Watch a lot of HGTV? Me, too.
So you’re probably beyond excited by the prospect of buying a house for the first time.
Yes, it can be really fun, but you’ll also encounter many surprises along the way — including many that aren’t so fun.
And you’ll wonder to yourself: How did I manage to watch so many HGTV marathons without realizing this?
Here are seven things no one tells you about buying your first house…
1. It’s Nothing Like “House Hunters”
Unless you’re a millionaire, that is.
On the show, people turn up their noses when a house doesn’t have granite countertops, dual vanities or walk-in closets.
If you’re on the same budget I was, you’ll be lucky if you don’t think the master bedroom is actually a walk-in closet at first glance.
In other words, the House Hunters drinking game will not apply to your search…
2. You Become Obsessed With Your Credit Score
As soon as you start talking with a realtor, they’ll want you to start talking with a mortgage broker.
And as soon as you start talking with a mortgage broker, they’ll want to know every single thing about you — including your credit score.
So you’ll become obsessed with making it better.
3. Unattainable Houses Tempt the Bejesus Out of You
You probably scorn the HGTV people who look at houses outside their budget. (Just like you side-eye the women who try on over-budget wedding dresses on #SYTTD.)
But when you get down to it, and see what you can get within that carefully-calculated, oh-so-responsible budget, you’ll realize one thing: Your budget sucks.
So you’ll just “take a look” at houses you definitely can’t afford — and oh boy will they tempt the tender loving pants off you.
Don’t. Do. It.
4. You Spend Your Life Filling Out Forms
Not since you went to college did you have to fill out so many freaking forms.
Your mortgage lender will want to know what street you lived on in second grade, who your first kiss was and where you were when Brad and Jennifer broke up. Or at least that’s what it feels like.
Just get ready to dig through the archives for all sorts of arcane info — and get a hand cramp from signing your name so often.
5. Cash Buyers are Sneaky Sons of Satan
This is the part they really never show on TV — probably because it’s the people on TV who are outbidding the poor normal souls like you and me.
Here’s what happens: You finally find a house that isn’t horrific and is somewhat in your price range and you make an offer.
Then, your realtor calls with the news you’ve been outbid by an ALL-CASH buyer.
Basically, it’s someone who doesn’t need a mortgage because they can just drop hundreds of G’s on a house — most likely a contractor or investor who wants to flip it and then sell it to some sap like us for double the original asking price.
6. The Price on Zillow = Lies
You’re looking at a house on Zillow, and you think to yourself: Wow! I could get all that for only $600 a month? That’s less than my rent payment!
Yes, except that it’s not.
When you buy a house, you’ll be shocked by the endless expenses that pop up and up… and up. Appraisals, inspections, closing costs — and that’s before you even move in.
Once you’re a proud homeowner, you’ve got taxes and insurance and utilities on top of your mortgage payment.
Oh, and repairs…
7. Your To-Do List Never Ends. Ever
They say a boat is a hole in the water you throw money into.
A house is the same thing — just on land.
When you’re a renter, you just call your landlord if something breaks. When you’re a homeowner, you’re the landlord.
And the lawnmower. And the painter, plumber, landscaper, blown-fuse-finder and any other kind of thing-fixer you’re forced to become…
Welcome to the American dream! `
Your Turn: Are you a homeowner? Which item on this list did you identify with most?
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