10 Signs You Should Rethink Buying a House

10 Signs That You Should Rethink Buying a House

Purchasing a home is one of the most important, and expensive, decisions you will ever make. So, it should be one that you carefully consider before placing any offers or putting money down on a house. If you skip inspections or rush into a decision, issues below the surface could quickly turn your dream home into a money pit. If you see any of these 10 signs before closing, you should probably rethink buying a house.

10 Signs You Should Rethink Buying a House

1. It’s a bad location.

If you live in a larger city like me, there are probably some very beautiful, older homes at great prices. However, they are in the usually in the older parts of the city that have high crime rates now. Although the home may be perfect in every other way, you can’t change the location. So, if it’s in a bad part of town or too far from work, school, stores, and restaurants, it may be better to keep looking for something more convenient that fits the bill.

2. There aren’t enough bedrooms.

Although you can expand closets and add storage space, it probably isn’t in your budget to add extra rooms to a home. If you choose to build additions, it can become very costly with the permits, contractors, and inflated cost of building materials. Therefore, you should rule out any homes that don’t have enough bedrooms.

Carefully consider how much space you will need for guests, a home office, and kids, especially if your family plans on growing. By limiting your search to houses with enough space, you can eliminate options that are too small instead of trying to condense your life into a house that doesn’t meet your needs.

3. Every room needs work.

If you have the skills to do some of your own renovations, it could save you a lot of money. And, it could get you into a home that would otherwise be above your budget.

However, if every room is a project, it may not be worth the time or effort. Depending on the extent of the work, repairs usually come with a hefty bill. Furthermore, it would mean living in a construction zone for several months, or longer. Fixer-uppers are a great opportunity for people who flip houses, but not for a family that needs something that is move-in ready.

4. It has problems with the foundation.

There is no way around this one; homes that have foundation issues will require a big-ticket fix. Each estimate and situation will vary, but it will likely cost thousands of additional dollars in repairs.

But for those who are willing to tackle the issue, it may leave room for negotiation. If you decide to proceed with an offer, make sure to leave room in your budget for the necessary repairs alongside the down payment and closing costs. And, it never hurts to leave a little extra in case there are further unpleasant surprises.

5. The doors are difficult to close.

Houses shift and settle as they age, so it’s normal to have an interior door that sticks or rubs. But, it shouldn’t be every door or become an obstacle when moving around your home.

When you have doors that won’t budge or don’t align properly in the frame, it could be a sign that the walls or floors are uneven. If it indicates that there are structural issues, then you may want to rethink buying a house and move on to the next listing.

6. The house smells.

There are several reasons why homes have odors. For example, if the previous owners were smokers, had pets, or experienced water damage, it would explain the source of strong odors. However, it also means you will have to remove the offending carpet, drywall, or subflooring.

The worst-case scenario is that the smell indicates a mold problem. Not only is this expensive to treat, but it can also be very damaging to your health.

7. It lacks curb appeal.

When you see a yard that is overgrown or landscaping in disrepair, it gives you a clear sense of how a property has been maintained. Although not true in every case, it usually means that in addition to all the updates and renovations to the interior of the house, you will have the added expense for the outside areas as well. Unless the interior is immaculate or you have an unlimited budget, it’s better to find a home that offers some curb appeal.

8. The owners won’t agree to an inspection.

Anytime someone doesn’t agree to an inspection before the sale, it’s a huge red flag. No matter what they tell you, it is standard procedure to have a professional assess the home and advise on any current or potential issues with the house.

So if they won’t let you see certain parts of the house or agree to an inspection, it’s a good sign they are hiding something. And if the owners aren’t forthcoming with the condition of the house, you never know what other details they may be withholding.

9. The house has had too many or too few owners.

When I’m looking at homes, I like to know the history of the house. If the current owner or realtor doesn’t know, you can check with your city government to find sales records and see how many owners it has had. This information can also give you some insights into the condition and upkeep of the property.

If it has changed hands several times, there is probably a good reason they wanted to get rid of it. But on the other side of the coin, if the same person has lived there for decades, it may not be up to current safety codes and require expensive updates. This is just one more reason why inspections are a crucial step in the buying process.

10. It seems too good to be true.

As the old adage goes, if something seems too good to be true, then it probably is. Dream homes don’t come at a discount.

It’s hard to find deals, especially under the current market conditions. So if a home is priced too low, there are other factors affecting the listing. Do your homework so you know what you are buying. And never skip the inspection. But if every option still breaks your budget, it may be wise to rethink buying a house and postpone your purchase until better opportunities come along.

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The 5 Worst Types of Jobs for Your Relationship

The Worst Types of Jobs for Your Relationship

 

Stress is a factor in any job. However, some careers are much more demanding and interfere with personal commitments. Even if you love what you do, an imbalance in your work and personal life could take a toll on your relationships. In the past, my husband and I both held demanding positions that required travel and long hours. So, there were times we became completely absorbed in our work and ignored the needs of our relationship. Luckily, we made some lifestyle and career changes before they consumed the relationship. Unfortunately, this isn’t always possible. Based on statistics compiled by LendingTree, these are the 5 worst types of jobs for your relationship.

 

The 5 Worst Types of Jobs for Your Relationship

 

Utilizing statistical data compiled by the U.S. Census Bureau American Community Survey, LendingTree put together a list of the job fields that have the highest divorce rates. According to their analysis, here are the 5 worst types of jobs for your relationship.

1. Military

A military position comes with inherent risks and stress for both service members and their families. Many are fully aware of the life they are choosing. But, it doesn’t make it easier to cope with these difficulties.

First of all, there is constant danger, and you never really know where they are or what life-threatening situations they may face. Then, you have the deployments and long tours of duty that can take people away from their loved ones for months or even years. Unfortunately, you have no choice but to continue on with life while they are away.

Don’t forget that reassignments also cause people to uproot and move frequently. It’s stressful for service men and women to pack up their lives and leave friends and family behind. The strain of finding new housing and coordinating the moves can be overwhelming. But, it’s even harder when spouses are on deployment or kids are involved.

Some people feel the benefits are worth the added stress. However, others feel differently, especially since newly enlisted personnel make around $20,000 a year. Not every relationship is strong enough to withstand these stressors which is why 3.09% of military marriages end in divorce.

2. Health Care

When you are dealing with matters of life, death, and people’s health, there’s no doubt that your job will be incredibly stressful at times. However, people often forget the long hours of studying and training it requires. And then, there is the financial pressure and accruing student loan debt as you complete your education.

For most people, the high salary eventually offsets the time and energy invested. But, health care is changing since the entire medical field has been turned upside down with the pandemic. In particular, the nursing staff has been hit hard with new demands. Staffing shortages have left many departments and hospitals shorthanded. This translates to longer hours and a heavier patient load, which adds more stress. Many healthcare providers are experiencing high levels of burnout and are choosing to leave the profession altogether.

According to divorce statistics, it is also one of the worst types of jobs for your relationship. There is a divorce rate of 2.65% for people in health care support.

3. Food Prep and Service

The food service industry is fast-paced and exciting, but it can also have grueling time demands. There are odd hours for several different positions including split shifts, nights, and weekends. This makes it hard to have a social life since it doesn’t coincide with the average work schedule.

Furthermore, food prep and service come with inconsistent wages. When you have a full house, you can earn hundreds of dollars in a single shift. But when things are slow, you may be scraping by to hit minimum wage. And, many people don’t understand that there is a loophole in the food service industry that allows employers to pay much less. Although the federal minimum wage is $7.25 an hour, where I live, servers make a base pay of $2.13 an hour since they expect you to make up the difference can through tips. And, many restaurants also require staff to share tips with kitchen staff.

This can lead to financial struggles and additional strain on your relationship. Between the fluctuating hours and wages, it’s no wonder that people in the food prep and service industry experience a divorce rate of 2.49%.

4. Extraction

Extraction workers are those who work in the oil, gas, and mining industries. These jobs are very labor-intensive, but people who are willing to work hard and travel are well compensated. While this is good for your financial status, it can negatively affect your relationship status.

Similar to those in the military service, extraction workers often travel far from home and spend long periods away from their families and spouses. Those they left behind must continue to deal with the daily demands of their lives and families. There has also been less job security as job layoffs sweep across the industry. These uncertainties are an additional layer of stress and a large factor in the 2.47% divorce rate among extraction workers.

5. Protective Services

Those who work in protective services share many of the potential risks and dangers as those on active military duty. Although they are closer to home, they can still find themselves in dangerous or life-threatening situations. They often have to work long or overnight shifts as well. With that in mind, you can see how police officers, security guards, and firefighters have stressful jobs that can compound issues at home.

Salary can also be an issue since the median income for security guards is around $30,000. For some families, it becomes too much to bear. Therefore, workers within the field of protective services experience a divorce rate of 2.15%

Balancing the Demands of Your Job and Relationship

 

While these jobs report the highest divorce rate, that doesn’t mean your relationship will fail if you choose one of these careers. You can still have a happy and healthy relationship. But like all things worth having, it will take work.

    • Be aware of the stress factors and the toll it takes on your partner. Your job may be stressful, but sometimes it can be even worse for your partner. They have no control over the situation and usually have to adapt to your schedule. Be aware of the toll and strain it can add to your relationship.
    • Make time for each other. Be intentional about how you spend time together. Don’t answer work-related emails and texts at these times. Be present with your partner, and turn off the background noise of daily life for a few hours to be together.
    • Prioritize your relationship. Many people say their spouse is the most important person in their lives, but their actions speak otherwise. In addition to making time for each other, you also need to follow through with your promises and commitments. If you continue to neglect your partner’s and relationship’s needs, there may be nothing left to save.

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What Is the Cost to Change Your Name?

What Is the Cost to Change Your Name?

What Is the Cost to Change Your Name?

When we got married last year, I faced a dilemma that more and more women are calling into question. Although in the past it was normal for a married woman to take her husband’s last name, it has become a more contentious issue in recent years. Since I didn’t marry until later in life, I have felt more hesitant to give up my maiden name. In addition to the time and hassle to go through the whole process, there are some fees associated with it as well. As I wrestled with this decision for a few weeks, I decided to start by figuring out exactly how much it would cost to change your name.

The Hesitancy to Make the Change

After 35 years, I have grown quite attached to my maiden name. Since it is unique, it creates a strong familial bond and an easily identifiable way to recognize more distant relatives. And after losing my dad this year, I have an even greater attachment to my name.

In addition to all my personal feelings, there is also a professional cost to change your name. Over the years, I have published many things under my maiden name and made several important business contacts.  A part of me feels that giving up my last name is also giving up an important piece of my identity.

The Logistics to Change Your Name

Despite my conflicting emotions on the subject, I decided to go on a fact-finding mission to find out what it would take to formally change my name.

Luckily, I had made a list of all the things that required me to update my contact information from my last move. So, I had a good idea of how many places I would need to call to change my name as well. However, I knew it would not be nearly as simple as changing my address or phone number. Each organization and financial institution is different and will have its own process you need to follow.

Checking the List

Making a to-do list always makes large tasks seem more manageable. So, I reviewed which legal, financial, and personal accounts I would need to change. All in all, there were about 25 documents and accounts that would need to be updated:

  • driver’s license
  • Social Security card
  • passport
  • Foreign Residency card
  • W2s and tax documents
  • banking and investment accounts
  • credit cards
  • digital wallet
  • health and car insurance
  • car titles
  • phone plan
  • memberships and subscriptions

Starting with the Easy Ones

Once I made a few initial phone calls and went online to see what would need to be done, I started by tackling the easy one. Fortunately, many of my accounts would allow me to do it online. All they needed was a digital copy of our marriage license and my new ID to update the accounts.

And much to my surprise, a new ID was relatively easy to get. I just needed to schedule an appointment online with the DMV and bring a certified copy of the marriage license with me. All it would take is about 15 minutes and a $16 fee to get it changed. The process was about the same to change your name with the Social Security office as well. However, they take care of it free of charge.

Saving the Worst for Last

Unfortunately, some of the more important documents and financial accounts require you to jump through more hoops.

The most time-consuming ones would be my financial accounts. Each bank requires you to visit a branch in person to make the change with a banker. For security purposes, they wanted to make photocopies of your ID and marriage license, and get your signature on the paperwork. Although my credit card would let me do it by mail, they would also require me to send a certified copy of the marriage license along with the photocopies.

The final piece would be to change my passport. Since they have recently changed the process, you can now renew online. So, I went online to find the forms to change my name on my passport. You can complete it online for about $60 and then wait for them to send it in the mail.

Tallying Up the Cost to Change Your Name

When I tallied up the final cost for the documents and fees to update my information, here’s what it came to:

  • marriage license – $25
  • 3 certified copies – $27
  • ceremony with the justice of the peace – $150
  • driver’s license – $16
  • passport – $60

The grand total to change my name after marriage was $278.  However, it costs more money if you decide to legally change your name for any other reason. This will require you to file a petition through the local court and publish it in the local newspaper for four consecutive weeks. Both these actions come with additional costs.

The Final Decision

From the onset, I had my doubts about giving up my name because I felt like I would be giving up a piece of myself. In addition, it is a huge time commitment to make all the necessary phone calls and in-person visits to change your name. And grieving the loss of my dad made it even harder.

However, my husband made a good point that I wasn’t losing my identity, just evolving. Sharing a surname would create a sense of cohesion within the new family and life we are trying to build together.

So in the end, we compromised by hyphenating my name. Although I plan to continue using my maiden name professionally, I’m okay using just his socially After a year of being married, I finally made the formal change. Now, I am waiting for the last of the documents and confirmations to be sent by mail before I can mark the task complete. I feel like it’s the best of both worlds and I am at peace with the decision.

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