Friday, February 26, 2016

The Unexpected Costs of Buying a Home

I'm a first time home buyer. Well, almost. And I thought I was pretty prepared for the process. But let me tell you, it costs SO much. Even more than expected.  Here are some costs that I didn't know about (and that you, possibly, also don't know about):

- You have to prepay an entire year of insurance at closing. Thousands of dollars. You also then have to put a couple additional months into an escrow account in order to start socking away money for the following year's pre-payment. So in total, you are paying for 14-15 months of insurance all at once.

- You also have to prepay a couple months of property taxes for the same reason.  I think it's so you don't get a big bill all at once the following year.  You start paying it in advance instead and the mortgage company holds it for you in an escrow account.  But that means you really get kicked in the teeth at closing.

- All the inspections cost more than you think they will. Everything is so expensive. Expect, even on a cheap house, to spend $6-8K in inspection/title/misc fees for closing.  And if everything isn't perfect, you may need to have them come back for a re-inspection.

- Since you wait, wait, wait and then need to send checks ASAP to arrive the next day, or you need to wire money to arrive immediately, you end up paying money in wire transfer and overnight mail fees. I've spent probably a couple hundred dollars just on fed-ex and wire fees.

- If, like in my case, it's an investment property, everything costs more. Inspections and insurance included, in addition to a higher interest rate.

All this means I'm probably out almost 5K more than I thought I would be. Thank god I had a healthy savings account, but I'm feeling poorer right now than I have in years. I want to get someone in there renting ASAP and start building my reserves back up as quickly as possible. I just keep reminding myself it's a long term investment, not anything that will yield fruit in the next year or two.  I think buying is a great investment, but one that has a steep cost of entry, even steeper than many first time buyers expect.

Sunday, February 14, 2016


Has anyone else ever noticed how much easier it is to run other people's lives that to run your own? When friends or family ask for advice, I generally have pretty strong feelings on what the right path is. And yet, when it's time for me to make a decision about anything, I'm completely wracked with doubt. 

For instance, restaurant menus. I will sit there and go back and forth over what to order for 10 minutes, before generally getting the same thing I always get. Or I'll pick at the wording of an email until it bleeds. My latest indecision is house based. I am thisclose to finally closing on a house, god willing and the creek don't rise, but it is really bringing my decision making skills (or lack thereof) to the forefront. I have to buy appliances. Hard. I have to buy a cart for the kitchen. Surprisingly hard, though after polling about 10 people I think I finally settled on one.  Now I have to pick the paint color for the outside of the house and, oh boy, that is not easy. 

I mocked up a bunch of options (did everyone know that you can fake paint a house at the Sherman-Williams site? Because I didn't) and sent them out to be voted on, but everyone likes a different one. There are two I'm kind of leaning towards, but they have gotten the fewest votes. So I am in a fog of indecision, as per usual. 

I think I need to find someone to run my life for me, while I'm busy running other people's. That should work well.

Until I manage that, what do people think? Blue, green, dark blue, white, or yellow?

Friday, February 5, 2016

Ranking Accents

I can be shallow.  I like a guy with brains, kindness, a sense of humor...and who is tall, handsome, and has a nice voice and accent.  And while I like a lot of different accents, there are definitely some that can make me cringe, too.  There are some accents I love and some that instantly take a guy from a 7 to a 4.  I'm sure not everyone will agree with me - like everything else related to hotness, it's all pretty subjective - but here is my personal list, ranked best to no thanks.

Scottish - I am sure this is because I just visited Scotland, but Scottish accents are super hot. Think Gerard Butler in 'P.S. I Love You' or Ewan McGregor in 'A Life Less Ordinary.' If they were only 10 years younger or I was only 10 years older and a model...

Ewan McGregor, basically the prototype hot Scottish guy.

Middle Class British - Ok, I know there's a bunch of different "English" accents but I can't really distinguish them particularly well. But the standard British that a bunch of actors have is very nice. Very, very nice. I'm assuming it's middle class-ish since it's not quite as posh as how Prince William and co speak.

Australian - My first exposure to Australian accents was as a young, impressionable exchange student (in Europe, not Australia), and I briefly dated an Australian boy while I was there. Since then I have loved the accent. I think this may be because of how absolutely fun and energetic most Australian guys seem to be.
I mean...
Another guy who just elevated his accent.
Southern United States - I do love a nice southern accent. Not a hillbilly accent, because I also love proper grammar and people who say 'ain't' irritate me no matter where they're from, but a nice polite southern drawl. THIS particular accent may have originally endeared itself to me after watching Brad Renfro in 'The Client' approximately a hundred times. May he rest in peace.
My childhood crush.
Not his real accent, but he sells it on Hart of Dixie.
Basic American - a nice, clean standard American accent I think is very nice. I have been informed by an Australian/British friend that people over the pond don't actually much like American accents, but I do, so there.  Though it does break my heart a little that British guys don't appreciate my accent as much as I appreciate theirs.

Upper class British - I'm thinking a Prince William-ish accent, which I assume is as upper class as it gets. It's just a little more proper and formal than the middle class one, which knocks it down a few spots, but it's still very nice to listen to.

Irish - This one was hard to place, since the voice is particularly important. I've heard some Irish accents that were musical and sexy, and others that somehow just weren't.  Still, I'm going to give the country the benefit of the doubt and drop them right in the middle of my accent list. The nice ones definitely jump up above the basic American.
An example of a fine Irish accent.
Miami - Ok, this is not an accent that is objectively hot. I don't even necessarily find it hot. But I'm from there and it sounds like home, and so I have a soft spot in my heart for it nonetheless. Basically, everyone sounds slightly Latin and slightly Valley Girl all at once, whether or not they speak Spanish.

Midwestern - I had an internal debate whether to bump this below the lower class British accent, but I decided to be patriotic and put it right above.  I'm not talking a straight up Fargo accent, but a much softer version that kind of veers towards the Canadian. We are definitely getting lower on the hotness scale at this point though.
Why yes, I associate Midwestern with the Packers.
Lower Class British - I guess that would be a Cockney accent. It is still nice, though again much like Irish it varies greatly. I've heard some that are very pleasant, like Michael Caine for example, but some are hillbilly-equivelant. 

Canadian - Midwestern sounding but without the appeal of actually being American (sorry). Though I have met many Canadians I like, I just am not into their accent.

Trinidad and Tobago- A very good friend is from here, which bumps the accent up since her family is basically my second family. On a guy though it doesn't really help his hotness though. It might not lower it, but at best it's hotness-neutral.

New York - I live here now and should therefore like the accent, but I don't. I just really don't. Despite that, I'm a little sad it's on its way out.

South African - This is vaguely British sounding, but less appealing. Also, since I hear it pretty rarely it usually just confuses me, and I end up trying to figure out if the speaker is a foreigner who learned British English or if they're a native speaker with a weird accent. Obviously it's the second of the two, but I just don't like it.
Cute guy. Meh accent.
Indian - Despite a very fun visit to India a few years ago, the accent really isn't my cup of tea. It may be too many years of call centers warping my perception, which is unfair, but it's an accent that does absolutely nothing for me and probably lowers a guy's attractiveness for me.  Strangely, I think women wear this accent better than men. On a guy it's just kind of blah.

Boston - This is not all that different from New York to me, but even worse.  It's just...I don't know. It sounds strident and kind of belligerently ignorant. Which people from Boston are not. I'm sure many of them are lovely, even the Patriots fans. They can't help where they're born. But this is not an accent that will ever have me ripping my clothes off.
Two famous Bostonians. Cute guys made less hot by their accents.

So? What do you all think? What accents do it for you? And, British guys, WHHHHYYYY don't you like American accents???