What I Wish Someone Told Me About Buying a Home

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Take a course 

If you are buying for the first time, especially if you know very little about purchasing a home, definitely take a course even if it’s just online. My parents didn’t exactly instill financial literacy into us. I knew the basics (how not to write checks, how much to put into savings, don’t max out credit cards) but I didn’t know the fine tune details of buying a house.  The initial mortgage we were going to get required us to take a courses all about the home buying process and the information in it was incredibly useful. In the end, we ended up not needing it but at $75 total and I gotta say it was some of the best money we spent during this process. If you have the time and money to wiggle this course into your day, I definitely recommend it.

 Know your limits

We were prequalified for a mortgage and I mentally decided that I only wanted to pay three-fourths of what we were prequalified for. I wasn’t concerned about what houses in our market cost or what we were allowed to spend according to the bank, I had a dollar amount in mind for what I wanted our mortgage to be and anything above that was a no go for me. I knew even a few thousand dollars would add more to our mortgage than I was comfortable with. Even if we could afford to pay it, I didn’t want even that very slim financial burden. Agree to an amount and make every effort to stick to it.

Be very sure about your must haves

We had the housing check list of nonnegotiables. Three beds, two baths, fenced yard, lay out that makes sense, natural light, LOCATION. Everything else was negotiable because we were willing to make changes. Did we prefer hardwoods? Absolutely. Was it a deal breaker if the house didn’t already have them? Nope. Make sure that the nonnegotiables on your list are accounted for especially things that can’t be changed.  We could fence a yard but couldn’t change the direction our home faces towards the sun. We could change a bathroom vanity but not our neighborhood.

My husband and I adore our little town, would do almost anything to stay in it. Only thing is, it’s expensive. We could have gotten double the house for half as much money if we would have just caved and moved twenty more minutes. But we loved where we live and it was important for us to stay here. For us, location was the ultimate must have.

Calm down and don’t get attached

I am someone who has had the same heavy midcentury modern credenza for years because I think of it as a friend. I recycle because I think plastic has feelings and I give clothes to friends instead of selling them because I want them to have a good home. Moral of the story, I’m sentimental but buying a home is not the time to be that way.  When you are looking at houses try to maintain emotional detachment. At no time in the buying process did I think of the house as “my home where I’ll one day make Thanksgiving dinner and raise children and let our dogs roam the yard”. It’s a dangerous practice. Either you end up paying too much money for a house because you HAVE to have it or you cry bitter tears when you lose “the one” in a bidding war.

Be aggressive, Be be aggressive

This is actually a crock of horse S*** coming from me. I find it hard to be assertive, let alone aggressive. But it’s totally necessary to figure out the art of negotiation. We ended up using a buyer’s agent (a real estate agent who works for the buyer alone) to find homes, visit homes and inevitably do a lot of the negotiating. Our realtor was awesome. He was warm and charming and fun and funny but when it was time to do business, he handled it. The home that we ended up choosing needed a new HVAC, roof and hot water heater and our realtor got them all for us in spite of the competitive market. It’s incredibly important to be assertive and work in your best interest when buying.

Get the Warranty!!!

Once you do actually buy a home, get the home warranty! I swear to you there are so many things that can go wrong in the home that don’t show up on the inspection. Even if your inspector is an ace, he’s only in the home and inspecting for a few hours at the very most. A lot of the things that they missed can be caught by a home warranty. It’s only $500ish dollars which can seem like a nuisance after shelling out however many thousands of dollars for inspections, closing cost and initial moving cost but I promise you the warranty is worth it. It covers a multitude of sins including the appliances in your home. Such a small amount can cover so much peace of mind for your first year in a new home. We will probably even keep it once this first year is over.

Just Keep Swimming

Last but not least, don’t get buyers fatigue and just cave. Several times over, we saw home where I thought “this is good enough, lets just buy it.” But that is really no way to spend for one of the biggest investments of your lives. Really wait until you feel like the getting is good and then go for it.

I think there are other really useful sites out there on the interwebs that will guide you through buying a home but all of these things were things that no one taught us and I wish they had. What are some things you wished you’d know or feel is was really left out of all the guides when you purchased?

XO Prepford Wife

 

 

Prepford Wife: About Me

I’ve had this blog for years and I don’t think I ever formally introduced myself. So I’d like to take the time out on my 100th post to do so. I have 100 posts on here (wow) and yet so many unpublished either because I stopped and started, they were just too private for these inter webs or just because it was no longer relevant. But today, today is the day where this one is sent out into the world.

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So first and foremost, Hi. My name is Victoria. My blog is Prepford Wife on every single forum on these inter webs. Here are some random facts about me that may pop up from time to time.

  1. I run a prep blog but I think many of the preppy brands (Lilly, Vineyard Vines and some of the J. Crew items) get a wee bit tacky. I have a more vested interest in classic personal style than duplicating outfits from pinterest (not that there is anything wrong with finding style inspo). It’s why a lot of the time you will see my clothes reworked in this space with the #stylenotbuy hashtag.
  2. I am married. I didn’t marry young. I just look 15. My husband is the most incredible man on the face of the planet and he is actually responsible for this blog’s punny little name.
  3. I am physically attracted to nice teeth. They are seriously the first thing I look at and as long as I find a persons teeth attractive I can find them attractive. My honey has the most gorgeous teeth in the world. See instagram: jcreweveryday
  4. I am a biologist by trade but also a firm believer in Christ. I believe in evolution and God simultaneously and find nature and its perfection just to be another reflection of God’s grace and order. “There is no conflict between the life of faith and the life of inquiry”.
  5. I am an INFJ like a large number of bloggers and its reflected in how I interact with others in real life and through the blog. I feel way too deeply and I carry a lot of other people’s baggage because I live a large part of my life internally. And yet, it doesn’t me from being outgoing. #outgoingintrovertprobs
  6. The husband and I are Harry Potter crazy. We had a (non-tacky) Harry Potter wedding which you can see here. We also have two appropriately named giant pooches; Remus Lupin the Irish Wolfhound mix and Sirius Black the Giant Schnoodle.
  7. I suffer from chronic second hand embarrassment. Ask anyone who has known me longer than three months. I  get so embarrassed by tv shows that I end up watching them through my fingers. Why oh why would he choose to propose to her in front of allllll of her family?! Eeek. I also am privy to all of my friends embarrassing stories so they can watch me squirm.
  8. I’m allergic to shellfish, apples, latex, carrots, birch trees, dust, pollen, etc etc.
  9. I achieve flow in all that I do. Once I start on something, it’s the only thing in the world. I am thrown head long into it until I reach a good stopping point.
  10. I am a chronic triple sneezer.

New around here? Tell me something random about you that I didn’t know!

Prepford Wife

Popcorn is Only Good When It’s Edible: A Guide to Popcorn Ceiling Removal

We’ve all had it and ignored it. Because who really wants to spend days of their lives and thousands of dollars trying to remove sparkly gritty popcorn ceilings. But you’ve looked up and you’ve seen them collecting dusty and wondered to yourself if you should just spend the weekend and do them. The answer is most definitely yes. First and foremost popcorn ceilings are gross. Maybe not now but if you own dogs like we do inevitably, even the highest cathedral ceiling collects dust like its its primary mission in the world. The  popcorn ceilings make even the highest room look shorter and absorbs light like a black hole.

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We purchased our new home which had very dated popcorn ceiling with the idea that as soon as we moved in, the ceiling gotsta go. So before we unpacked a single solitary thing besides underwear and a toothbrush, we went to work on the ceilings. We removed the popcorn from the major areas including entryway, living room and the bedrooms. We left it alone -for now- in the hallway, kitchen and bathrooms. Even I can admit that the popcorn hides a multitude of sins and these are the areas that the dogs don’t go in and also experience a high degree of moisture so we didn’t want to expose the drywall in these rooms if we don’t have to.

Husband and I are all about cutting a corner when we can. Which would explain why we tried about four methods of removing the popcorn ceilings before we did it “the right way”.

We tried doing the shop vac scraper technique seen here. We quickly scrapped that idea because it was a straight up Pinterest fail. The sheer amount of ceiling falling could never make it into the vac and it made for a very slow process because the vac just wasn’t long enough. Add the fact that it was a one person gig since we only had one shop vac and we realized 50 sq ft into a room that it was a total waste of our time.

Next we tried the spray pump method recommended here. The spray pump just wet the ceiling and bounced off without any account for if it was actually saturating the popcorn or not. Add that to the fact that we were doing this at night where we couldn’t see if the popcorn actually saturated and Im 5’4″ and we didn’t have a ladder (face palm at trying to do this on top of a vintage piece of now very chalky furniture) and it was just a hot mess. So here’s what we actually ended up doing and what we needed to complete it.

Supplies

2- hand spray bottles

1- 12″ scraper

1- 5 gallon bucket

1- ladder

2- drop clothes

1- 4 foot ladder

1- bottle of purex laundry detergent

1- Abesthos/Lead test kit ( If your home was built before the 1980s then you need to test the ceilings for any abesthos and lead both of which are a possibility)

1. Run incredibly hot water into a five gallon bucket that has a cap full of detergent in it. We saw this earlier in a guide and found when we neglected to use detergent it was harder to tease off the popcorn  I’m not sure what the detergent does and I’m not sure that it leaves no residue so proceed with caution.  We just used purex because it’s what we had on hand but a no dye detergent of some sort would probably be better just in case there is an issue with color.

2. Cover floors in the area that you are working. We also draped a towel and some plastic over our ceiling fan after doing our first room and realizing what a mess this project could be.

3. Fill spray bottle with water from the five gallon bucket. Spray 5×5 patch of ceiling with spray bottle from about a foot away. Beware you are about to get one heck of an arm work out. I fully support you attempting to go back to the sprayer method and seeing if you can make it work.

4. Scrape sprayed patch with LONG SLOW EVEN strokes at a 45 degree angle. I repeat LONG SLOW EVEN motions. We were concerned about gouging the drywall because we didn’t feel like replacing it (like I said corner cutters) so we made sure to be extra specially careful.

5. We had a few areas that were a bit sticky and couldn’t be bought down in this way so we ended up scraping as much as we could and then gently sanding those patches down with a 100 grit sand paper block.

5. Let ceiling dry and roll with white ceiling paint.

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This photo is a small area of our living room that we managed to tackle in under a half hour once we stopped being lazy. We didn’t think very highly of the canvas drop cloths, moving them only where we absolutely needed them, because we had every intention of pulling this carpet up the next day. If you are someone who, you know, actually lives in your house, this method with plastic sheeting covering all of the walls and floors would probably be a life saver. I could only imagine doing this task with furniture and kids and dogs afoot.

All in all this project took us a weekend and was incredibly high impact. Definitely worth the time. Final product pictures will absolutely appear after we finally design a complete room in our home. Keep in mind, this project will take more time if you have painted ceilings or if you do in fact find the aforementioned asbestos is in your ceilings. If that is the case, call in the pros and start shelling out some cash.

So, are you feeling confident about removing the popcorn ceilings in your home?

XO Prepford Wife

Belle Sleeves and Stripes

 

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DressCamel Pendant Necklace| Sunnies| Shoes| Purse (old asos, similar, monogrammed!)

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There’s no such a thing as a stripe I don’t like but today even more so than ever. I wore this dress for J. Crew’s fictitious, yet undeniably real, holiday #nationalstripeday. I passed on the bell sleeve trend before because I couldn’t quite seem to find one that worked for me. But I saw this dress and instantly freaked, which was a good thing because it’s sold out twice since I first purchased.

A lot of the time, the length on these dresses airs on the side of “cutie at the beach” which means they’re hard to transition to the office. Add to fact that I need an extra inch or so to accommodate my hips and rear and a lot of these dresses are just way too short. This dress though is the perfect length. It was the ultimate first try for me for bell sleeves and like I always do I couldn’t resist going full throttle into the trend. I now own five of these pieces. Oh well, Kanye shrug what can you do? Anyway, where are you on the bell sleeve trend?

XO Prepford Wife