We bought a house in Grand Junction, Colorado, aka the Western Slope. We now have an investment and we are no longer paying exuberant rent. We feel blessed. Everyday we get to see the beautiful, confident, underrated Mt. Garfield outside our bedroom window! However, with all of our blessings we have quite a few homeowner lessons that we are learning along the way. First, let me point out that I am a very organized person. I still keep an old school check register because I have to highlight and mark off transactions and pending transactions. I like to know what our monthly bills are, to the decimal point. So with all of this border line OCD happening in my head, home ownership has had many unexpected costs. I would like to share these costs because in my mind, well, this information is just really helpful.
First, we belong to an HOA. No biggie. We knew our neighborhood had an HOA prior to signing our final paperwork. What we didn’t realize, our annual dues are due in January. We bought our house mid-December. The added cost of the HOA dues really put a wrench in our month, which by the way, includes Christmas and gift buying! So, I made some phone calls and emailed the HOA and thank goodness, they allowed us to pay the dues in installments. So, now we know that we need to have an extra $300 in checking to pay our annual HOA dues which are due in January.
Second, speaking of HOA, in our neighborhood we have irrigation water. Now, I am not that well-versed on the whole irrigation water set up. But what I do know, irrigation water is handy because it allows us to water our lawn and not use the same water that we use inside the house for cooking, drinking, and cleaning. Irrigation water maintenance is very specific. Apparently, before winter the irrigation system must be “blown out” so that the pipes don’t freeze. We didn’t have to do that this year because the previous homeowner took care of it. In the spring, you have to make sure, before they turn on the irrigation pump that the valve on your property is closed and then once they turn on the pump you can turn on the valve. Confusing right??? Well in all of that confusion we also got a bill for $60 from the ditch and drainage company. This annual bill is due in March. So, I had to make another call and find out what the bill was for and if I could pay it a little late. So, now we know that we have to pay an extra $60 for irrigation water in March.
Third, we got another bill related to the irrigation due in June. This bill is paid to the drainage district and is the storm water utility fee. This fee of $36 is an annual bill for the runoff from the irrigation water.
Fourth, the power companies (electric and gas), water, sewage, garbage, and cable all have to be set up. Theses utilities also include an initial connection fee. I know this seems like a no brainer, but we were renting and didn’t pay for water, sewage, or garbage. Also, our power bill was one bill when we rented and now it is two separate bills from two separate companies. Cable, I know it is not a necessity, but we do set it up, especially for the Internet (how would I write this compelling blog post 🙂
Fifth, we rekeyed the house, completely necessary. We had to buy an extra garage remote, because the previous homeowner only left one. Also, we needed a washer and dryer. We could have sworn that the washer and dryer were being left behind in our contract but we reread it, and were sadly mistaken. Thank goodness for Craigslist. We also needed a lawn mower, edger, and a hose, which we didn’t have to buy right away because it was winter when we moved in.
Home ownership is teaching us a lot. We have other expenses but they are not necessities. For example, we have changed out the old light fixtures for more energy efficient lighting. This was not necessary, but we are slowly putting our own touches on our house along with trying to find ways to cut costs like the electricity bill!
In conclusion, home ownership is blissful and stressful! We own our very own home. We can paint, change lighting, pull up carpet, and basically make it our own. This is what makes buying a house turn into a home. But, the most spectacular part of home ownership is that we get to visit places in western Colorado that we have never visited before. We are off exploring every weekend and we are enjoying our adventures!
**If you have any home ownership tips to share, please put them in the comment section. I love to hear different perspectives and advice.