Last week I wrote about my home related projects and how I will have to pay over $3,000 to replace a retaining wall in my property. This got me to thinking, if I knew then what I know now would I have passed on this house? To be honest, I didn’t consider this when I was in the market to buy. I mean, who’s thinking about retaining walls when they’re house hunting?
If you’re buying a fixer upper, like I did, you probably expect to be making the typical updates, remodeling the kitchen, bathrooms and flooring. However, as a first time homeowner there were many things I did not consider and I want to tell you about them.
Garage Door Openers/Locks
We have a two car garage. One garage door had an electronic garage door opener and the other one did not. There was also no working lock on the door and no remote control to open the door because the previous owner lost the keys and the remote. So, we called the experts to come take a look at it. The lock was $85. The remotes $45 x 2 = $90. The service call was $65. Total Cost + Tax = $256.
A few weeks after moving in the electronic garage door opener stopped working. We’re not sure what’s wrong with it but I didn’t bother calling the garage door company since they will charge us a service call fee of $65. The guy had also given me an estimate on the cost of a new garage door opener for the second door of $450. So if the one we have is busted that means we would be paying approximately $900 for two new electronic garage door openers. This is not a priority so for now we manually open the doors.
In the end, we will probably end up spending a lot more if we want those garage doors working properly. Last summer I busted one of the doors when I got distracted and left my car in drive and it slammed right into the door! Ugh…It was such a clumsy move on my part and I was so upset! Luckily no further damage was caused but the door is bent in several places and who knows how much that will cost to replace. Have you ever replaced a garage door? How much did it cost you?
We replaced the concrete on the side and front of the house because it was old and because it was trapping water too close to the house. That cost was $2,000. Oh and now we have to replace the concrete in the back of the house next to the retaining wall. That will cost $3,100.
We replaced the steps leading to the basement because they were covered with carpet and the previous owner had a cat. My husband is allergic to cats. Also, we don’t like carpets so cleaning them and keeping them was not an option. When we took the carpets out the limestone underneath was very nice unfortunately, the previous owner had used some glue or something sticky that forced us to have to replace the whole thing. Total cost was about $1,000.
But it doesn’t end there. Look at the front steps of the home you’re considering. We didn’t have to replace ours, thank goodness, but they can be costly. My contractor estimates about $3,000 to $10,000 depending on how high they are.
As I mentioned previously we need a new front door. After we replaced the floor in the foyer the old door ended up with a pretty big gap on the bottom. Our contractor added a piece of wood to the bottom and we use a door draft guard but it still is not enough. Plus the door is old and has other issues, we discovered after moving in, that allows heat to escape and cold air to get in the house. It has to go. That will cost about $1,000 (I hope).
The kitchen door leading to the basement had to be replaced immediately after we installed new flooring. The old flooring had been installed one on top of another by previous owners and because no one ever did the job properly the floor in the kitchen was about 1 inch higher than the rest of the house. It created a trip hazard. We have three more doors to replace for other issues. Door cost about $35 x 4 = $140. Oh and doors don’t come with door knobs. That’s another $10 each.
Have you ever heard of interior French Draining? This is how many people waterproof their basements. It’s a system that intercepts water as it enters your basement and a Sump Pump then pumps the water out. Installing this system will cost you about $3,500 to $4,000. Our house has a draining system already but we recently had to replace our sump pump. Total Cost = $750
Other Stuff to Consider
This past weekend I was reading a list J. Money put together over at BudgetsAreSexy.com a couple years ago about stuff new homeowners never think about. It’s a good list to check out as, in my own house, I had to replace 5 out of the 9 items he listed.
I’ve been a homeowner for almost 2 years now. I would say many days I love being one because of the comforts we have but some days not so much, especially when another high cost repair comes to light. There is definitely a lot more to consider than just the mortgage payment and interest rates when you decide to become a homeowner.
Is there any other surprise expense or uncommon item you would add to this list?
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