We’ve rented in the past. Admittedly, it’s been a long time since we did, but as I recall the reason for our first home purchase was only in part to build equity; the big reason was to avoid having to deal with a landlord.
I assume that everyone reading has had to wait to get a leaky faucet fixed, a leak in the roof patched, or an appliance replaced. Some landlords are prompt, while others leave their money in the bank earning interest and do as little as possible for as long as possible to solve your problem.
And then there is the issue of having to put up first and last month’s rent and a deposit to cover any damage, cost of cleaning etc. which you almost never get back, regardless of how careful and fastidious you are.
Our first house was a squat, pseudo-adobe house in Arizona that we bought with G.I. Bill benefits. The mortgage was 7% over 30 years, and we had minimal closing costs. There was nothing wrong with the house other than being in a working class suburb of Phoenix. We were located across the street from the number one fairway of a municipal nine hole golf course, and there were small dents in the garage door created by errant golf balls. Fortunately, the garage extended far enough to protect the picture window in the living room.
We bought that house about a year after I got out of the Army in the summer of 1973.. We had two small daughters, two cars, assorted mismatched furniture and life was good. When I finished my residency in the summer of 1975 we were full into a major recession. We placed our house on the market in early spring and got a few lookers, but no offers. At the end of June we had a garage sale, sold my 1965 Mustang (which I still pine for) and moved to Memphis, Tennessee into a townhouse rental. Six months later we found a house in a soon to be gentrified area of town and moved.
A year after we moved we got a call from the realtor. He had an offer, our first, and it wasn’t good, but it was an offer. The buyer would pay closing costs, nothing “down”, assume our loan, and the realtor’s fee on the sale – which wasn’t much – would be paid from quarterly bonuses that the buyer received.
Prior to closing I got a call saying that there was no air conditioner on the roof. It had been stolen. I collected on the homeowner insurance and replaced it.
Two years later I got a subpoena to appear in court in Phoenix or pay all of 2 years mortgage payments and resume ownership of the house to attempt another sale, or turn the house over to the bank. I consulted an attorney who found that Arizona law prevented “short sales”. If the bank loaned you money and took the house you owed them nothing. So, the bank got the house.
Over the years we’ve moved around owned other homes; some of them wonderful, some money pits. Made a lot of money on some houses and lost money on others, and have lived in the house we are in now for nine years.
We replaced the heat pump with another, shortly after moving in, and in October put in a gas furnace and air conditioner. “Kuhching” About a month and a half ago we replaced an oven that wasn’t working and repairmen couldn’t seem to fix with a new G.E. Adora gas range. The oven doesn’t work and when we tried to change the time to DST the clock would not respond. We’ve been working with Home Depot/GE/National Platinum Appliance Service for 6 weeks now. Since it is under GE warranty Home Depot is the go-between. GE calls National Platinum, a time is set up for a service visit and they don’t come or call. A call to National Platinum gets you a “Leave a Message” message and no one returns your call.
Calls to GE get you to a phone tree that leads to, “Repairmen will be at your home on XXX at... There seems to be a technical problem (click).” The Customer Care representative at Home Depot told us that no one around here will work on GE or Samsung, and the “Platinum” company is two hours away in Atlanta and just don’t want to come here. G.E. won’t replace the oven until it has been declared by National Platinum to be a lemon. Catch-22. Some “higher up” at Home Depot is working on it now.
I thought of writing a letter to GE;
Dear General Electric,
First, General, let me thank you for your service to our country. Unfortunately, a grateful nation is being ill served by the company you work for….blah, blah, blah.
I’m sure that I would then get the “smart ass treatment” and things would get worse. Wait, how could they?
We live in a split-level ranch house, and the back bathroom suddenly had no hot water a week ago. Since we thought we had only one water heater this made no sense. There is a wall between the entry to the crawl space and the area under the back bath and I could not physically get over air ducts and crawl around to see what was going on under that bath.
The plumber’s grandson could, and found that we have two water heaters. (Actually, three. One is dead and was never hauled out for the reason I mentioned above.) So, the plumber was able to get the newer old heater working for now, but we need two new water heaters because the one I knew about is rusted out and leaking, too, and needs to be replaced right away. “Kuhching, kuhching”.
I haven't actually talked to anyone about a water heater purchase, yet.
Buying at Home Depot and Lowe's involves shopping sales. An employee told us that if it weren't for sales nothing in Home Depot would ever move.
Above is what I found that should meet our needs on one end of the house ~ $619.00 on-line.
Consumer Reports does not rate water heaters, but they recommend the 12 year warranty even if you won't live that long because those units have better elements, are more cost efficient, and bring water to temperature faster.
One end of the house will require a short water heater, the other can use a "tallboy".
I might be able to get it cheaper if I paid cash, but am a little short of that now.
We have a Home Depot in town and a Lowe's 25 miles from here. There is a local plumbing supply house.
I'd be back to cash with them.
There was a time when I could see and was younger when I would have done all of the trouble shooting and installation.
I'm not ready for a condo yet, but that would solve a lot of these problems.
Our forty-five year old daughter, the artist who makes a living doing hair, just bought her first home. I’ve tried to talk to her about all of this, but she is decorating her new house in her head and I just need to let her have that first-time owner joy. The downside will come soon enough. And, her Life Partner is her age, has worked in construction, and can do a lot of those things that I once did.