So many things can go wrong when you move into a new home. We've owned 6 houses, and there have always been surprises, even in our newest, most modern home.
The roof can need replacing, the foundation may need repair, the chimney may be blocked and crumbling, the furnace or water heater can die, there may be unexpected assessments on the property, insect infestation, dry rot, wet rot, and in the worst of cases, houses literally start cracking and falling off the foundation and sliding down hills.
While many safeguards have been put into place to catch some of these things, they are not foolproof.
About a year ago, we had a case in our area where a house slid down a hill and pushed the house beneath it (which was on level ground) into the water. The family was sleeping at the time, and tragically, they all died.
Yet, people continue to build on the edges of cliffs, in flood plains, and in our area, under a sleeping, yet potentially explosive volcano.
Our homes, if we are lucky enough to have one, are the largest investment that we have, as well as a huge expenditure of time and money for upkeep. How much easier our lives are if we choose our dwelling wisely.
It is so easy to be impressed with appearances, and neglect the basic structure. I've done it myself. When you are poor, you don't feel you have the money to hire an inspector to check out the things you don't know about. We bought one house in Arizona simply because it had a huge living room, which was very different from all the tiny rooms we had been looking at.
We learned the hard way. The living room was large because the home had been added on to. Our huge living room was made by taking out the original kitchen, and adding a new one. When they added the new kitchen to the house, they didn't know what they were doing. They neglected to put in the air pipes in the plumbing, so the sink constantly backed up.
They used the wrong kind of plumbing, and where it joined the original plumbing in the house, water came running down the ceiling and walls. The new kitchen wouldn't cool properly, so we had to put a folding door between it and the main house. It got so hot in that kitchen during the summer, that every piece of plastic in that kitchen melted.
We were too trusting, and too innocent. We were young. Never assume anything when you are buying a home. Never believe anything that is told to you by someone who has a vested interest in selling the house.
If you are thinking of buying a home, make sure you save enough money for a home inspection as part of the transaction.
A lot of people will not buy a house older than about 10 years. This is because it is a fairly safe bet that no serious damage can be done to a house in that amount of time, even if it is neglected. Some people will buy a new mobile home for this reason, if they cannot afford a newer frame house.
When damage has been done to a house through neglect, some things can be repaired, other things will never be the same. The repairs may cost a lot of money.
Give buying a home the research, time, and the diligence that it requires. Try not to make decisions based on emotion. Be careful, and you won't suffer buyer's remorse. Don't learn the hard way- learn from other people's experiences and be the wiser!
Nikki Willhite, mother of 3 and an interior design graduate, has been writing and publishing articles on the topic of frugal living for over a decade. Visit her at www.frugalhappyfamilies.com - where you will find hundreds of frugal living tips and articles. Frugal Happy Families- more than just money! Article first published at www.allthingsfrugal.com
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