MARCH 7, 2015
Before my husband and I went house hunting we talked about all of the fun things we would do to our future piece of the pie. One memorable/heated discussion revolved around the new fence (of our imaginary home) and whether it would have horizontal or vertical boards. #eyerolling #sonaieve
Today, almost 7 years a homeowner, the only fence we have replaced is the one that blew over in the ice storm. The rest? Well, it might take another ice storm to put it closer to the top of our priority list. There is so much other CRAP to deal with first, you’ll no longer care what things look like as long as they don’t fall on your head.
Aside from the CLOSING COSTS (1.5% of the purchase price, cash) that you will need when you get the keys to your first home, here’s a list (yay, more lists!) of some of the things that you won’t know you need until...well...you do.
WINDOW COVERINGS: you move from your tiny apartment to a home with 1 Million windows. (Hello, IKEA!) Your neighbours loooooove this stage. They learn as much about you as humanly possible before you get that old sheet up that makes your dream home look like a grow-op for the first week/moth/year.
DEHUMIDIFIER: if you live in Toronto, a dehumidifier in the basement (unless you have a new build - and even then) is a must. Don’t skimp on the quality. These will extend the life of your house, the foundation of your home, not to mention the air quality over all.
WASTE REMOVAL: if you scored a house where you can move right in, congratulations. If you’re like the rest of us, you’re going to rip out some carpet, ugly shelves, and some weird contraption that you can’t identify from the previous owner. You might drag it to the dump by yourself, or pay a guy (we have a guy) or get a bin (we had 3). Note: do not get a bin if you know it’s going to RAIN all week - they go by weight and your old carpet will cost you a fortune to dump if it’s sopping wet, no joke.
PAINT & ACCESSORIES: Trays, rollers, brushes, primer, paint, tape, and a ladder or two. We have used every brand out there and BENJAMIN MOORE or SHERWIN WILLIAMS are worth every penny. You’ll need less paint, and will get a better result with fewer frustrations. ALSO, the paints that say they have primer in them, don’t believe it, use primer to block out the previous colour first...it will cost you less in the long run.
A LADDER: Somehow everything that you will try to do will need a ladder. Get a good one. Not the black plastic/metal combo on sale at the Home Depot that weighs 30lbs for only $29. Spend a bit more ($45-$60) and get the lighter, aluminum one. It’s just like a stroller: if you can’t hold the stupid thing with one hand while kicking it open with your foot, leave it at the store. There, I just saved your marriage in the process.
STICKY STUFF: Seal everything that’s cracked: windows, doors, the foundation around your house, you get the gist.
RAILINGS: you know that open staircase that looked so cool when you first viewed the house? Well, your home insurer (and tipsy guests) might not feel the same way. Check your home insurance policy. It may need to be replaced within 60 days.
LIGHT FIXTURES, SWITCHES, and RECEPTACLES: Don’t mess around with anything electrical #FIRE unless you truly know what you are doing #FIRE. Sparks coming out of your bedroom light switch is not normal #FIRE. Hire a pro and sleep well at night. #SAFETYFIRST
THERMOSTAT: Ours was ancient and the only person who could figure out the replacement wiring was our gas guy. Don’t ask me why it was so complicated (and infuriating) but it was.
FIRE ALARMS & CARBON MONOXIDE DETECTORS: Don’t mess around. Get new ones and/or replace all batteries.
FURNACE: It’s good to get your furnace checked out when you first move in. A referral from someone you trust is always best (we love Ramon) just to make sure everything is running smoothly. YOU DO NOT WANT IT TO FALL APART so, a visit once a year, for around $100, is totally worth it. Also, replace those $20 filters every three months.
APPLIANCES: In our first year our fridge & stove imploded, and our washing machine practically spun itself across the basement. We had to replace them all at our very broke-est. Fortunately, we scored some FREE hand-me-downs, with the exception of the fridge...hello SEARS card.
FENCE: If you have kids or pets, repairs and/or a new fence & gate will quickly become priority on the first day of spring.
SHOVELS, RAKES, HOSE, GARDEN TOOLS, and a LAWN MOWER: If I had a dime for every time we had to hop in the car to pick up ONE. MORE. TOOL. I’d be a thousand-aire. (p.s. Canadian Tire really is your friend in this case - their sales are wicked!)
DOWN SPOUTS: Often, when people are staging a house, they remove the old, crappy down spout so the house exterior looks nice and tidy...gee, thanks. That means you get back in the car and head over to the H.D. for a spout extension that will lead the water away from the house/basement.
PLUMBING: May you never, ever, have plumbing issues. If you do, DO NOT DO FIX IT YOURSELF #FLOODING. Turn the water off and then call a professional. We do.
BUNGEE CABLES: Garbage bins + Raccoons = Bungee Cables. It’s the only thing they haven’t pried open...bloody beasts!
I know I’ve probably missed a few things, but that’s ok, I’m pretty sure this is enough to make you cry.
The moral of the story: Start scoping out Kijiji & Craigslist, and tell anyone who will listen that you & your kids (if you have them) need gift cards to IKEA, CANADIAN TIRE and HOME DEPOT this year instead of new socks or crappy toys.
Next blog: Maybe I should buy a Condo.....