Props to my homies.
As I approach my 10th year as a homeowner, I can't help but reflect on everything I've learned over the decade: how to paint a wall while ruining everything else in the house by spilling paint on it, spot a neighbor with a meth addiction (hint: he's covered in blood!), and shrug my shoulders, look into an imaginary camera, and say, "It's a living," after the roof caves in.
Before purchasing a house, Tom Hanks and Shelley Long, be sure to consider my words of wisdom:
1. Water is your mortal enemy.
If water doesn't pour in from the side of your house, it will froth up from below, or seep down from above. Water doesn't sustain life, it destroys it, and it will destroy yours if you think you can somehow stop it.
The best bet? Move to California where there is no water, or open a public pool in your home and charge admission to get in. Ka-ching!
2. Everyone has an idea about why your roof sucks. None of them is right.
Why does my roof suck? It's ice damming. Or maybe it's old. Or maybe it's the ventilation. Or maybe it's the drainage spouts. Or maybe it's the sun. Or maybe it's climate change. Or maybe I'm radiating too much heat from my giant head.
In fact, it might be all or none of these things, but it doesn't stop people from offering their concern and two cents, delivered with the smug certainty of someone who can only be talking out of his or her arse. Bonus points if the person expresses grave concern about possible damage to a "load-bearing wall."
3. Something is always broken.
After you purchase your house, do this simple experiment: paint your entire house. Now, take a step back to admire your work. While you do, the fence will fall down.
4. Before you buy, look in your next-door-neighbor-to-be's yard.
If there are kids smoking meth on the neighbors' front porch during the day, things will really get going at night. Then again, if sleep isn't important to you, you might get a really sweet deal on the price.
5. You can actually pay it off much more quickly than you think.
It's not all bad news, homey.
My real-estate agent once said, "Save $1 a day, and at the end of the year, put that $365 on your mortgage." I did what he said and, thanks to the miracle of compounding interest, it's almost paid off - about 14 years before it was supposed to be.
With my debt nearly paid off, I'm looking forward to retiring early and concentrating on fixing my house full time.