Buying a House – Stuff to Think About…Part 3

buying-a-homeWe’ve gone through the first two sections about things to think about when buying a house.  The first section covered mortgages, credit, and how the length of the mortgage (15,20,30 years) will impact how much principle you pay.  The second section was more about the location, schools, crime rates, and repairs at a high level.  This third and final section will get more into those possible repairs or upgrades you might be looking at in your dream house.

Let’s get right into it!

Other (more) expenses you may want to think about:

  1. Flooring – To install tile in a 120 square foot space (typical bathroom) it will run about $1,200 with materials and labor according to Homewyse.  To install laminate flooring in a bedroom will run about $700 for at least 120 square foot according to Homewyse.
  2. Kitchen / Bathroom – Kitchens that use tile for the floors and granite countertops can really start to stack up, with costs ranging from $7,000 – $10,000 according to Homewyse.  Bathrooms with tile and a new glass shower door will cost a lot less to complete as opposed to a kitchen costing around $3,000 – $5,000.
  3. Windows / Doors – Most newer homes have been upgraded with energy-efficient windows. But if they haven’t, according to improvenet.com, new window install ranges from $5,000 up to $10,000.  They do save lots of money over the years. For example, my house is about 2,300 square feet, and the highest electric bill gets to low $200s.  Without the energy-efficient windows, my bill would easily be up to $350-$400 monthly.  If you will be in the house for a long time, it may be something you want to consider.  New sliders and french doors will run about $500-$700 per set, that’s not the big deal.  Getting these up to code is the major cost running up to $3,000 for installation.
  4. Roof / Ceiling – Get a good contractor.  New roofs can easily go over $10,000 for installation.  Don’t forget about that old “popcorn” style ceiling.  That job can run about $1 – $3 per square foot or lots of time, muscles, and clean-up to do it yourself with a spray bottle with water, scraper, and plastic vinyl.
  5. Air Conditioner / Water Heater – With installation, a new a/c unit with a high enough SEER rating starts at $6,000 depending on the size needed for your house.  Water heaters aren’t too expensive running about $600, but the installation sure is running much higher at $1,500.
  6. Emergency Fund – Most books will tell you to keep at least $10,000 on hand at all times for an emergency fund, for the “just in case” scenarios with everything I’ve listed so far.  Personally, I think it should be at least $25,000.
  7. Home Warranty – These are great one-year policies to have that usually run around $400 to $500 annually, plus they cover most major appliances in case you are short on cash.  My favorite is Select Home Warranty that offers deals around $350, a $60 deductible for any service calls, and can be customized to your needs (home sprinkler, pool, etc.).  If you act interested, they will send you emails giving 2-3 months off the price, use that.
  8. Pool – Can be wonderful, but sometimes expensive.  In one year, I’ve replaced the entire filter system, the piping, the pool cleaner, along with labor, at least $1,000.  In warm climate, it’s well worth it though.  BTW, don’t forget about the screened in area, where panels can run about $75 per panel unless you plan on doing any repairs yourself, like me, for a quarter of the cost.
  9. Paint – Hiring an experienced painter for a typical 1,500-2,000 square foot house will cost at least $2,000 in paint and labor for either the interior or exterior according to angieslist.com.
  10. Appliances – New fridges can cost up to $1,000, washer/dryer combo $800, dishwasher $400, riding lawn mower $1,500, or stand alone freezer can cost up to $400 to replace.
  11. Insulation – Not something people usually think about, but if you have an infestation (rats, squirrels, termites), this can easily spring for $2,000 to start depending on the house.

Listen, I know I gave you lots of money to think about, but that’s the point to prepare you for the unknown.  Houses can be a wonderful place to call home for you and your family. Being prepared in advance can really help you in the long run.  I hope all this information is helpful to those new homebuyers out there.

If you have any feedback, please feel free to send me a note,

Cheers!

Alex

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