Buying Our First House: Other Costs

first house frontThe clock is ticking and I need more money! Buying our first house is expensive, so I made a plan to save a lot of money and get ahead.

We found our first house already and are pretty much just waiting to close. Since we’re currently staying with my parents rent-free, we need to take advantage of this opportunity and save lots of money before we start looking for moving companies and make the move.

According to our lender, if we close the first or second week in September, our first mortgage payment won’t be due until November 1st. Awesome!

Of course we still have some bills to pay now and after moving into our new house, but nothing as expensive as rent. We have 5 paydays before our first payment is going to be due.

The house is pretty much move-in ready, but we need to get a couple of pieces of drywall for the garage, get a new cellphone, plumb the kitchen for an ice-maker and put up fencing in a few spots to keep our puppy safe. There is also the bathroom situation which is going to require urgent attention or I’ll probably die.

The Creepy Bathroomcreepy bathroom

The house is 1 1/2 baths, which immediately creeps me out, since there are 3 of us. The main bathroom is the only one with a shower or bathtub, but…it has one of those walk-in bathtubs for old/handicapped people so they stay safe. Okay, I know I just sound picky, but it’s not like that.

The weird walk-in bathtub only has like 1 square foot (my honey says that I’m exaggerating) of actual standing space and the shower attached thing only goes up to like 5 1/2 feet. Not a problem if I was short and had small feet. But that’s not the case—I’m 5 feet and 11 inches tall (yes, I’m Amazon tall) and I need big feet (size 10) to keep myself from falling over. See, it’s not just me being a picky chick, I actually have concrete evidence that it must be changed. :-)

The walk-in tub looks almost new, so I’m hoping that we’ll be able to really carefully take it out (if it fits out the door) and maybe sell it on craigslist or something. Then we can grab a tub from Home Depot, hire somebody to do the installing part of it (or do it ourselves), then do the drywalling and tiling stuff ourselves.

I have no clue in the world how much something like that is going to cost. Maybe we’ll get lucky and be able to sell the walk-in tub for enough to cover these costs…if not, we’re going to need money saved up.

Plumb for Ice-Maker

Is this really an urgent matter? Yes, I do believe that it is. In a odd way, spending the money to have the kitchen plumbed for an ice-maker is one of my long-term saving strategies.

If you don’t already know, I drink ONLY bottled water. Even though I usually get it on sale and with coupons, it still adds up—especially over the years. By plumbing our kitchen for an ice-maker I will save money on bottled water because I’ll get fresh, cold, yummy filtered water out of our refrigerator. And I won’t have to remember to fill up those little ice-cube trays, I’m so forgetful. There would still be the cost of filters for the refrigerator, but I’m pretty sure they will still cost less than buying bottled water.

Also, not that I’m really concerned about it—I’ll be helping the environment. Yep, I’ll be doing my little green part for Mother Earth by spending money to plumb our kitchen for an ice-maker. I’m so bad, I know. Still, imagine all those plastic bottles I won’t be using anymore. On average, I drink 5 16.9 oz bottles of water daily—that’s 1,825 bottles each year (18,250 in 10 years).

From what I’ve gathered so far, we could do this ourselves for around 120 bucks (because we need tools). Or we could pay somebody and make sure it’s done right for between 100 and 200 bucks.

Utility Deposit

Moving to a different city and county means we’ll be switching utility providers. Yay! The power is actually cheaper per kilowatt hour with the new provider than the one we had in Vancouver.

The new utility provider’s web site mentioned that we would be required to pay a utility deposit though, of $150.00. That’s not that bad, plus it’s refundable after 1 year of service. You can either get it back by check or have it as a statement credit on your account. I’m just happy that I found out ahead of time so that I can prepare for another cost of buying our first home.

Can You Hear Me Now?

A new cell phone—this one sounds ridiculous to be included as a necessary cost of moving into a new house. LOL It really is necessary though because my current cellphone doesn’t get any reception whatsoever at the new house. Not a single bar.

I am going to be so happy to break free from T-Mobile. :-) Our last apartment (the one we just moved out of) got the worst reception I have ever had. We would be lucky to get 1 bar outside, most of our calls would cut in and out, sometimes the phone never even rang and tons and tons of dropped calls.

T-Mobile did all this checking around and sending people here and there and came to the conclusion that our reception was very good. Wtf? I would have liked them to come over and try to make a call from our apartment. Even our guests that used T-Mobile couldn’t get any reception.

Now things will be different. I can find a new cell phone provider and actually have a normal functioning cellphone like everybody else in the world. I don’t need a smartphone or data plan, so it shouldn’t be much more than we’re paying now. Maybe I’ll get lucky and find one that comes with a free phone.

Or…we could get a land-line (we haven’t had one of these in many years) and get a cheap prepaid cell phone for when we leave the house. That would cost us the price of the prepaid phone, airtime, set-up fee for land-line and a phone or two for the house.

What were some other costs you had when moving into your home?

About Jen Perkins

Likes: saving money, being debt free (aside from our house), zombies, travel, getting money, blogging and dogs. Dislikes: debt, being broke, bunnies, wasting money, not having enough money to travel the world and paying interest. Facebook  ♥  Twitter  ♥  Google+  ♥  RSS


Buying Our First House: Other Costs — 46 Comments

  1. Wow that tub is weird! I’ve never seen one like that. Our house was updated right before we moved in, and we liked everything about it, so we didn’t change anything. However, we still want to paint and now we want to add carpet to the living room.
    Michelle recently posted..Do You Want To Be Self Employed?My Profile

  2. That’s a lot of bottled water! How do you keep your spending so low if you are buying so much water – that’s impressive! I know you are saving as if you are paying rent, which is great, but I’m curious if there are any smaller bills you can pay off so your monthly oop is lower? Just a thought. The bathroom is weird, but usable until you can update it.
    Rachel recently posted..Summer 2012 UpdateMy Profile

    • I usually try to get the bottled water on sale, with a coupon and/or with a catalina promotion. Sometimes I get lucky and can do all 3 at once. :-)

      Our only monthly bills right now are our cellphone ($50/mo.) and our storage unit ($150-ish/mo.) that has all our stuff in it until we move out of my parent’s house.

      Once I figure out the phone situation, I can either increase (which I don’t want to do) or decrease our cell phone cost.

      As for the storage, I’m hoping to be moved into our new house within a month. So that one won’t change until we empty it out. The storage unit is really expensive (IMO), but the cheaper one at another place was massively infested with ants. Sometimes you have to spend a bit more if you don’t want ants living in your stuff, so I was okay paying a bit more.
      Jen recently posted..Preparing Our Finances 4 Home OwnershipMy Profile

  3. Hmmm, walk-in tub…that’s a first for me haha. for the time being, you’re just going to hold the shower head the entire time you’re taking a shower? that’s gonna be tough

  4. That is a crazy tub/shower thing! I don’t know how quickly I’d get the plumbing done for the ice maker; they do have those old-school ice cube trays that you could do. Sure, it would be a little inconvenient but it might allow you some more time to save up the cash.

    After thinking long and hard about it I’m hoping our house doesn’t sell until next year as I’d like to save up more money for our move. After meeting with the new realtor I was surprised at how many fees are associated with selling a house (it was about $2500 more than we thought). Some of that $2500 is refunded in a few weeks time, but still…that’s a lot to come out of our proceeds and it doesn’t include realtor’s fees or closing costs for the borrower if they try to negotiate that in the deal.
    Jason @ WorkSaveLive recently posted..Recipe: Vegetarian BologneseMy Profile

  5. That is one weird tub. I’m short so I’ve never had an issue with too low showers (5’2″) but my fiance is 6’2 and when we look at rental houses it’s something he looks at closely. Right now we purchased one of those removable shower heads and that helps.
    bogofdebt recently posted..Seriously I hate my student loansMy Profile

  6. Oooh I would hate a low shower head. I get so annoyed when I have to crouch down to wash my hair and face. Damn you’re tall for a chick lol. Having a senior’s tub is pretty weird too. PK makes a good point about making sure a full sized tub can even fit in there. It might be a pretty big project in the end. Good to hear that you’ll finally be able to stop buying bottled water too. Personally I drank brita filtered water for a long time, but I recently took out the filter and it still tastes great.
    Modest Money recently posted..5 Places You’re Not Looking for Content IdeasMy Profile

  7. Home ownership is wonderful, but you will feel like you need to have everything at once. You’ll also have to deal with lawn care. You’ll want curtains and rugs and a whole host of other things. Just take your time. That tub is really bad, but I’d for sure get some contractor estimates if you are not good at plumbing. You don’t want to wreck that nice tile. And wow, I thought I had big feet with a size 9!
    Kim@Eyesonthedollar recently posted..How to Afford Expensive HobbiesMy Profile

    • I know, everything seems so urgent—it’s hard to prioritize. I’m hoping that we can get by without extras like more curtains and such for a while. Thankfully I’m more of a simple decorator and don’t like a lot of clutter. :-)
      Jen recently posted..Sublime Saturday Assemblage #33My Profile

  8. Your bathroom isn’t what I would call creepy, but it’s just not young and fun and cute. Our master bath is awful and it’s the next on our list of updates we can’t yet afford. Oh, I can’t wait! I’m pretty sure the tub and shower are original to the house…that was built in 1983. YUCK!

    Cute house! CONGRATS!!! It’s so awesome when you can call a place your own!
    Michelle recently posted..Insurance for the Rainiest of DaysMy Profile

  9. I agree with the person who said it wasn’t creepy—those tubs are for older people with mobility issues and I used to see commercials all of the time for them. Doesn’t it have a seat? I love sitting in showers. :-)

    I am tall like you so I would also be annoyed with it. I would probably just call around and get some estimates to see how much it will cost you to get what you want. If it’s not within your budget at the moment, then I would just hold off for a bit. I would even try it out first and see how it really feels before changing it right away.
    thethriftyspendthrift recently posted..Getting Ready for Our “Frugal” VacationMy Profile

  10. Looks like its time to price a bathroom remodel. I think that sounds fun though. I would recommend looking into Vonage for the home phone. It is really cheap and crystal clear. Keep in mind that it might go out with the power or internet service. I might rely on my cell phone too much.
    Mark recently posted..How Greywater Irrigation Works + VideoMy Profile

    • It’s a bit tricky to swap the tub/shower out. Since it’s the only one in the house, we would have to go a few (or more) days without showering. Yuck. We would love to do it ourselves to save money and because that stuff is cool, but I’m not sure what we’re going to do. Hiring somebody would probably cost too much.
      Jen Perkins recently posted..Getting Back into the Swing of ThingsMy Profile

  11. Preparing for a remodeling project is a lot like preparing to buy a car. You may know the room and style you want, but the options you choose may drive the price higher than you can reasonably afford. But there are ways to stretch the remodeling budget and end up with stylish results within budget.