Next month will be the one year anniversary of me becoming a homeowner. Homeownership has been quite a journey. I’ve experienced quite a bit. There has been some good, some bad, and some ugly times. Let me tell you about them…
The day after closing on my home I went into the house to install a security bar across the patio door. As a single woman this seemed like common sense to me. Though a woman lived in the house prior to me she obviously wasn’t too concerned about security. This may have been because the patio is raised and it’s on the second level of the three storied townhouse.
I didn’t give a damn how high it was raised. I wasn’t taking any chances. There are some crazy people in this world. All it would take is one deranged lunatic to get a rope or ladder and climb the patio. So, I went next door to Home Depot and bought a set of tools and a security bar, which I immediately installed…
Next, I turned my attention to the front door which has a glass window that was wide open for anyone to look into. Again, I don’t know how the chick before me lived in such a way. I went to Home Depot and fitted a pair of blinds for the window…
Next, I turned my attention to the good awful paint in the house. For some odd reason this woman decided to paint one bedroom and bathroom lime green and put two red accents walls in the house…
In case you haven’t figured it out, the woman who owned my house before me was white. I figured no black woman in her right mind would paint a bedroom lime green and put two red accent walls in a house she’s trying to sell. That shit is just tacky. I found a paint contractor on home advisor who had rave reviews and hired him to come paint this bedroom and those accent walls.
This brings me to lesson number one: If you want something done right you gotta do it yourself.
The painter is a very friendly man from South America (I think he said he is from Brazil or Columbia). Anyway, to my annoyance this guy didn’t do any of the initial work himself. He had two of his employees in my house painting. Because I didn’t yet live in the house I wasn’t worried about them stealing anything. So every morning I would ride to the townhouse and unlock the door for them to get in and every evening after work I would ride over to the townhouse to check out to their work.
On the very first day I allowed this crew of misfits into my home these motherfuckers RIPPED the towel rack off my bathroom wall. Instead of simply unscrewing the rack to get around it they literally pulled it off the wall leaving a hole where the towel rack used to be and they abandoned the bent towel rack in one of my bathtubs.
You want to see someone nut the hell up!
I fucking snapped.
It was so bad that the manager fired a member of his crew, came to my home, repaired the hole, and completed the work himself…
Once the place was painted I went back to home advisor to find a domestic cleaning service to clean the place…
This brings me to lesson number two: Don’t trust the reviews on home advisor and don’t ever hire a black owned cleaning service.
This lady had 5 star reviews. I took them at face value and I called her up. I told her I had a newly purchased three storied townhouse and I was looking for someone to come in and deep clean it. I asked if she had a crew of people. She said yes. I told her this was not a one person job and the place would need to be scrubbed from top to bottom. She said it wouldn’t be a problem. She told me the charge would be $270. I gave her a deposit.
When this bitch showed up a few days later it was just her and one other person, a teenager, who looked spaced the hell out. This raised an eyebrow for me but I decided to give them the benefit of the doubt. At one point I left them in the house and went next door to Home Depot to get a cover for the large gas grill I inherited with the property…
When I returned to the townhouse I found the spaced out teenager upstairs in one of the bathrooms spraying and brushing around the bathtub. There was no water, no bleach or anything else in the bathtub. He was spraying in spots and brushing around it. I remember thinking what kind of shit is this? When I think of a deep clean, which is what I was promised, I think of bleach, hot water and hard core scrubbing.
I went to the second level where the owner of the business was “cleaning” out the refrigerator and the kitchen. I asked her to wash down the grill that was outside on the patio. She agreed to do so for another $60. I said okay and went back to watch the work of the teenager who at this point was vacuuming the stairs after the owner screamed at him to do so (she literally barked out orders to this kid).
After a while I went back to where the cleaning lady was and watched as the heifer took her cleaning rags and dropped them OFF the patio to the ground below. And no, she didn’t bother to go down and pick them up. It was intentional.
After seeing this I fucking snapped! I told that bitch to get her shit and get the hell out of my house.
She demanded I pay her. I told her to kiss both sides of my ass.
This lady was running a scam and it became very apparent. I told her not only was I NOT going to pay her but I demanded my deposit back. She refused. She came to her senses when I filed a civil suit against her in small claims court.
This brings me to lesson number three: Don’t ever buy a home previously owned by whites.
After determining that I would have to clean my house myself I went up the street to Wal-Mart and bought an array of cleaning products. For the next two days, from sun up to sun down, I was in the house cleaning, scrubbing, dusting, vacuuming, etc. It took me two whole days to scrub the place down. When it was done I was exhausted.
In the course of cleaning I discovered hair, hair, hair every damn where. It was in the refrigerator (more proof that the cleaning woman didn’t do shit at all). It was in the microwave. It was in the kitchen cabinets. I was so repulsed by all the hair I found in the kitchen that I went out and bought new stainless steel appliances.
And I couldn’t tell if the hair was human hair or dog hair. All I knew, when all was said and done, is that I will NEVER EVER buy another home previously lived in by whites. The questionable decor and the unsanitary conditions of the home left me disgusted.
The irony here is that my realtor (a black woman) flat out told me that whites won’t buy houses previously lived in by blacks (something I already knew, but she confirmed). I joked with her that it SHOULD be the other way around with all the damn hair I found in places you would NEVER think to find hair.
Lesson number four: Think about how you will get furniture in and out BEFORE buying a property.
I have never owned a home and I have never lived in a townhouse. When I bought my townhouse I was just happy to be able to afford a home in a nice area. Things like the actual construction of the townhouse didn’t phase me….until the day I moved into the house.
My dad and my brother came to Atlanta to help me move the few items I had left after I gave some things to the Salvation Army. When it came time to get my queen size bed to the third level of the townhouse we caught pure hell. Why? Because there are two flights of stairs in the townhouse and they are both shaped like an upside down L. I now understand why some townhouses have elevators.
There is a sharp curve to the stairs that makes it impossible to get anything up the stairs without bending or turning the item multiple ways. Imagine trying to get a boxspring (an item that doesn’t bend) up these stairs.
After two hours of struggling, scrapping up my walls, and damn near tearing my stair light off the wall I finally told my brother and dad to stop trying.
I thought about it for a second and tried to think how the previous owner would have got her furniture in and out of the townhouse. Then it dawned on me. When I first visited the townhouse it was completely empty and the stair arm rails were laying on the floor on the first level. I thought this was because she painted the house, but then I realized she must have taken them off to get her furniture out.
My dad and my brother removed the arm rails and finally we were able to get the bed up to the third floor.
From that day forward I’ve had to think about how I will get furniture in and out of my house. Every piece of furniture is planned.
This brings me to lesson number five: Don’t ever buy a property that is part of a HOA that has a master policy.
My HOA has a master policy. What this means is the HOA owns the outside of the townhouse. That includes the front of the townhouse, the back of the townhouse, the deck, the roof, the roads, the sidewalks, the pool, the gates, street lights, tree, shrubs, etc while I own the walls-in (i.e., the carpet, fixtures inside the townhouse, etc).
If anything happens to the inside of my unit I’m responsible for it.
If anything happens to the outside of my unit the HOA is responsible for it.
Sounds good right?
I often find myself referring to my bylaws when there is an issue that needs to be addressed. Once I’ve determined that the HOA is responsible for fixing the problem I then have to go to the management company who then has to go to the board of directors and get permission to have the issue fixed. From there the management company takes bids from contractors and it takes WEEKS to get the issue fixed.
If that’s not enough, the community has ONE HOA meeting a year. It is in December. The HOA has to hire security to keep things civil (and yes, they do get heated) and to keep non-paying residents out of the meeting.
I attended the one in December 2017. What I learned gave me anxiety. Not only are some of my neighbors dumb and ignorant, but they are trifling as hell too.
Apparently, there are people living in the community who haven’t paid an HOA fee in years. I wondered why the HOA doesn’t foreclose on these folks. I soon got my answer.
When someone files for bankruptcy they cannot be touched. The HOA cannot make these people pay their HOA fee and they cannot foreclose on them.
So what happens? Fees for the rest of the community, the paying community, go up because we are forced to subsidize these people. Why? Because there is a master HOA policy in force that is responsible for the structures…all structures…in the community.
I don’t like this shit at all.
If there is ever some type of economic downturn in this country I can only imagine what that will mean for a community where there is a SHARED living expense.
Because of this I’m determined to sell the place in about two years.
This brings me to lesson number six: Be prepared to spend money.
My grandma told me years ago that you never get done paying for a house. I now understand what she meant.
When and if I ever buy another home it will be a brand new construction. Once you buy a home that’s been lived in or has been around for a while you inherit the problems that come with it. Though I have a home warranty, and I haven’t had any major issues, I’ve learned more about HVAC units, hot water heaters, air filters, flooring, tile, paint, toilets etc than I have ever learned in my life.
Do I regret buying a home? No.
Do I like owning a home? Yes.
However, I learned a valuable lesson: Homeownership is not what’s it’s cracked up to be.
The America dream can also be an American lie. I understand why some people prefer to rent though they can afford to buy. It’s too much of a hassle. As long as someone else owns the home it’s their problem.