So last year my husband I decided that it was time to buy a house. We had some savings and we qualified for a VA loan so we didn’t need a down payment. We found out how much we could afford (keeping our monthly payments within budget) and we went to look at houses.
Buying a house in New Hampshire is expensive! Trying to find a house that fit what we wanted and needed was impossible. And it wasn’t like we were looking for much.
Our Wants and Needs of a House
- 3 bedrooms
- At least 2 bathrooms
- Decent sized kitchen
- Nothing older than we are (I seem to be allergic to old houses, at least living in them)
- Yard for the kids
- A room to use as a game room (family room, 4th bedroom, den, etc)
- A room to use as a sewing room (office, 4th bedroom, den, etc)
- A garage would be nice (hate cleaning off the car in winter)
- Good school district
- Under $250,000
Right away we noticed that if we got a fairly new 3 bedroom house for under $250,000 that we wouldn’t get anything else on that list (except maybe 2 bathrooms). So we started compromising. We ended up buying a 1972 (5 years older than my husband) raised ranch with 3 bedrooms, large eat-in kitchen, living room with fireplace, 2 bathrooms (1 is a master), family room, office, workroom, 2 garages and a three-season porch for just $235,000.
Sounds like an incredible deal, doesn’t it. Maybe if we had more savings or the previous owners actually took care of the house, it would have been.
The first pitfall was at closing. We had thought that making the seller pay all closing cost meant we wouldn’t have to pay any. Well we ended up paying more than we had in our savings! Bye bye savings! We ended up taking over $10,000 out of my husbands retirement account. We used that money for the rest of closing, to replace broken garage doors, to bring the oil tank up to regulations (and make it safer), to add radon aggregation and a new pressure tank to our water system and to replace the (original) carpeting in my daughter’s room.
Now we had very little savings left and we had plans to eventually do some remodeling (I will get into that in future posts). But we thought that was okay, we had a nice house.
Now the previous owners we paying for some to replace the roofing on the house, but the roofer underestimated by $5,000. Luckily we didn’t have to pay him. It was his fault for not realizing that there was 2 layers of shingles on the roof. Apparently it is a common practice in NH to put new roofing down over old. He should have known that.
When we had the home inspection the inspector tested all the appliances. He only tested if they run. Well they all did except the dishwasher didn’t clean anything (the spinner at the bottom was not spinning) and the fridge didn’t stay cold. So we had to replace them. We got some great deals from Sears and had them replaced in no time.
Anyway, we still thought we were doing good, despite a leak in the bathroom. Then with cold weather coming we hire someone to do a heating system check and cleaning. That is when they tell us our heater is unsafe. If we don’t replace it CO will get into the house. Well we have had CO scares before (I won a CO detector in a contest and a couple of months later it went off because the heater in our rental was leaking CO, fire department came and everything). So we had to replace the heater. We didn’t have the money but luckily they could do financing.
One thing we did notice is that the previous owners were really into diy but they didn’t do things very well or safely in some cases. We will eventually need an electrician to redo some of their work, for safety.
So the lesson we learned that the cost of buying a house doesn’t end at closing.