New House, New Debts?

It’s been nearly a year since I moved into my new house and I’ve taken some time to consider how much I could be in debt right now had I not practiced a little delayed gratification. Okay… a lot of delayed gratification.

*Carpet – when I moved in the house was flooded (long story) and I could have plunked down the CC or opened a new one to finance the $900 it cost me to carpet ONE room.

*Flooring – and next to the new carpet, the rest of my floors would have looked terrible. I could have replaced the bathroom tiling and put in the wood floors in all three bedrooms to the tune of $2,000

*Repairs – water damage to the drywall resulted in tearing out 2 sections of wall in my living room. Let’s just say it was a long, cold winter. I could have hired a contractor to repair it asap. These repairs would have cost approximately $2,500 with a contractor.

*Furniture – my living room is brown. My couch is purple. I had no dining table or chairs, no bed frame, dresser or bookshelves for the guest room. Approximate costs:
Dining Set: $700
Couch: $800
Bed Frame: $450
Dresser: $275
Bookshelves: $500
Total: 1,515

*Television – the one I moved into the house was small, the sound was going out and it was old. Cost of a new 32″ tv was around $600.

*Landscaping – the house needs serious landscape work, I could easily justify new front and back lawns, remove 2 trees, shape and cut back 18 rosebushes, revamp the side yard, plant new flowering bushes and plant 3 new trees. Conservative estimate (with labor) comes to nearly $4,000.

*Appliances – the dishwasher is broken, the fridge/freezer combo was used, the washer and dryer don’t always work perfectly. To upgrade these appliances I could have spent:
Dishwasher: $350
New Fridge/freezer: $900
Washer & Dryer set: $1,500

*Chest Freezer – buying a chest freezer enables a homeowner to freeze meals, buy in bulk and cut the grocery bill. The local appliance store has these available for financing $350 for the large one I was pricing.

*Grill – what’s more American homeowner than grilling? One of these is necessary, right? A new grill would have set me back at least $250

*Lawnmower and tools – Gotta keep that newly landscaped lawn mowed and if I don’t hire it out I’ll need a lawnmower, string trimmer and other assorted tools. Minimum cost is probably $500

When all was said and done I could have easily financed over $15,000 in home improvement projects. And it would not have been difficult. My AMEX and CapitalOne limits could handle most of it and I get offers in the mail every week. OR I could open up a HELOC and easily tap into the “equity” I didn’t yet have in my home.

But what would I have? A nice, furnished, beautiful home with nice landscaping and a pile of bills.

(and that’s without touching the garage door repairs, a new furnace, new gutters, painting the exterior, outdoor lawn furniture and garage storage. If I really wanted to scare you I’d also write down the costs for new faucets, replacement toilets, curtains, paint, ceiling fans and replacing the screens)

Early in the process of finding and making an offer on this house I said, very clearly, that I don’t want this house to be an excuse to dig myself into debt.  For the past year I’ve held to that desire.  In part 2 I’ll describe what I did buy, how I did it and the plans for the rest.

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