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About to buy my first house


Hi Everyone,

Not sure where to put this, but I’m closing on my fist house in less then 2 weeks. Any advice out there?


Buy tools now


Keep about $5k available for random catastrophes. More if you’re not handy.

And get a dog (with training).


& preventive maintenance usually cost less than fixing it later and is less stressful IMO.
Also squirreling money away to get a few years ahead of property taxes in case something goes wrong.
Understanding what insurance covers and being adequately covered, seen a few people go homeless over the years not understanding that.


Sounds like you’re half-way there. The first step is actually the hardest; getting finance, a conveyancer (solicitor) your deposit, building and pest inspections, contract signing and building insurances etc.

You might want to think about buying furniture and appliances plus connecting your electricity, gas, etc before settlement if you plan on moving into the place within a few weeks.

Also, don’t forget to do a pre-settlement inspection to ensure you’re getting the property as contracted. If there are any issues with certain inclusions or changes or damages since your pre-purchase inspections - these will need to be raised with your solicitor to negotiate a price with the vendor in order to remedy said issues.


Throw vegetable seeds everywhere and just have a wild garden, don’t care for it, just let it over grow and become wild. Then it’s like an adventure to go gather the food.


Tackle projects 1 at a time. I purchased my first house a couple months back and I am staring at a bunch of half finished tasks: removed ceiling lights (haven’t replaced yet), hole in drywall (it was cracking so obviously breaking a nice big square out in the middle of winter was the best move I could make)

I made the mistake thinking I could make all the changes and fixes in parallel.


If you have the funds, try to put enough down so you can get out of paying PMI.

If you do your own maintenance, check the anode rod in the water heater. Clean the furnace filter and blower if it is easy to access. Add insulation where needed.

Congrats and enjoy!


if it is over 100 years old, has aluminum wiring, steel piping and horsehair plaster run…

If not congrats :slight_smile:


Suburb or rural (what is roughly the lot size)


I wish you better luck than I had with my first house.


LED bulbs. Expensive up front, but totally worth it. Especially if you’re getting an older house that has a fuse box. I pay 11 cents per kWh, and the LED bulbs are still worth while. Cree is my go to brand.

Consider electric tools over gas powered tools. People say you just pay in electricity what you save in gas. It’s a vicious lie. It costs me 5 cents in electricity to mow my giant yard, front and back. This cannot be done with a gas mower. I’m in the same spot with my snow blower. I live in Minnesota and use an electric snow blower. They’re that good.

While it’s always good to have a general credit card or two, consider getting a Home Depot/Lowes/Sears card. These will be good for when expensive appliances break. Expensive appliances will wait until you are strapped financially, and then break. If you have a card you can only use at one of those stores, it will likely always have credit available on it.


Thanks for the advice everyone. The bank just finished all the paperwork today! I close next week. The house was built in the 40’s and has a 7,500sqft lot. a lot of the old stuff was updated about 5 years ago. I have about 3k work of repairs that I have to do, so I should be able to keep a good amount of money in the bank after this is done.


Maybe this is common sense, but DEFINITELY keep track (excel or excel-like programs are GREAT for this) of every bill/payment you make - for a few reasons

  1. You will quickly figure out what your run cost for the household is and what your budget for extra things is - this helps in decision making between “wants” and “needs”
  2. Keeping track of your payments/costs will help you detect anomalies. If your power bill or gas bill spike, you can point them out to the companies and they will figure out if there is a glitch or worse a gas leak! (It happened to some neighbors of mine)


So I put together a ruff estimate sheet for my expenses before I started looking for a house so I had a good idea what I could spend. I have been adjusting it as I’m finding out what everything is really going to cost. I plan to keep good records as I go, but you know how those plans go…


Electric lawnmower? 1518096716179


I can’t believe no one got this!!!



Did that leave a bad taste in your mouth?


All your flex water lines (the lines that go from the wall to the toilet/sink/washer/ect…). If they are over 5 years old, replace them. If they are plastic, replace them. Also, the shutoff wall shutoff valve: DO NOT trust it. They often snap off and create an instant full pressure fountain that will flood everything. Find out where your street side and property front shutoff valve are, and memorize their location. You will eventually use them for who knows what reason.

Do not underestimate the damage these flex lines can cause. Every single damn person I know that has owned a home for any amount of time has had one of these break, and if they are lucky, it is while they are home and only minor flood damage occurs. Often times it is when you are asleep or away at work, and it floods the floor with a few inches of water. This often results in a BARE MINIMUM of $20k + in damages!

This is often the most overlooked thing people ever think about, and is often one of the most devastating, ESPECIALLY in a home older than 25 years old. The reason? Asbestos. Virtually every older home has it, and when it floods, inspectors literally have to lab test your insulation for how much (because it WILL have some) is in there. If it exceeds a certain amount (which a home built in the 40’s absolutely will), the home is literally put under quarantine (read: $$$) until repairs can be properly done. Plumbing is no joke, and I would go so far as to say the most neglected and destructive thing in home ownership.

Oh, water heater tanks die after 5-10 years, so figure on replacing that soon. If you have a septic system, have that inspected. 40’s homes often have funky electrical systems, so don’t overtax it and learn what kind of fuse system it is running: You will open it up semi-regularly, especially on older homes. Yard work is a bitch, so learn to love it or pay someone.

As far some non-plumbing advice:

-Get some sort of tool chest. It can be the absolutely shitty $100 Harbor Freight garbage. What matters is that it gives you a place to properly store basic tools. When tools are easy to get to, you are more inclined to use them and get shit done.

-Get a CORDED drill. Makita, Dewalt, and Bosch are all good choices for something inexpensive and that will last. You will be surprised how useful it will be. Wireless is great if you use it a lot, but if you don’t, batteries fail, while a corded one will always be there ready to use.

-Screwdrivers, pipe wrench, crescent wrench, Knipex Cobra Pliers, tape measure, bubble level (get a good metal one!), utility knife, hammer, putty knife, punches combination square, serrated jaws pliers, wire stripper, hex key set, lots of high-amp extension cords, a ladder, and some good flash lights. With this, you will be able to take care of 90% of anything that goes wrong.

-Introduce yourself to your neighbors. They are going to be a great asset, or a great annoyance. You might as well try and get on people’s good side.

-Get a spare key and hide it somewhere outside that isn’t completely obvious.

-Ask your neighbors for advice on the area: good places to eat, things you should watch out for, ect.


When first start doing projects and you go to home depot/lowes etc. Dont be cute with the material. Over buy material, if you need a 90 deg 3/4in pipe elbow get two and the one size down. Over estimate the material and when everything is done either return unused material or keep it. You will always need it later. Saves trips back and fourth and you can focus on the project.