So You Bought A Money Pit

Is your home feeling like it’s made of quicksand, swallowing every dollar with no end to the list of work? According to a January 2019 survey by Bankrate, almost half of all homeowners have some amount of buyer’s remorse. While remorse comes in many forms, the number one regret on a home purchase was that maintenance costs turned out to be far more than expected. So here are seven important considerations to take into account when your dream house is feeling more like a nightmare: the money pit.

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  1. Don’t believe all the hype on TV- cosmetic upgrades are among the costliest offenders to your home budget. Any room-sized makeovers will cost a significant amount of money unless you plan to do all the work yourself. Put a pause on those kitchen makeover plans for now if you’re running into more maintenance issues than you can manage.

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2. There are always hidden costs. Bank on it. Even if you’re fixing a leaky drain in the guest bathroom, there’s a good chance you’ll need a second trip to a big box store to find another part. Now think about that same situation happening when you’re planning a major remodel or appliance installation, and buffer an extra 10-15% to any project budget.

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3. Keep a healthy liquid emergency fund. This is critical to maintain at all times, and replenish as necessary. Remember, you’ll need access to several thousand dollars if a major appliance breaks down. Think you can afford to live without heat in a Tahoe winter?

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4. Leave time for learning to do-it-yourself, or DIY. Some of these costly repairs and renovations are mostly due to labor. Bathroom tile is easy to find for cheap- what you’re really paying for is all the work to take to demo the old and lay in the new. Speaking of DIY...

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5. Pick those DIY projects carefully. Don’t cut corners where you can’t afford to, like major plumbing or electrical work. Unless you’ve got your own license, some repairs must be left to the professionals. That goes double for any renovations that could modify the load-bearing structure of your home!

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6. Find a general contractor you trust. There’s nothing worse than a project that goes over budget, over schedule, or worst of all- unfinished. Develop a good working relationship with a contractor that does right by you, and they’ll learn the value of a loyal customer.

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7. Take your time. Home ownership is a marathon, not a sprint. Some of those minor projects won’t seem so stressful after your few emergencies. Leave room for the unexpected expenses, and think over upgrades before jumping right into the work.

We hope these tips help, and if you’re interested in buying a home in the Lake Tahoe and Truckee area, Classic Tahoe Properties is here to guide you through the journey.