Happy Hump Day, Dear Readers.
Welcome to Part Two of my new Wednesday series: Climbing Out Of the Big, Black Hole.
As much as I hate to admit it, my boss may have been right when he advised me not to buy a house. It seemed like a good idea at the time. My mortgage was less than my rent; very few apartments in this city let you have pets; and I was escaping The Landlord From Hell. I was depressed by the idea of going back to a communal laundry room, little dented mail boxes in the main hall, and putting that much money in someone else’s pocket every month. Wasn’t a break-up bad enough?
To be fair, my deceptively new-looking hundred-year-old house behaved pretty well for the first three years. I dealt with the little catastrophes any home owner experiences–the previous owners didn’t properly seal a shower stall, so it leaked and made a big mushy hole in the dining room ceiling. There were no outdoor lights in the front of the house. The fridge leaked. But all of these things were easy to fix.
There’s all the new expenses apartment dwellers never have to deal with. Property and school taxes. Higher utility bills. Water and waste bills. The lawn mower, snow shovels, etc. you never needed before. The responsibility of fixing whatever breaks. But for the most part, it still seems worth it…most of the time.
However, this year my house must have heard that I was determined to get out of debt by 2012, and decided to respond by turning into a money pit. I finally got the leaky fridge situation fixed, for once and for all, only to be told that my stove could go at any time. Then the hot water tank died, leaving a small flood and a very big mess in the basement. When the repairmen came to replace it, we discovered that the previous owners had blocked the old tank in, so I had to pay for a conversion to electric heat and a relocation for the new tank. Sigh….
Then the talk of city-wide flooding began. At first I ignored it, telling myself it wouldn’t be that bad. But since my basement flooded last year just because it rained hard for a couple of days, I finally accepted that I had to pay attention. So this means even more money (probably around $4K including tax) to have a sump pump and backwater valve installed. For those lucky enough not to live in flood country, these handy devices keep water and sewage from coming into your home when the City’s drains are overwhelmed. Having them installed will greatly ease my mind, and add to the resale value of my home, but wow! What bad timing.
And now a belt is going on my furnace….
Owning a home makes one grow up very fast.
How about you, fellow home-owners? Did owning a house end up putting a huge crimp in your wallet? Is it worth it in the end?