Five great questions of life: Life * Love * Learning * Labor * Leadership
Even More Stuff: Buying Your First HomeBy Evan Nehring
For many, a home is the largest possession you'll ever have. Beyond the investment aspect, though, owning and maintaining a home is a major lifestyle decision.
Yes, there are many benefits to owning a home. I love being a homeowner! I love the stability of living in one place for years, decades, or generations. I love the freedom of being able to customize anything we can afford to change.
I go so far as to consider our home a sort of “core value lite.” Along with worship, devotion, family & friends, outreach, character, personal management and kingdom story, I review my commitments to our house. I word this “core value lite” like this:
A lifetime of providing warmth and shelter for my family.
The systems required to live in and maintain a house take possessions to a whole new level.
- Home maintenance – electrical, plumbing, renovations, paint, carpentry
While it’s true that your house payments are buying you an asset, this asset is likely to cost you thousands of dollars per year. Coldwell Banker suggests annual maintenance costs will be 1.5 to 4 per cent of the home’s value. On a modest home costing $100,000, this means spending $1500 to $4000 per year just to keep up with repairs.
Shockingly and disappointingly, Colleen and I have found this to be true. It’s even true if you do all the work yourself.
- Lawn and garden – grass, fertilizer, machines, tools, trees and flowers
I love my lawn! One of my great joys is to work at keeping it thick, lush and green. My reward is watching my family run around barefoot on a hot summer day. Even if you don't do the full Scott’s fertilizer program, lawns and gardens are an investment.
- Appliances – refrigerator, stove, central air, vacuum, dishwasher, microwave, blender, coffee maker
Our dishwasher died last week. We bought it when we moved into our home eight years ago, so that’s about right. Eight to ten years is normal life expectancy for a dishwasher. All the other major household appliances fall into that eight to twenty year range. Save your money!
- Tools – carpentry, painting, plumbing, automotive, electrical
You can’t maintain a home without tools. Borrowing tools gets old quick and violates Shakespeare’s “neither a borrower nor a lender be” guideline. Borrowing is fine, but unless you hire out all your repairs, you’re going to need some tools.
And losing tools is expensive! Whether it’s in the basement or out in the garage, get your tool bench organized!
- Furniture – kitchen, living room, dining room, bedrooms, den
Early in our marriage, Colleen and I moved from a 1000 square foot mobile home to a 4500 square foot ranch –style home. The sellers were heading to the mission field and walked through the house with us offering us very cheap prices on pieces of furniture. That was our start.
We've never had a “bed,” just a mattress and a frame. Perhaps that'll change someday. We've gone through several couches. We made payments on a nice dining room table and chairs. Then a friend gave us a baby grand piano!
We may have nicer furniture some day, but it’s all comes from the same bank account. Can you see how a house changes your plan for possessions?