Author Topic: Advice for a first time home owner  (Read 2208 times)

autumnleaves123

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Advice for a first time home owner
« on: October 16, 2018, 07:05:22 PM »
I'm not sure if this should go under real estate/landloring forum but I'll take all the advice I can get.

My fiance and I purchased our first home in August 2018.  My buyerís remorse started the day we got the keys.  Since then, Iíve had the worst anxiety Iíve ever experienced in my life; panic attacks included, and I have started seeing a therapist as a result.  I realized far too late that I am not mentally ready to be a homeowner. 

We purchased a 90 year old craftsman home (in Portland, OR) with nothing known to be wrong.  Prior to buying, we had a general home inspection, radon inspection, sewer scope inspection, oil inspection, chimney inspection, and furnace inspection.  Since moving in Iíve had a roof inspection to put my mind at ease about the roof, and have had many professionals over (foundation, drainage, hvac, electrician, etc).  Again, nothing is known to be wrong with the house but I canít help but be fearful that weíve purchased a money pit and Iíll that Iíve worked hard to save will be down the drain. 

We bought at $405k and put more than 20% down.  Last year I made $320k with this year will be about $300k.  My fiancť makes $70k.  I have about $400k in investments, savings, and 401k. My fiancť has about $60k in 401k and savings.

Now the question is what to do?  Iíve really been questioning if this house is worth my mental health.  Every day I think about the home Ė what could go wrong and the financial impacts.  I feel like a crazy person. I'm doom and gloom all the time.  Its impacting my relationship with my fiancť and many other parts of my life.  We are also planning our wedding and I feel as though I can't enjoy that.

Iíve been going back and forth with selling the house next year (2019). If we sell before our 1 year anniversary, we will pay 35% of the appreciation in taxes.  If we make it to Aug then only 20%.   Iím not sure how much the house will appreciate within a 1 year or less than a year timespan so Iím not that nervous about those costs.  The biggest cost will be the sellerís commission.  Regardless, I expect it to be expensive.  Financially it would make no sense after paying the closing costs to buy the home (about $8k), what we pay for upkeep this year (weíve already had the ducting cleaned, chimney cleaned, gutters cleaned and still need to get the roof demossed), and whatever is needed to sell.

What should I do Ė sell - get my mental health back Ė and pay (tens) of thousands of dollars. Or try to stick it out for 2 years, hope the house appreciate enough to cover the agentís commission.  But then what kind of life would I live for 2 years?  We are 30, no kids, planning a wedding and should be enjoying life! 

What to do?  If we sell it becomes a money pit.  If we don't then i'll be in a state of anxiety/fear/dread that it will become one - and not be able to enjoy my life.

Papa bear

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Re: Advice for a first time home owner
« Reply #1 on: October 16, 2018, 07:27:19 PM »
So this is all anxiety over money?  Because there is literally nothing with a house that can’t be fixed.  And any MAJOR issues would be covered by insurance.  It sounds like you’ve already gone all in with inspections and maintenance. Probably more than some people will ever do. 

You sound stressed by a lot of things.  Keep going to therapy. It sounds like you need it. 

I hate to say it, but take a deep breath dude. It’s going to be fine.


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FINate

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Re: Advice for a first time home owner
« Reply #2 on: October 16, 2018, 08:01:49 PM »
Relax. You're fine. Your house could fall into a sinkhole tomorrow and you'd have more than enough in your investments to cover the loss. And the purchase price was only slightly more than one year of household income. For reference, my first house purchase was somewhere near 8x income. 30 years old brining in north of $300k annually...really you're fine. Once you experience a few maintenance issues (water intrusion, replacing fixtures) you'll see it's relatively cheap and easy.

Yes you should be enjoying life, but selling the house to deal with your anxiety is the wrong solution, treating the symptom not the cause. Major life changes, such as buying a house and moving, but also a looming mariage can trigger anxiety. There's no guarantee that selling the house will resolve things. Stick with therapy to deal with the root of the anxiety or this problem will follow you into your future.
« Last Edit: October 16, 2018, 08:03:49 PM by FINate »

FLBiker

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Re: Advice for a first time home owner
« Reply #3 on: October 17, 2018, 08:03:00 AM »
Financially, it sounds like everything is fine.  I also felt a lot of anxiety when we first bought our house.  Now (6 years in) it's much easier.  Personally, I found meditation to be very helpful (with anxiety).

patchyfacialhair

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Re: Advice for a first time home owner
« Reply #4 on: October 17, 2018, 08:13:12 AM »
Do this:

1) Look up your home insurance deductible, and put away that amount of money in a separate account. That way your mind can be at ease knowing that if something truly catastrophic happened with the home, you can just pull the money from that account and not worry about the deductible.

2) Right now, if possible, take 2% of the value of the home, and put it away in a savings account labeled "home maintenance fund." Continue to add to it monthly to where you're adding 2% of the home's value each year. As repair bills come, pull from that account. In some years, you will spend less than you accumulate, and in some years more, but this should be pretty on point in terms of what you'll spend on maintenance costs.

If you follow those steps, along with continuing therapy, maybe you'll come to realize that literally hundreds of millions of people in the US own property. Most of them make far less money than you, and they all survive. You'll survive too. Best of luck; anxiety sucks.

HamsterStache

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Re: Advice for a first time home owner
« Reply #5 on: October 17, 2018, 08:24:57 AM »
I'd say some anxiety is completely normal for being a new home owner, but it gets better as you get to know the house better. I know I still worry about things about our house, but there really is almost nothing that can't be fixed relatively easily, especially with the funds you have. We unexpectedly needed a new roof and a repaired water heater shortly after moving in to our first house, but those things got taken care of, even on our very limited budget, and then they were no longer a worry. You've probably already spent more in inspections and maintenance than you will need to spend on any repairs in the next five years, especially since all has checked out. There is insurance for truly major issues. If it's really the potential of money spent on issues that is causing you anxiety, just realize that the hypothetical money spent on a house like yours that has no known issues and good upkeep is surely less than the money lost by selling so quickly. If you've owned long enough to sell at a profit and still feel that home ownership is just not for you, then go for it, and something that works better for you, but I better after a few years you will get comfortable with owning your home.

Blueberries

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Re: Advice for a first time home owner
« Reply #6 on: October 17, 2018, 08:54:47 AM »
Looking at the numbers, this isn't about money.  I think it's best to stick with a therapist and work it out with him/her.  You don't have to make a decision today.

This was my situation, which may or may not be applicable:

Are you still living out of boxes?  Does it feel disorganized even if it's tidy?

I only ask because I went through anxiety related to my home, but I didn't fully realize the cause at the time.  After finding minimalism and decluttering, I spent several months "working" on my house and it improved my life and anxiety.  Most people would have viewed our home as tidy before.  But, we had a lot of extraneous stuff that was either broken, unused, hated, or multiples upon multiples and we often had multiple "homes" for the same type of item.  For me, a cluttered house really did make for a cluttered mind.

Awesomeness

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Re: Advice for a first time home owner
« Reply #7 on: October 17, 2018, 09:11:28 AM »
I get your pains. Iíve owned several houses and lots can happen. W your income I wouldnít worry. Seriously your house wonít give you anything you canít fix by throwing money or elbow grease at it.

Youíre in the right place too.  Read around here and see what people do for themselves.  Iím a 47 year old single woman.  A couple weeks ago I fixed a basement leak all by myself.  I have a sewer dump outside for a trailer and some water had come into the basement after I washed a paint brush in the water above it.  So I brainstormed a plan and got to work a couple days later.  I dug down a few feet. Found where the pipe went into the house and sure enough they caulked around it. I pulled that out, put hydraulic cement all around and put it all back the way it was.  Last week I scraped and painted my detached garage.  I can swap out light fixtures, fix toilets, all kinds of stuff. 

When I hit a roadblock I slow down and tell myself itís not rocket science, I can do this. And I do.

You can too. When something breaks learn how to fix it or watch a repairman do the job. Learn about it. It will ease your fears a lot. 

If nothing works and youíve given it your best shot, sell. Maybe itís the age. Maybe u need a new condo made of concrete. Itís certainty not worth your mental health.  Best wishes.

Sibley

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Re: Advice for a first time home owner
« Reply #8 on: October 17, 2018, 10:24:44 AM »
OP, this really isn't about the house. Stick with the therapist, because your brain is betraying you here. There is zero logical reason for you to be flipping out this way, which means that it's illogical, which means mental health professionals. Once anxiety rears its head, it's not going to magically go away. Even if you sold the house tomorrow, there's a decent chance that you're just going to hyperfocus on something else. That is no way to live.

Also, you're not the only one impacted. What does your spouse want?

Freedom2016

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Re: Advice for a first time home owner
« Reply #9 on: October 17, 2018, 10:34:21 AM »
OP, this really isn't about the house. Stick with the therapist, because your brain is betraying you here. There is zero logical reason for you to be flipping out this way, which means that it's illogical, which means mental health professionals. Once anxiety rears its head, it's not going to magically go away. Even if you sold the house tomorrow, there's a decent chance that you're just going to hyperfocus on something else. That is no way to live.

+1000

The above is exactly what I would have written.

Tester

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Re: Advice for a first time home owner
« Reply #10 on: October 17, 2018, 12:45:03 PM »
What if you sell the house and the strrss about not having one?
At your income and savings you can buy another one today so relax.
Cross the bridge when you get there, although you had many inspections that the bridge might not be anywhere near.
Don't look at you investments for 3 months.
Get a vacation.
Find something to get your attention without stressing - do you like any sport - team sport preferable....
Do you have any hobby...inexpensive preferably.
Take a one hour walk in a park every day for 2 months.

jr1029

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Re: Advice for a first time home owner
« Reply #11 on: October 17, 2018, 01:51:48 PM »
Wow, I could have written this myself. While my financial particulars are different - and not nearly as favorable - I have the same anxiety about the house I bought this summer. Will the roof fall in, the neighborhood turn to a slum, etc. Many sleepless nights and tears and dark dark thoughts.

What has helped:
Therapy
SSRIs (sounds drastic, but I was in a really bad place)
Doing little house projects to make it mine
Talking to friends
Throwing a dinner party
Checking out restaurants in the new neighborhood
Keeping a gratitude diary
Making a rule that I'm not allowed to stress / think about house stuff after 830pm

I'm still thinking I might try to sell in a year or 2, but it's feeling more manageable now.

Best of luck and hang in there!

socaso

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Re: Advice for a first time home owner
« Reply #12 on: October 17, 2018, 03:52:04 PM »
We purchased a house 2 years ago and I had a lot of anxiety for the first few months. Mine was similar to yours with an added panic that one of us was going to lose our jobs and we'd all be out on the streets. Our house was about 3x our annual combined salary.

I'd suggest doing some small projects around the house. I changed the toilet seats, the bathroom faucets, painted a couple of rooms around the house. Just knowing I figured out how to do those small things gave me confidence to try larger things and also confidence to try to tackle real problems when they came along. I've learned how to replace sprinkler heads, change out the washer and dryer and lots more.

There have been some bigger things that went wrong but we dealt with them and everything is fine. One thing I have learned is that every service person (plumber, electrician, etc) who comes in is going to look at what was done before and say that it was done all wrong. So I've come to expect that and not panic when I hear it.

v8rx7guy

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Re: Advice for a first time home owner
« Reply #13 on: October 17, 2018, 03:57:50 PM »
I had a lot of anxiety about our house after we bought it too.  I think it's a pretty normal thing for people who tend to be anxious worry about.  It's a lot of money and it can be intimidating.

katscratch

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Re: Advice for a first time home owner
« Reply #14 on: October 17, 2018, 04:11:37 PM »
I agree with posters that suggest this level of anxiety is not just about the house itself. You've made HUGE changes in your life and are about to get married! That's a lot of stress in a very short amount of time, even if those are things you're super excited about happening.

I have a coworker who got married and bought a house within weeks of each other, so the planning for each overlapped quite a bit. The few weeks before her wedding she started having horrible dreams about being shot and killed, or ran over, etc. She's one of the most chill, composed people I've ever met and was puzzled as to where these dreams were coming from. Stress will come out in crazy ways.

I also had anxiety about my house, but more along the lines of not being able to afford giant repairs if needed in the first year while I was transitioning jobs. What you're describing sounds much more intense - it's obviously drastically affecting your quality of life and I'd assume your relationship as well.

Thumbs up to continuing therapy. Some of this might not be about the house but all the cultural expectations that go with it, for example. I agree with others that you're financially going to be just fine with your salary and age. I'm sorry you're struggling! And congratulations on your upcoming marriage!

FINate

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Re: Advice for a first time home owner
« Reply #15 on: October 17, 2018, 05:05:59 PM »
In this case, not sure why everyone is advising you to soldier on for something that doesn't seem to suit you. 

Whether owning or renting, make the choice for good reasons. If OP said "I just don't enjoy owning a house" or "I don't think it's worth it, is not in line with my goals" they no problem, sell ASAP. But the rationale given almost certainly indicates an anxiety disorder. I hope OP gets help for the underlying condition rather than avoidance.

katscratch

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Re: Advice for a first time home owner
« Reply #16 on: October 17, 2018, 06:10:00 PM »
I might agree if they'd been in the house more than six to eight weeks. My read of the original post doesn't make me hope the OP works through their feelings on home ownership - rather, I am hoping the OP finds a way to work through the feelings of extreme anxiety that they described. Maybe after the OP addresses how they are feeling, they'll still want to go back to renting - great! I think making a decision that has as big an impact as selling the house after only a few weeks of feeling this way could be too hasty. No diagnosis here, just reading the information we were given.

middo

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Re: Advice for a first time home owner
« Reply #17 on: October 17, 2018, 06:17:52 PM »
Considering that you have had the house well inspected, I am a little confused as to why you have so much anxiety.  Others have talked about their concerns that the neighbourhood will deteriorate, or there may be unseen defects etc.  But really, these can happen anyway.  I would suggest a couple of things to help put this in perspective:

1. Only let yourself worry about things you can affect.  You can't totally control the neighbourhood, so don't worry about it.  You can't control hurricanes, so get insurance and don't worry about them.

2. Understand that with your income, you could if you wish, pay the house off very quickly.  This may provide you with more reassurance (or maybe not).

3. It may help to see what others get up to with their houses.  We are currently rebuilding a "wreck" of a house that has had, we think, no maintenance for 50+ years.  You can read our blog at www.belgraverebuild.com  If you have cash, or some knowledge and arms and legs, you can rebuild and fix just about anything.

4. Cognitive Behaviour Therapy for anxiety works.  I have seen my wife use it and it works.  Try it.

FINate

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Re: Advice for a first time home owner
« Reply #18 on: October 17, 2018, 07:37:30 PM »
In this case, not sure why everyone is advising you to soldier on for something that doesn't seem to suit you. 

Whether owning or renting, make the choice for good reasons. If OP said "I just don't enjoy owning a house" or "I don't think it's worth it, is not in line with my goals" they no problem, sell ASAP. But the rationale given almost certainly indicates an anxiety disorder. I hope OP gets help for the underlying condition rather than avoidance.

I'm almost certain that you're completely unqualified to diagnose someone with an anxiety disorder because you read a grand total of one of their forum comments. 

If they wanted to pay for an experience, we'd cheer them on as they used their money to travel the world.  But this guys wants to pay for the experience of not owning a home any longer, and we're all judgy and diagnosing him with a mental disorder.  Many folks on this topic have already suggested that it feels different to own a home than it does to rent.  Why is it someone has to overcome or work through that feeling?  I truly don't get it. 

Like, I'm glad Pete likes to fix shit. Not everyone likes to fix shit.  Not even everyone on this forum.

Sheesh, I don't have to diagnose it.

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Since then, Iíve had the worst anxiety Iíve ever experienced in my life; panic attacks included, and I have started seeing a therapist as a result.

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Every day I think about the home Ė what could go wrong and the financial impacts.  I feel like a crazy person. I'm doom and gloom all the time.  Its impacting my relationship with my fiancť and many other parts of my life.

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If we sell it becomes a money pit.  If we don't then i'll be in a state of anxiety/fear/dread that it will become one

The only actual problem here is anxiety itself. When unjustified anxiety affects quality of life then it's a problem.

[ETA: Curious that you think it's "judgy" to suggest someone may have an anxiety disorder. How is that being judgy, do you consider it a moral failing or something? I certainly don't. No one should be ashamed to ask for help.]
« Last Edit: October 17, 2018, 08:31:48 PM by FINate »

FINate

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Re: Advice for a first time home owner
« Reply #19 on: October 17, 2018, 11:10:31 PM »
Just being anxious about homeownership is one thing. But panic attacks and being in a constant state of anxiety is altogether different. And no, my opinion would not change for a different topic. I'm not a homeownership fanboi - far from it. If OP had this level of anxiety about deciding between travel options I would still recommend therapy rather than avoiding travel altogether.

We disagree. No need to call people judgy. OP is free to accept or ignore opinions as they so choose.

AMandM

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Re: Advice for a first time home owner
« Reply #20 on: October 19, 2018, 06:30:50 AM »
What to do?  If we sell it becomes a money pit.  If we don't then i'll be in a state of anxiety/fear/dread that it will become one - and not be able to enjoy my life.

You're anxious because owning may lead you into a money pit. But selling means trading the *possibility* of a money pit for the *certainty* of a money pit. I'm curious why the idea of the certain money pit doesn't give you anxiety.


wild forest

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Re: Advice for a first time home owner
« Reply #21 on: October 19, 2018, 09:28:32 AM »
You know...think of it as this way: things are made to be broken.

Like television, car, heating and air, garage door, laptop, shoe,  etc, etc...

And the great thing about it, is that it's replaceable and fixable.

And the 405k home that you bought is not built by some junkies builder. It's probably a well built and quality home, which is why it cost that much.

I think you're just stressing out a bit too much.

Next time you think about something that gonna break down and giving you stress. Remind yourself: it can be fix.

Stay healthy and keep on making 300k and things will be fine.  Just a phone call away and someone will fix it for ya. No need to stress out about it, it's bad for your health being.
« Last Edit: October 19, 2018, 09:31:43 AM by wild forest »