5 “Other” Costs First-Time Homebuyers Should Consider
Buying your first home is an extremely exciting time. No more worthless rent payments, and no more noisy neighbors overhead. Forget about trying to get your security deposit back, because that never happens. You can actually have peace and quiet while doing whatever you want.
There’s no doubt that going through the home-buying process the first time can be a bit stressful. You must mull over questions such as, “Can we actually afford this each month?” Or, “Are we making the right investment?” It can be difficult to determine how much home you can actually afford comfortably, especially when you must consider the other costs associated with buying a home: HOA fees, homeowners insurance, private mortgage insurance, and more. Your monthly mortgage rate might be low, but once these fees are incorporated, the cost can jump up. These are things that first-time homebuyers often don’t factor into the equation until late in the process — a common mistake.
There are other costs that first-time homebuyers also forget. Most of these costs occur after you have moved into the home, but if you haven’t budgeted for them you could run into some financial issues. Since you’ve been renting for a while, it can be hard to determine every item you’ll need now that you own a home. But, here are five expenses to budget for now that you will own your very own home.
Most apartments, compared to homes, aren’t that big. With a minimal amount of space, a small amount of furniture can fill the place up quickly. You might even have to rent a storage unit for the rest of your furniture — a cost you can most likely cut out once you own a home.
Your new home is probably much bigger than your recent apartment. Once you’ve moved all of your furniture into your home, you will probably notice that some areas seem a little desolate. You will most likely have a guest room that you will have to furnish as well.
New furniture is not something you have to buy right from the get-go, but it’s something you’re going to need. Why is this important? You just bought a home and money may be tight. This may cause you to buy furniture on credit or use credit cards to purchase your new furniture. Doing that could cause you to find yourself in a tight financial situation.
You have a yard! Your old yard was shared with hundreds of other residents and probably taken care of by the apartment staff. Now, you have a yard and it’s your responsibility. You can make it as beautiful as you want. The only problem is, you’ve never had to buy lawn equipment before.
You’re going to have to buy all of your essentials. This includes a reliable lawn mower, edger, weed trimmer, leaf blower, and more.
You might be thinking, “Why don’t I just hire a lawn service?” Well, you could. But when you think about things long-term, in most cases you’re going to pay a lot more in services than you would doing it yourself. Buying the equipment might seem like a lot on the front end, but overall it will help save you money.
I highly recommend investing in some tools for many reasons.
In an apartment, when something is broken, a maintenance worker will normally come fix it — or at least, they attempt to. Usually, the apartment management will not want you to touch any repair projects. So tools, who needs them?
Well, now that you own your own home, you will definitely need them. Doing your own “minor” repairs, (and I say minor because unless you know what you’re doing, it might be best to call a professional), can help you save money. If you were to call a professional for every little thing, you’re going to be paying a lot of money all the time. I highly recommend that you learn how to do your own minor repairs and invest in the tools that allow you to do so.
Just to put things into perspective, you can sometimes pay $100 just to have someone tell you what the problem is. And that’s just to tell you what’s wrong, nothing more. That’s not even the work that needs to be done. Sometimes it is a simple problem with a simple solution that you can do all on your own.
The fact is, things will go wrong with your home all the time, especially at the worst time. You can help your finances a lot if you can some repairs on your own. Hint, YouTube is a big help.
Having an emergency fund in savings is a MUST, now more than ever. The opportunities for an emergency increase tenfold now that you own a home.
What kind of emergency? Every kind of emergency. Sometimes you will think that your house is holding a grudge against you and just wants to see you and your bank account suffer. But that’s obviously not the case. I’m pretty sure that only happens in one of those horror movies where the house is alive or something.
Without an emergency fund, though, your bank account and credit could suffer severely. Putting a certain amount into your emergency fund each paycheck could be a lifesaver. You’ll be grateful to have those extra funds when the A/C unit breaks during the summer, your refrigerator goes out for no reason, or for when you’re cutting limbs and one hits your house, tearing up your roof and knocking out windows. (Yes, I’ve seen it happen; well, actually, I’ve done it. Long story.) That emergency fund is going to prevent you from having to use those credit cards you don’t want to touch, or to have to borrow money.
Start building that emergency fund. Trust me.
It’s this simple: There are extra costs or increased costs associated with homeownership.
Let’s look at some examples.
- Forget about the awesome cable/Internet you received through the apartment complex. Most have a bundle package you can use at a low monthly cost. You might get a great deal on the front end when you own your home, but eventually that deal will end.
- In many instances your electric bill will be higher each month — much higher. It doesn’t take much to heat up or cool down an apartment. But a house is a different story. Before you buy, find out how much the average electric bill was each month, just to be on the safe side.
- Protecting your home from pests, especially from termites, is a must. Using termite, pest control, and other services is also going to be a must-have expense. It’s better to pay a monthly fee than have major damages to repair.
These are just a few of the extra costs that you can expect, more than likely. Can you think of more?
This is Not to Scare You
This is not to meant deter you from buying your first home. It’s more to outline certain costs that you need to think about when going through the process.
Buying a home is a major investment and commitment, and it might not be right for your situation. Every cost of purchasing the home and beyond needs to be taken into consideration. You don’t want to find yourself in a situation where you’re way in over your head.
Good luck with buying your first home! If you need more help with the home-buying process, make sure to visit our Complete Mortgage and Home Buying Guide.
Originally published at www.savingthousands.com on February 17, 2016.