The dream of becoming a homeowner, while still strong among many Americans, is also full of challenges and plenty of opportunities to make mistakes, especially if it’s your first time. One of the most important aspects is to actually find the “right” house for you, something that can be exceedingly difficult for first-time buyers who don’t have the experience of knowing exactly what they want.
This “right” house differs of course from person-to-person and, in some cases, may be a huge difference. But, while many people are looking for things that they want in their new home, there are actually a number of things that they actually should not want. These are features and amenities that can come with all sorts of hidden costs and headaches and, while some of them may actually be coveted by some homeowners, for the first time homeowner they should probably be avoided. These things include:
- A Heating System that uses Oil. Even though it’s been the type of heating that this country has predominately used for the better part of the last century, Oil Heat can not only be extremely expensive to use but, when you go to sell your house, there’s a chance that you’ll need to remove the in ground oil tank (if your home has one, of course) before you can sell your home, a project that can take days and cost thousands of dollars. If the home you’re looking at is extremely appealing and in an area of the country that doesn’t have long winters, you might consider it but, in most cases, you’d be better off avoiding any home that uses oil for heating.
- Fireplaces of any kind. Yes, they are extremely appealing and, in the dead of winter, mighty cozy, but fireplaces are also extremely dirty and can have many other issues that you might not see upon first (or second, or third) inspection. The older the house is the more likely that any fireplaces located in it will have problems and, along with cracking mortar joints and cracks in the flue, can present a myriad of costly, and dangerous, problems that will need to be addressed before they create a fire safety issue. As tempting as a fireplace may be, unless you’re buying a relatively new home or a home that was extremely well-built, it’s something that just adds too much cost and safety issues to really be worth it.
- Wall-to-wall Mirrors that are Built In. Not only is a wall of mirrors a sure sign that your home was built during the 70s but, more importantly, it presents a costly and difficult-to-remove problem. Not only that but, since we are talking about large, heavy mirrors, the safety factor is there, especially for DIY enthusiasts who want to remove them without professional help. If you really like the home you’re looking at but it has wall-to-wall mirrors already installed, you may want to ask for removal of these mirrors to be included in your mortgage contract.
- Wall-to-wall Carpeting throughout the house. The problem with wall-to-wall carpeting is that it’s hard, in many cases, to determine what’s actually underneath that carpeting. In most cases it’s nothing more than plywood which means that, if you actually want to have wood floors, you’re going to have to install them yourself, a home improvement project that will set you back from approximately $6000 up to $15,000 per room, on average. Unless you really love wall-to-wall carpeting and unless the wall-to-wall carpeting in your soon-to-be new home is relatively new (less than five years old) you may just want to walk away from a home that has this type of carpeting throughout.
- Any home that has windows, doors and skylights that face the South. This is extremely vital if you’re going to be purchasing a home in an area of the country that has a lot of sunshine, including Florida, Texas and Arizona to name a few. The fact is, as much as that light might look pleasant during the day, it’s also going to drive up your energy expenses and, if the home is older, “leaks” can drive those expenses even higher. Make sure that you update your windows to avoid any leaks with the help of Roof Worx LLC.
There are of course other things that should be avoided, especially outdated kitchens and homes that haven’t had a new roof put on in over 15 years. If you really like a home enough to ignore some of these factors, make sure that you have enough money in your “emergency fund” to pay for any emergency repairs or maintenance that you might run into.