Author Topic: How to not go “broke” AFTER buying first home  (Read 1767 times)

wealthviahealth

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How to not go “broke” AFTER buying first home
« on: April 16, 2021, 06:04:04 AM »
Under contract for my first home ( will spare any comments about how like everyone right now ,I feel like I probably over payed) and am wondering how folks have gone about managing all of the expenses for a fist time home purchase, ie furnishing a whole house, immediate repairs/upkeep, brand new scary fees, utilities set up etc.. I have lived in many small apartments over the years and know how costly it is to even make those small spaces feel like home so would love any tips on how to not feel like I am stuck on the spending treadmill to get my new place up and running.
I have toyed with the idea of a dedicated new credit card to at the very least take advantage of all of the inevitable expenses but at the same time I also hate the thought of reinforcing extra spending/ finding artificial peace in a 18 month 0% interest type rabbit hole that can come with it.

Papa bear

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Re: How to not go “broke” AFTER buying first home
« Reply #1 on: April 16, 2021, 06:17:27 AM »
#1-9: learn how to DIY home maintenance, repairs, and upgrades.  Make sure you keep a regular schedule of maintenance items.  Change your furnace filters, keep your gutters clean, don’t leave hoses on the spigots over winter, keep plants trimmed away from your house and keep them away from your foundation. Plus 1000 more things

10: piece together your furnishings over time.  Check out thrift stores, used items, etc.


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tooqk4u22

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Re: How to not go “broke” AFTER buying first home
« Reply #2 on: April 16, 2021, 06:21:57 AM »
Welcome to the club of forced savings.....hahahaha, sure. 

Only you know what you can afford and when. A lot of people will go and spend $30k to furnish new house, which is unnecessary and you need time to "feel" the house for what you will want and where.   

The current owners can give you copies or verbally tell you about utilities and other regular costs so you know what you are in for. 

For repairs/maintenance, every time I have bought a house I create a sinking fund.  Initially funded with the estimated costs of items less remaining life.   For instance, in my current house my hvac was 22 years old, so only a matter of time so I put $8k into the account and that money was effectively gone and was actually gone 3 years later when it crapped out.  Then I add $300 a month into the account and withdraw as expenses come up.....this is not for wants, renovations or decorative crap.   Sometimes the account gets big and sometimes it's depleted.   Do same thing for vehicles.

Know that paying people for everything costs a lot, so whatever you can do without making matters worse is a good thing.

Also have an emergency fund.


maizefolk

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Re: How to not go “broke” AFTER buying first home
« Reply #3 on: April 16, 2021, 06:24:01 AM »
Agreed on Papa bear's #10. Just because you have a house doesn't mean you need to fill every room with furniture right away. When I moved into my present place I had a cheap metal bed, frame, a beanbag chair, a 3rd hand desk+chair. Only slowly added more as the opportunities arose.

The Drawing Bird

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Re: How to not go “broke” AFTER buying first home
« Reply #4 on: April 16, 2021, 06:34:35 AM »
Congrats on the new house.  I just committed to buying a house for the first time despite having lived in many rentals, so I understand what you mean.  It feels like you're just bleeding cash sometimes.  Here's how I've approached it:
  • Since I've had much more time on my hands this last year, I spent some of that time doing research on what I expected costs to be.  This included both one-time costs (hiring an inspector, the down payment, new furniture, etc.) and ongoing costs (utilities in the new area, home insurance, taxes, upkeep costs, etc).  I then put that in a spreadsheet to compare it to my historic spending.
     This informed what kind of area/house we could afford, and it helped to know what kind of fees to expect.  Same goes for renovations if you're planning on doing any.
  • As far as furnishing the house goes, we're just taking it slow.  As much as possible, we're doing research on the big-ticket items well in advance so we can sleep on it and take advantage of any sales that come up.  We're also open to buying things second-hand and making them ourselves when it makes sense.  It's not terribly sexy to feel like things are missing in the house, but I much prefer getting things (especially decorations) slowly so you can stumble across the perfect item (or one with a story, or one that's sourced locally... you get the picture).
  • In my situation, we're doing significant renovations at the same time.  I happen to also go little crazy when things are a mess.  So I've just decided that I'm going to renovate/unpack/decorate one room at a time.  Then I can let the chaos unfold in other rooms without it wearing me down.  Once I'm able to, I'll organize/design/decorate the next area so that I'm perfectly happy with it.  Compartmentalizing my focus/energy to one area at a time makes it feel much more manageable, and it probably has the side effect of spreading out the costs too.
Hope something here helps.  Best of luck!

Uturn

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Re: How to not go “broke” AFTER buying first home
« Reply #5 on: April 16, 2021, 06:47:21 AM »
- You don't need new, you need functional
- Learn to DIY your repairs.  No, it's not too hard, yes, it is frustrating at first.  What do you mean some plumbing pipes are measured outside diameter and other are inside diameter, and parts are not interchangeable between manufacturers
- not every room needs to be furnished NOW
- one of the best ways to waste money is to skimp out on maintenance   

techwiz

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Re: How to not go “broke” AFTER buying first home
« Reply #6 on: April 16, 2021, 06:53:52 AM »
There is also the option to renting out part of the house or getting roommates, being able to split costs is powerful way to get the house to help pay for itself.   

Blue Skies

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Re: How to not go “broke” AFTER buying first home
« Reply #7 on: April 16, 2021, 07:47:08 AM »
Unless you are moving out of a shared space, you are currently living with the amount of furniture you already have.  Why do you immediately need more?

When we first bought a house two rooms were completely empty for more than a year.  When we moved to a new house anticipating having children in the next few years we bought a larger house and again left some spaces empty for a long while.  The space is now all filled (overfilled!) but it took time to get here, and was fine in the interim. 

In terms of immediate repairs, utility set up fees, etc.  we estimated what we would need to spend on that and set aside that amount plus a generous overage.  That was on top of our usual emergency fund and our downpayment.  If we hadn't had enough saved, we would have waited longer to buy.

yachi

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Re: How to not go “broke” AFTER buying first home
« Reply #8 on: April 16, 2021, 08:37:32 AM »
Unless you are moving out of a shared space, you are currently living with the amount of furniture you already have.  Why do you immediately need more?

When we first bought a house two rooms were completely empty for more than a year.  When we moved to a new house anticipating having children in the next few years we bought a larger house and again left some spaces empty for a long while.  The space is now all filled (overfilled!) but it took time to get here, and was fine in the interim. 

In terms of immediate repairs, utility set up fees, etc.  we estimated what we would need to spend on that and set aside that amount plus a generous overage.  That was on top of our usual emergency fund and our downpayment.  If we hadn't had enough saved, we would have waited longer to buy.

Exactly this, if you still have the same number of people, you don't need more couches or beds.  Enjoy the feel of the space, it'll be gone soon enough.  We only added furniture as it became available.  Family was getting rid of a futon couch? - Now we have somewhere to sit in the play room.  4 years after we moved in, my in-laws moved out of their house, so we got some good furniture cheap that way.

Malcat

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Re: How to not go “broke” AFTER buying first home
« Reply #9 on: April 16, 2021, 08:41:40 AM »
You handle it like you handle every other financial decision.

You figure out what you need, you figure out what you want, you factor in an "unexpected expenses" amount, and you plan, budget, and spend according to your long term goals.

In our last home, we tackled projects slowly, one by one, over a few years. We did as much DIY as possible, and there were a few projects we never even got around to before selling. And I'm talking basic stuff, like replacing a worn laminate countertop, ripping out ancient stair carpet, etc. If it functioned at all, we left it until we had the cash to pay for it on top of our financial goals. We also took a few years to furnish the house nicely. We bought almost everything used, so it took time to find all of the right pieces for the place to come together.

The house being "pretty" just wasn't as important as our financial health.

Along the way, several home expenses popped up anyway: every appliance died, the electrical panel needed to be replaced, the AC died, some plumbing issues came up, etc, etc. That shit happens and those expenses took precedent, and often further delayed the "want" projects.

Then we reached a major financial milestone, moved into our new house about a year and a half ago, but this time we downsized to a much smaller, minimalist apartment , so none of our old furniture would work, we needed highly functional, modular furniture, so we bought everything new, but we had the cash for it, and the net savings of living somewhere small more than make up for it.

Since then, we've had to replace the ancient AC and some of the plumbing, which fell within the range of our "unexpected expenses" budget.

At no point did we ever "go broke" for our homes. It's just about priorities. The key is to understand that it's not a "need" to have your home and furnishings be pretty. An update doesn't "need" to be done because something is hideous. Furniture doesn't "need" to be bought just because a room is empty, and even if you do actually need furniture, it doesn't "need" to look good. People basically give away dated furniture, so if you really need a coffee table, you can get an ugly one for free or nearly free.

If you go into debt to make your place pretty, then that's because you've prioritized that your house being pretty is more important than your financial goals. And that's fine, you are allowed to make that your priority. Just be clear and honest with yourself about exactly what your priorities are, and then work towards them.

tooqk4u22

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Re: How to not go “broke” AFTER buying first home
« Reply #10 on: April 16, 2021, 09:13:03 AM »
You handle it like you handle every other financial decision.

You figure out what you need, you figure out what you want, you factor in an "unexpected expenses" amount, and you plan, budget, and spend according to your long term goals.
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Along the way, several home expenses popped up anyway: every appliance died, the electrical panel needed to be replaced, the AC died, some plumbing issues came up, etc, etc. That shit happens and those expenses took precedent, and often further delayed the "want" projects.

Pretty much this assuming you bought a place you can actually afford.   But yeah, all kinds of shit happens and breaks or needs maintenance or whatever...these unexpected expenses are really expected expenses that are timed irregularly. 

As Malcat said the pretty stuff is 100% within your control, these unexpected or irregular ones are not but they happen with great frequency and almost nothing is less than $500.   

Malcat

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Re: How to not go “broke” AFTER buying first home
« Reply #11 on: April 16, 2021, 09:46:41 AM »
You handle it like you handle every other financial decision.

You figure out what you need, you figure out what you want, you factor in an "unexpected expenses" amount, and you plan, budget, and spend according to your long term goals.
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Along the way, several home expenses popped up anyway: every appliance died, the electrical panel needed to be replaced, the AC died, some plumbing issues came up, etc, etc. That shit happens and those expenses took precedent, and often further delayed the "want" projects.

Pretty much this assuming you bought a place you can actually afford.   But yeah, all kinds of shit happens and breaks or needs maintenance or whatever...these unexpected expenses are really expected expenses that are timed irregularly. 

As Malcat said the pretty stuff is 100% within your control, these unexpected or irregular ones are not but they happen with great frequency and almost nothing is less than $500.

Lol, as DH and I have come to say "it's always $1200".

socaso

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Re: How to not go “broke” AFTER buying first home
« Reply #12 on: April 16, 2021, 11:15:22 AM »
The things that saved us the most money have all been mentioned here but just to add to the chorus: DIY! Anytime I wanted something done around the house I watched several YouTube videos to see if I thought I could tackle it myself. I've learned to patch drywall, tear carpet off the stairs, get rid of pet stains/odors and lots more.

Don't be in a rush to furnish. We moved from a less than 1000 sq ft home to over 2000. So half the house was empty! We had almost nothing in the living room for 3 years and then bought a loveseat on Craigslist and a small shelf unit at a thrift store. Suddenly we had a living room! We have a guest room downstairs and it basically only has a bed and bedside tables in it. We don't have many guests so it seems silly to have much more than that.

Always get 3 quotes when you need work done. This has saved me thousands of dollars. Last summer we had to replace our furnace and the first two quotes came in over $10k but the third had an option for $5k.

utaca

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Re: How to not go “broke” AFTER buying first home
« Reply #13 on: April 16, 2021, 11:39:50 AM »
Just a couple things to add:

1. Repairs/unexpected expenses. I HATE paying for house repairs and maintenance - but this is obviously part of the cost of home ownership. Accordingly, I set up a home expenses bank account and deposit a little bit of money every month. Maybe it's irrational, maybe I'm weird, but to me it feels much better to pay home repairs out of the funds allocated for those expenses rather than out of my emergency funds.

2. Buy used. Facebook marketplace and Kijiji/Craigslist are a homeowner's best friends! My family is in a very good financial position such that the world would expect us to furnish our house in all the latest from a bougie place like Crate and Barrel. We don't. When we determine we need a new piece of furniture, we'll always first try to find the item online used. Our major exceptions are things like couches and mattresses because as much as we like saving a buck, we really don't want bedbugs!

Fishindude

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Re: How to not go “broke” AFTER buying first home
« Reply #14 on: April 16, 2021, 02:01:25 PM »
Start building a hefty emergency fund, because sooner or later you will encounter a big ticket repair item such as; a roof, furnace, AC unit, well pump, etc. going bad.   And this never occurs at a convenient time.

Learn how to do most of the basic maintenance staff yourself, and if you want to do improvements, do them pay as you go.   
Spend the money and do things correctly when you do them.  Cutting corners and doing band aid repairs will bite you in the rear in the end later.
Little things like landscaping upkeep, keeping gutters cleaned, keeping things painted, routine cleaning of things, etc. go a long way towards preserving the value of the home and making it last a long time.
If you don't know how to do something, suck it up and hire a pro, so things are done correctly.

Fomerly known as something

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Re: How to not go “broke” AFTER buying first home
« Reply #15 on: April 16, 2021, 02:15:41 PM »
Fell free to leave rooms empty.  I left 2 rooms empty for a year or two in my first house until I found the “right” table or whatever else it was.

GuitarStv

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Re: How to not go “broke” AFTER buying first home
« Reply #16 on: April 16, 2021, 02:23:59 PM »
I agree with all the advice.  Grow into your house.  There's no reason you need to fill the place with crap (that will come eventually, trust me).  There really shouldn't be too many (if any) 'inevitable expenses'.  In fact, the longer you wait before buying stuff the better you will get at prioritizing what you really need . . . and might find that you can happily live with things that seem weird to others.

We didn't have a bed when we moved into our house.  Turns out that sleeping on a carpeted floor is more comfortable and better for your back than using a bed.  We did end up inheriting a bed that we keep in the spare room for when fussy guests come over.

Malcat

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Re: How to not go “broke” AFTER buying first home
« Reply #17 on: April 16, 2021, 02:40:48 PM »
I agree with all the advice.  Grow into your house.  There's no reason you need to fill the place with crap (that will come eventually, trust me).  There really shouldn't be too many (if any) 'inevitable expenses'.  In fact, the longer you wait before buying stuff the better you will get at prioritizing what you really need . . . and might find that you can happily live with things that seem weird to others.

We didn't have a bed when we moved into our house.  Turns out that sleeping on a carpeted floor is more comfortable and better for your back than using a bed.  We did end up inheriting a bed that we keep in the spare room for when fussy guests come over.

This is so true. You have no idea how you will end up using your home until you live there for awhile and see how the flow of living there works.

I ended up totally rejigging the layout of my last home because there was just not enough closet space at the entrance, so there was nowhere to put bags, hats, gloves, bike helmets, etc.

I also found that we were never sitting at the open-kitchen bar, so we got rid of the barstools and put in a huge storage unit under the bar ledge for all of our overflow items. We thought one of the extra bedrooms would be a guest bedroom, but we never had any sleep over guests who didn't just crash on the sofa, so we turned it into a gym.

It takes time to learn your particular relationship and lifestyle with your new home.

hooplady

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Re: How to not go “broke” AFTER buying first home
« Reply #18 on: April 16, 2021, 02:44:00 PM »
I've twice moved into a new home with very little except a bed, kitchen supplies, and whatever else followed me from my previous abode. Pretty much everything I have is used, antique, vintage, or DIY.

I'll merely echo all the great tips that others have mentioned, and add estate sales and Freecycle groups. You can find all sorts of things if you take your time. My local neighborhood Facebook yard sale group always has stuff people are giving away - from furniture to food (pandemic hoarding, I'm looking at you!!), to barely-used cleaning products. DON'T put things on credit unless it's a true emergency - throw pillows are not, pipes bursting before you've built up the emergency fund are.

One of the priciest things that may seem to be an immediate need are window coverings. Try to negotiate with the prior owner to let some of those stay, since often window sizes don't translate to their new home. If not, I've found that cheap sheets make a nice alternative until their fancier cousins arrive.

jbfishing

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Re: How to not go “broke” AFTER buying first home
« Reply #19 on: April 16, 2021, 09:18:24 PM »
Live below your means and carefully evaluate needs versus wants.

ender

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Re: How to not go “broke” AFTER buying first home
« Reply #20 on: April 22, 2021, 07:05:09 AM »
We bought most of our furniture used and it's awesome.

Really easy to find super cheap furniture on facebook swap or craigslist.

nereo

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Re: How to not go “broke” AFTER buying first home
« Reply #21 on: April 22, 2021, 07:23:13 AM »
We bought most of our furniture used and it's awesome.

Really easy to find super cheap furniture on facebook swap or craigslist.

Absolutely true.

Whether it's CL, FB Marketplace, Kijiji or local swap-meets/classifieds, the two categories where you can always find AMAZING deals are with furniture and large appliances.

Furniture is large, bulky and people buy certain items with a specific aesthetic to fit into an exact space.  That drives most people to shop new. But if you are patient you can buy very quality stuff.  Get an orbital sander, some sand paper and some paint or finish and you can revive most real wood furniture that's often in the "free" sections.  I've got two bookcases, a dresser, a kitchen trestle table (maple) with four chairs and a handful of other things over the years. 

Appliances are another area where it's easy to barely used modern items for a fraction of the price.  People go nuts remodeling their kitchens, and often they'll remodel just a couple years after moving into place to get their "dream kitchen".  Not too long ago I saw matching Miele wall-ovens barely a year old at 70% off list with the explanation "wife didn't like the way they looked, my loss is your gain".  Stuff like that pops up ALL. THE. TIME.  People rip out a $1,200 range because they want an AGA, and sometimes literally give away the old one if you'll cart it away that weekend.

ketchup

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Re: How to not go “broke” AFTER buying first home
« Reply #22 on: April 22, 2021, 07:59:20 AM »
We bought most of our furniture used and it's awesome.

Really easy to find super cheap furniture on facebook swap or craigslist.
+1
Furniture is one of the absolute best bang for buck things to buy used.  "You get what you pay for, unless you buy used." New furniture is, as a rule, either hideously expensive, or absolute trash quality (or both, I suppose).  I have an old wood desk that I bought at a thrift store for $20 in 2012.  Didn't look 100%, but in perfectly usable condition.  We refinished it about three years ago (just for fun and for the looks, it was still fine), and it's still in use daily looking great now.

In 2013, we moved into a big new house with roommates, and furnished the whole place (two beds, two bigass sectional leather couches, big nice dining room table with chairs, several recliners, lamps, dressers, bookshelves, etc.), all really nice good quality stuff, for around $1500 from a local used furniture store (including delivery).  And that was split four ways.
« Last Edit: April 22, 2021, 08:04:47 AM by ketchup »

WSUCoug1994

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Re: How to not go “broke” AFTER buying first home
« Reply #23 on: April 23, 2021, 10:52:03 AM »
DIY almost everything - YouTube is your best friend as well as tool libraries.  Neighbors are great for one use tools as well as you get settled in.

plan on $1 per square foot per year.

slow down - as everyone else has mentioned - don't be in a hurry to fix/remodel/furnish - live in it for some time before making any big investments your priorities will change.

Used - get everything used early on and upgrade over time as necessary

Aegishjalmur

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Re: How to not go “broke” AFTER buying first home
« Reply #24 on: April 23, 2021, 01:09:58 PM »
Under contract for my first home ( will spare any comments about how like everyone right now ,I feel like I probably over payed) and am wondering how folks have gone about managing all of the expenses for a fist time home purchase, ie furnishing a whole house, immediate repairs/upkeep, brand new scary fees, utilities set up etc.. I have lived in many small apartments over the years and know how costly it is to even make those small spaces feel like home so would love any tips on how to not feel like I am stuck on the spending treadmill to get my new place up and running.
I have toyed with the idea of a dedicated new credit card to at the very least take advantage of all of the inevitable expenses but at the same time I also hate the thought of reinforcing extra spending/ finding artificial peace in a 18 month 0% interest type rabbit hole that can come with it.


Outfitting a house isn't a race. What things are an absolute need for you? Prioritize those. For the bigger items, take your time and find items you really like and will be willing to keep long term, not decide in a year you had enough and get the item you really wanted and then have to mess around with getting rid of the extra.

BlueHouse

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Re: How to not go “broke” AFTER buying first home
« Reply #25 on: April 23, 2021, 01:37:10 PM »
After moving around a lot, I was sick and tired of moving, then taking 5+ years to furnish it.  So in my last move (what I thought was my forever home), I decided to bite the bullet and do it all at once.  I budgeted A LOT of money, hired designers, and paid for custom furniture to get my home exactly as I wanted it.  (this was pre-MMM). 

Surprise, I ended up not liking the furniture.  It wasn't my taste or it wasn't comfortable, or it didn't fit the way I actually live. 

So I spent the next few years giving away ridiculously expensive furniture and buying something more to my liking. 

So yeah, just take your time and get what actually works for the space and for your lifestyle. 

Here's my two cents though:  Join "Freecycle" or "Pay Nothing" groups and sign up for alerts on CL.  My twist:  to get new stuff, join the groups that live near a costco.  Families that live near Costcos seem to be much more into disposable lifestyles and they get rid of GREAT stuff. 

To get rid of your old stuff, join the locations that are more environmentally conscious. As an example, I was in two freecycle groups in Northern Virginia.  Loudoun County lists had new sofas, furniture, barely used refrigerators, etc. 
Reston, Va lists had things like 1/2 a box of Kaashi, used bars of soap, etc.  Both towns had similar incomes, but vastly different values when it came to recycling, etc.