Here's a bit of balance for you after that rental horror story. Astoundingly, today's "home buying isn't always a walk in the park" story comes to you courtesy of the Seattle Times (but not E. Rhodes of course).
Katherine and Robert McCartney thought they'd found the perfect first home in a 1,400-square-foot 1950s rambler in Boise, Idaho, a few years back. They thought they were getting a deal.Which is one of the many reasons that stretching your budget to buy a home is never a good idea. You never know what will come up, and you are pretty much guaranteed that there will be something that you didn't expect. The "rule" that you shouldn't spend more than 30% of your gross income on housing wasn't just pulled out of thin air. If you don't leave a financial buffer in your budget, you're setting yourself up for problems down the road.
They actually were getting in way over their heads.
A few months after they bought the house, the couple had to move to Washington for work. But before they put the house on the market again, they spent thousands of dollars on a new roof, garbage disposal, paint job, window screens and sand for the oil furnace.
In the process of buying and reselling quickly, they discovered one of the cardinal rules of homeownership: That cool condo or cozy craftsman likely will cost thousands more than you paid for it, most notably for maintenance and repairs, furniture and fixtures — expenses that buyers should plan on but don't.
Home ownership is great, and I'm all for people buying houses—as long as they can actually afford to. There's more to "affording" a house than the simple [INCOME] > [MONTHLY PAYMENT] equation.
(Heather Rae Darval, Seattle Times, 10.28.2006)