Monday, December 22, 2008

7 things you need if you are buying a house

Ever since I moved into my loft, my renter friends have started to talk about getting their own place. Some of them actually did, but if, like the ones who are thinking of taking the plunge, you are thinking about buying a home, read on. Because you need more than a good banker and a notary to make it happen, dear friend. Here's my list.

1- Money

I'd buy that for a dollar
So you have enough set aside for the down payment, welcome tax, movers and that new couch you've had your eye one. But that's only the beginning. Everyone wants your money now. Did you think about the school tax? Condo fees? Hike of condo fees? Lighting fixtures to replace all the lovely naked bulbs the builders installed in your new place? Electrician to install all those lighting fixtures? Paint? Did you plan those weekly trip to Ikea to buy five hangers or a shoe rack that will end up costing you $200 every time? Yeah.

2- A good set of tools

Stay still, Sally
Now is not the time for dollar store tools. You don't want a square-tip screwdriver that will lose its edge while you are assembling your new Scandinavian étagère: Thor would not approve. Get the following tools in a reputable brand like Mastercraft: a good set of screwdrivers, a stud finder, a drill with bits, nails and screws in various sizes, a measuring tape, putty powder, a level, a utility knife, a hammer and pliers. Also get a nice, classic red toolbox to hold it all. The rest you can borrow from number 3. Which leads me to...

3- A friendly helper

installing the lamp
Because you are not a super hero, there will come times when you need someone to help you with stuff like installing a lamp or shelves. So be sure to have a network of helpers ready to lend a hand. The rules? First try to do it yourself. If it doesn't work, ask nicely. Treat your friendly helpers with cupcakes and cookies from time to time. And if they need a hand, reciprocate.

4- A sense of humour

Shit will happen. Stay happy. On the first week of moving in my loft, my floor was badly scratched, I lost my camera, the breaker box had to be rewired and the apartment above mine leaked about 2425134 gallons of water into mine through the ceiling while I was away. I cried like a baby ("Why meeeeeeeee! Whyyyyyy!?) then I called my mom, bought flowers, drank a bottle of rosé with a friend and all was better.

5- Fearlessness

Yellow door project
Paint that door canary yellow. Hang that painting of a monkey in a suit on your living room wall. You don't make mistakes if you never try anything. That's why primer and Polly-Filla were invented.

6- Good movers

At Finnegan's flea market
I can't stress that enough. Don't go for the cheapest guys in the yellow pages; plan ahead and get names from friends and family. I used Déménagement Économique after getting rave reviews from friends and I will recommend them forever and ever. I've heard so many scary stories from people who used el-cheapo movers that I am now convinced that it's one of the best investment one can make. Saving 100 bucks is not worth having your stuff taken hostage by reformed criminals until you pay a "service fee" to each member of the crew. And yes, this actually happened to someone in my building.

7- Patience

You will live in a big old mess for a long time before feeling at home. Take it easy and enjoy the nesting aspect. When it comes to furnishing, buy only what you love even if it takes you time to find it. Do a little something for your place every week, even if it's just buying flowers or organizing your sock drawer. Enjoy the ride. You are home.

No comments: