I have been brimming with excitement at the thought of being completely debt free house and all. This was going to be everything I dreamed and more. I’d walk in the yard and it would feel amazing knowing that I own every blade of grass. I’ll be able to save TONS of money obviously because my homeownership bills will be SUPER low!
I’ll be silent for a minute while you hold your laughter.
I’ve always used impound accounts through my mortgage company to pay property taxes and homeowners insurance. I have precisely zero clue how much these things cost because I’ve never seen a bill in the 14 years I’ve been a homeowner. Obviously, I expected these expenses, I’m not a complete moron (close but not complete). I guesstimated they’d be $400-$500/month. Based on what? Not a lick of evidence or research.
Not surprisingly, I was wrong. Like. REALLY wrong.
Texas doesn’t have income tax. Let me tell you friends, there is no such thing as a free lunch. They’ll get you somewhere. Everyone makes jokes about Californians being taxed to death but my property tax was 1%. Wanna know what it is in the great state of Texas? 2.2% plus additional assessments and fees. Yup, more than twice my Cali price.
But wait! There’s more! There weren’t a whole lot of chances for natural disasters in my neck of the San Diego woods. I wasn’t near a wildland area so wildfires were a very low probability. There are no weather events to speak of either. Well, occasionally, you may get sunburned. AND, I lived a mile from emergency services and a fire station. Earthquake coverage is a separate policy and most folks don’t have it because it’s unaffordable so we all cross our fingers and hope ‘the big one’ doesn’t hit. Homeowners insurance was cheap. Really cheap. In Texas? I had to drink a very large glass of wine after getting a quote. Turns out, Texas homes are suspectable to wind, hail, flooding, fire, freezing, and locusts. OK, not locusts but it seemed fitting since Texas has all the other plagues. My homeowners insurance? More than twice my Cali price.
You thought that was it? Oh no friends, there’s more. Yes, I’m beginning to sound like a crummy infomercial. We are buying in an HOA. I’m torn about this. I’ve never belonged to one but I’ve never been a fan…until I got some terrible neighbors in San Diego. Those few bad apples made the entire neighborhood look bad. But HOAs aren’t free.
So what does a debt free house cost? Over $1,000 a month. More than twice what I thought it would. I know it makes me sounds like a total whiner here but I am really surprised at that number. There is some good news though, it’s less than half what we were paying. Whew.
Beks is a full-time government employee who enjoys blogging late into the night after her four kids have gone to sleep. She’s been married to Chris, her college sweetheart, for 15 years. In 2017, after 3 long years working the Dave Ramsey Baby Steps, they paid off more than $70K and became debt free. When she’s not working or blogging, she’s exploring the great outdoors.