reply 34||06/28/2020|
Yeah, that’ll happen, r33. This is OP we’re talking about.
|by Anonymous||reply 35||06/28/2020|
Home owners insurance is required with a mortgage.
Home warranties. If the seller offers one, take it. Ask for one as part of the sale, but the seller often will ask you to split the cost. After the fact? I wouldn't bother typically; it depends on how flush you are that having to replace an appliance or make repairs to some major system would upset your budget. Warranties don't cover everything and every situation (just as homeowner's insurance doesn't.) I think I only once had occassion to use it and it saved maybe $200 (against a warranty cost of 600 or so?). If the house you bought is nearing 15 years old and its systems and applisnces too, it might be a good bet. In new(er) construction a lot of things fail at the 9-15 year period: heaters, appliances, HVAC, a/c, kitchen and laundry appliances, roofing.
Otherwise it's not a bad rule of thumb to assume you will have to replace one big appliance ever year at 600-900 or more, or roughly the cost of a warranty.
|by Anonymous||reply 36||06/28/2020|
R34 - really? That's just something I would expect and it still wouldn't deter from an inspection.
It would make me suspicious that there are other items that need to be taken care of.
Overall, what a homeowner says to me about what they repaired has little bearing on the current condition of the house and its value.
|by Anonymous||reply 37||06/28/2020|
Gurl, I hope you are a handy person and know how to fix shit on your own, otherwise, congrats on your new money pit.
|by Anonymous||reply 38||06/28/2020|
First thing you need to do is find out where the fuse box and water main shut off are. You want to know this before you have to find them in an emergency
|by Anonymous||reply 39||06/28/2020|
Adding to R39, make sure you have a tool to shut off the water handy. Be sure it's always in the same place.
|by Anonymous||reply 40||06/28/2020|
Agree with the pressure washer. And a good cordless drill.
|by Anonymous||reply 41||06/28/2020|
OP, don’t let the seller leave a mess, or do other disreputable things.
When my sister bought her place, the seller swapped an old fridge for a new fridge, that was supposed to be part of the deal. They also left dead appliances in the basement that had to be disposed of. They also took the lightbulbs!
Do a walkthrough the night before or morning before the closing and holdback some money if they are jerks like my sister’s seller.
|by Anonymous||reply 43||06/28/2020|
We have a home warranty. It's nice to have one central go to when something stupid breaks---and something always does. We don't even have to call anyone, you can fill a service request. Saves you time having to filter out servicemen when something happens. When one acts up or flakes out, you also have someone to complain to (again, this is inevitable).
We also received a home tool kit from our mortgage officer. Would've never thought of it on our own, but it has came in handy on many occasions. All sorts of screws, switchable heads, thingymadoos, thingamabobs, measuring tape, a hammer, boxcutter. A lifesaver when various things need to be done around the house (even just assembling furniture or fixtures and nothing major).
|by Anonymous||reply 44||06/28/2020|
Let's assume you had a very good home inspection and know what to expect in the next 3 to 7 years. This is what I did before furnishing beyond the basics.
1. Set up savings specifically for home repairs. About 4K for painting and 500 for wood repair. About every 5 years. 2. Set up an account for major home appliances; Refrigerator, Washer/Dryer, Dishwasher, Hot water heater, A/C (interior and exterior). 2A. Given the age, Refrigerator, Dishwasher, and Washer/Dryer are usually the first to go. So look at replacement pricing add and figure 4 to 7 years for a replacement. 2B. A/C and Hot water heater. Make sure you flush your water heater at least once a year and look at the hot water heater anode rod. If it's getting crusty, replace it. It will add life to your water heater. 2C. Have an A/C company (have neighbors recommend) and have them check the system out. Set aside at least 8K for a 10-year life of the system/unit. 3. Lube, buy lots of lube.
|by Anonymous||reply 45||06/28/2020|
R44 woops.. service request online.
Oh, and the tool kit is nothing fancy. It's the size of a shoebox but is loaded.
Also have to agree that you need to find your local hardware store and be ready to making a regular hangout. Avoid Home Depot at all costs, unless you like supporting Trump (owner was a big donor to the Orange Turd).
|by Anonymous||reply 46||06/28/2020|
You might want to run a Clue report on your home. It's free and it will tell you all the insurance claims that have been filed on your house. It will give you an idea if your house has had a lot of water, roof, electrical damage in the past. If it has had those things, you might want to get someone to look at those things and make sure it's been repaired correctly and not just patched together.
I work for an insurance company. Most homes are okay, but every once in a while I'll see a claim where the home has an extensive history of water leaks. (new and old homes). Also the clue report will give you an idea if you live in an area where wind/hail might be an issue. If you live in an area where they have a lot of hail storms, you might want to reduce your wind/hail deductible on your homeowner's insurance. Some people's policy has a significantly higher deductible for wind/hail (up to 10,000).
You can get a free CLUE report for your home once a year from LexisNexis. Request your CLUE report online or by calling (866) 312-8076. Only the owner of a property may access its CLUE report.
|by Anonymous||reply 47||06/28/2020|
If you're only asking domesticated gays, my guess would be that they would say a litter box.
|by Anonymous||reply 48||06/28/2020|
OP don't let these people scare you, I love owning my home. I bought my first home which was merely adequate, nothing fancy nothing huge and made multiple payments on it to pay it off as fast as I could, which took nine years, I lived in that home for 25 years and I can't tell you how much I managed to save in those 16 years with no house payments or the freedom and peace of mind that it gives you.
So eventually I had saved enough to buy my dream home for cash, so now I have lived for 30 years in homes with no house payments or rent, you just can't beat that. Of course there are expenses but those are expenses are for something you own.
|by Anonymous||reply 49||06/28/2020|
Agree with R49.
Some homeowners freak out over every little thing. So you bought a dishwasher 9 years ago for $650 and now have to have it repaired or replaced. Disappointing that it didn't last longer, but a machine washed your dishes for 9 years and cost you <$75 a year.
For me owning a place is freedom and pleasure, renting is having to accept what someone has on offer and live with it as if a book borrowed long term from a fussy friend.
You will have to paint and repaint over the years, but you can paint the colors you want. If you hate the hardware on the kitchen cabinets you can replace it, or that granny chandelier in the dining room, a space you think would be better as a home office. You don't have to live with things as they are because it's yours to change as you like, when you like.
|by Anonymous||reply 50||06/28/2020|
File a homestead declaration, if you have that in your location. In Boston, after you file one (for free), it protects your home from being taken from you in a law suit, for up to $250,000.
Your property tax bill may be sent to the former owner for the first year until the city updates its records. If tp you don’t pay your taxes, it means a late fee. Pay your taxes and avoid the feel
My homeowners insurance covers the cost to replace things, plus upgrade to meet current code requirements. Consider that,
Keep a file for receipts for capital improvements. That means new things. A roof repair is not a capital improvement, but a new roof is. When you sell the place, you can reduce the taxable gain on your property by the capital expenses you’ve made. The first $250,000 in gain on your sale is tax free, But above that, the receipts may help. You never know. My property value increased by much more than $250,000 over 25 years, so my receipts will come in handy.
|by Anonymous||reply 51||06/28/2020|
Keep your gutters clean or you’ll be in a world of trouble.
|by Anonymous||reply 52||06/28/2020|
Thanks everyone! Lots of good tips. And, of course, the usual hand wringing and "concern". 😉
Already completed the inspection and the place was pristine -- just a couple of minor fixes (a drain in a third bathroom that was a little slow) and one electrical outlet in the toolshed that needed to be repaired. The owners are kind of sticklers for everything being perfect and I'm the beneficiary of the their... attentiveness.
And, I have a fantastic realtor who, as a free service to his clients, also brings in specialists after the initial inspection for electrical, HVAC, roof, termites/pests and landscape and water services (drainage, irrigation etc.). And everything's come back clear!
I also lucked out in that the sellers have very similar taste and I don't have any intention to repaint or refinish anything. We also negotiated for some of the furnishings to be included in the sale. It will still probably take me a good year+ to fully furnish the place -- moving from an apartment to a house -- but I won't start out bare boned.
I think one of the best tips on here is one of the simplest. To simply have some cash reserves for unexpected expenses. I'm absolutely certain they'll crop up. And, luckily, I will be able to have some savings dedicated just to that.
|by Anonymous||reply 53||06/28/2020|
Yes on the Homestead exemption. You can do this in California also, and it makes a few thousand dollars of the taxable value of your home non-taxable. But you typically have to file it within a short time after the title change.
Make sure you have a minimum 200 amp breaker box. If not, have it upgraded prior to move in.
Repaint before you move in. Flat, white ceilings.
Install a CO detector.
Replace the batteries in the smoke alarms right away.
I prefer to replace all non-LED light bulbs with LED ones right away. Bonus is that you know exactly how long they have been working.
Congrats and good luck!
|by Anonymous||reply 55||06/28/2020|
Can a house be seized in a lawsuit? I thought that was off limits of it is a primary home.
|by Anonymous||reply 57||06/28/2020|
[quote] Pay your taxes and avoid the feel
What if I want the feel?
|by Anonymous||reply 58||06/28/2020|
R57 my understanding is that it can. A homestead declaration generally makes seizure of a home impractical, though.
|by Anonymous||reply 59||06/28/2020|
I can't help, I'm a wild gay and wouldn't be able to survive in a domestic environment
|by Anonymous||reply 60||06/28/2020|
OP, my first co-op doubled in value in just 2 years. I put it on the market, sold it in a few weeks, and doubled my money.
I kept the house that followed for 14 years and sold it for 5 times the price I paid.
They are fuck of a lot of work. And can suck money. But unless you made an unwise purchase, they are a terrific investment. Just think of that mortgage payment as a deposit into your savings account.
|by Anonymous||reply 61||06/28/2020|
OP, also resist the urge to decorate all at once.
You don't want the place to look like you bought everything at the same trip to the furniture store, West Elm/Crate & Barrell, etc. on the same day.
Styles and trends change. As do personal tastes. It's nice to look at a home and see how it reflects your evolution over time.
I finally finished decorating my place after 7 years. It felt unfinished for so long, but I was waiting for the right touches at the right time. I avoided all the cliche trends (EAT signs/mason jars/Edison lights/all things Chip & Joanna Fundie-inspired, or anything heavily features on HGTV for that matter. More importantly, I had plenty of room for my partner to move all his things in.
Congrats and enjoy your new home.
|by Anonymous||reply 62||06/28/2020|
Live in it for a while before you do anything. The house will start to talk to you. After you have been there a while, you will know better what to do, change, upgrade, or just let go. It changes with time.
|by Anonymous||reply 63||06/28/2020|
Enjoy your new home OP! As previously mentioned, if possible make additional mortgage principal payments. With our first co-op we made one extra principal payment every year after tax returns. Make sure this is an additional payment on principal, not just additional payment (which would be principal and interest). Also refinanced every time we could save a point on the interest (this was 1999-2008). After nine years the principal was reduced significantly. When we sold the co-op and bought new construction, we were able to do it with cash. Granted it was 2010, just after the slump, but without the low payout on the mortgage balance at closing, and doubling our money on the co-op the cash would not have been there. Going into a condo mortgage free allowed for early retirement
|by Anonymous||reply 64||06/28/2020|
R62 / R63 - I think that's very wise. I'm in no rush to furnish the place top to bottom either. I'm going to take my time.
One thing I haven't seen mentioned here, but which I think I'm likely to do is speak to a locally based real estate attorney who could help me catch anything I need to be aware of as I close as a first-time buyer. For instance, I recently learned about the homestead exemption, but I only learned about it because it came up in some online research I was doing on related topics for property tax. There may be other things I'm missing. I think the small investment to spend an hour with the attorney will be worth it in the longrun -- even if it just ends up being for peace of mind.
I have another question for the home-owner gays: how close was your lender's official loan estimate to your actual closing costs? Obviously, I'm not being solely dependent upon that estimate and am making sure I cash reserves to cover any overages on the closing.
|by Anonymous||reply 65||06/28/2020|
* making sure I HAVE cash reserves, that should read...
|by Anonymous||reply 66||06/28/2020|
OP, the lawyers may be a good idea but honestly a lot of things you learn over time. You'll find homeownership is a commitment, a process. The internet is absolutely your friend.
If anything, a financial planner would be more appropriate than a real estate attorney. If you notice, most of the insights beyond tools and decor are on financial matters.
|by Anonymous||reply 67||06/28/2020|
OP, the closing process is different in a variety of different states. You need advice that applies to your state and your closing. New York closings are like roller derby. In California, I wasn't even sure the closing had happened and was finished.
|by Anonymous||reply 68||06/28/2020|
CA here. Yes, closing was so uneventful. Handled entirely by the agents and escrow company. I just got an email.
|by Anonymous||reply 69||06/28/2020|
OP, when you pass papers, you might find a “right of rescission”. If your state mandates or allows it, you have three days after passing papers to change your mind and reverse the sale. Just FYI.
|by Anonymous||reply 70||06/28/2020|
OP, have you bought the portable air conditioner for your attic sex dungeon?
|by Anonymous||reply 71||06/28/2020|
[quote]Also have to agree that you need to find your local hardware store and be ready to making a regular hangout. Avoid Home Depot at all costs, unless you like supporting Trump (owner was a big donor to the Orange Turd).
Please stop repeating this nonsense. Home Depot does not have an "owner."
|by Anonymous||reply 72||06/28/2020|
Also I hire someone to protest my property taxes or you can do it yourself, otherwise they seem to go up every year depending on where you live.
|by Anonymous||reply 73||06/28/2020|
R72: Then strike the word "owner" if you insist on being a pedantic asshole.
Does that clear up "this nonsense"?
|by Anonymous||reply 74||06/28/2020|
No. It was a co-founder who left the company in 2001.
|by Anonymous||reply 75||06/28/2020|
A bidet in the entry hall.
NO ONE enters without a proper douche.
|by Anonymous||reply 76||06/28/2020|
R73 - When you say hire someone to protest your property taxes, what type of professional are you referring to? A tax attorney, a real estate attorney, an accountant, CPA etc?
|by Anonymous||reply 77||06/28/2020|
R77 There are tax consultants who specialize in this. In my experience they are paid a fee that is a percentage of how much they save you in taxes. I assume they know how to work the system and can get more accomplished than I could.
|by Anonymous||reply 78||06/28/2020|
OP kind of work do you do? I have a feeling I have to change my occupation in order to stay employed soon!
|by Anonymous||reply 80||06/28/2020|
R80 - Marketing / brand management.
|by Anonymous||reply 81||06/29/2020|