Transitioning from an apartment to a house: how to make it go as smooth as possible (Part 1 of 2)
Have you ever wanted to trade in your cramped apartment for the freedom of your own home? What about moving out of your rental house or duplex to finally buy your own house? If so, then you, like many other people, are in for an interesting ride. You see, making that transition from apartment to house, or renting to buying in general, can be a bit frustrating if you aren’t readily prepared. However, things can go a whole lot smoother if you have a bit of knowledge into what you could expect. And today, we are going to try and prepare you for that time. Remember, this is not an all-inclusive list of things that you need to know as a homeowner, but it is a good start. Being a homeowner involves a lot of different responsibilities. Keep learning and make sure you talk to your real estate agent about all the other responsibilities you have as a homeowner before you decide that it is right for you.
But why do people want to leave the comforts of an apartment and venture out into the open real estate market? Space is one factor, equity is another, and then, of course, there is the good old American Dream. The American Dream has been, for a long time, to increase your status. To take yourself from wherever you are and improving upon your situation and the one thing that seems to do that the best would have to be the buying of a home. However, it doesn’t matter really what motivates you to make that transition, the more you know about what to expect from home ownership the better.
#1 Homes aren’t always bigger than apartments
The first thing you need to know before you seriously start making this move is that homes are not always bigger than apartments. They are generally bigger, however, in some cases, they can be smaller. Let’s take the average sizes of houses and apartments here in the Boise area. The average home is about 1,300 to 2,000 square feet of living space. An apartment in Boise will usually be between 400 and 1,000 square feet. As you can see, on the average, homes are bigger than apartments. However, there are homes that are only in the 800 square foot range and then there are apartments that can get up to 1,500 square feet. So, if you aren’t careful about your budgeting and preparations, you may get stuck with a house that is smaller than the space you can from.
Let’s say that you do get a home that is bigger than your previous apartment. It’s great, right? Well, that depends. What tends to happen is that a person, when they move into a new space, ends up buying, or accumulating, more things so that their living space is at their optimal level of cluttered. This is because they had enough stuff to fit into their apartment but not enough for the bigger house. They may come home and find that their home feels empty. Because of this, there are some people that find themselves spending a lot of money right after a move on things to fill the home. Now, you aren’t forced to do this by any means, it just tends to happen. So, just watch out for that kind of behavior if you are concerned about spending too much money.
#2 There are a lot more expenses that come with a house than an apartment
Now, let’s talk about finances a bit more. Most homeowners end up having a handful of expenses more than when they were renting. Now, we aren’t talking about the mortgage, we are talking about the tons of other things that a homeowner has to deal with that a renter does not. These are things like water, sewage, trash and other utilities, homeowner’s insurance, taxes, mortgage insurance, etc. So, when a renter decides to buy a home they will find that they have to pay for a bit more than the usual gas, electricity, and internet. These can be prepared for as long as you make sure you are financially ready to handle everything when they come.
#3 You will need to invest in some appliances too
Aside from the furnace, stove, and a few other appliances, you will find that there is a possibility that you will buy a home without any of the needed machinery in it. Now, of course, you could bargain with the seller about including the fridge and so on, but in some cases, you will need to buy some sort of appliance upon move in. There are plenty of places here in Boise that sell both new and used appliances that will work great for you if you need them. This way you can affordably get your hands on a toaster or a microwave to complete the functionality of the kitchen.
When you are buying any appliance it is best to check out consumer reports and other reviews and reports before you hand over your money. By checking on how they worked for other customers, you will be able to make a wise decision on what the right item to purchase for you would be. This becomes increasingly more important when we get into the realm of energy efficiency. If you can get your hands on some energy efficient machines it will drastically cut down your electric bill.
#4 Dealing with a neighborhood association can be either a hassle or a miracle
Homeowner’s and neighborhood associations (HOAs) are prolific in the Boise area and they are something that people who rent apartments don’t have to worry about. In some cases, an HOA can be an amazing organization that takes care of quite a bit of stuff in and around the neighborhood. However, there are some reports of HOAs being terribly controlling and making life miserable for homeowners. Be sure to find out what kind of HOA there is in your soon to be neighborhood before you buy a home so you know what you will be dealing with.
Now, this ends part one of our renting to owning transition article. Stay tuned for part two where we will cover a lot more vital information for soon to be homeowners.