Great decision, but is it informed? There is much more to buying and owning a home than a simple ‘it’s time to buy’ decision – that is unless you happen to have so much disposable income that you don’t need to even think about the financial obligations. Do you?
Let’s break this down into manageable sections, Financial, and Labor. If you’ve been renting, you know about financial obligation concerning making monthly rent payments, your utilities bills etc. You probably haven’t had much hands on experience in the labor department though, and it is a large part of owning your own home.
Financial – a list of miscellaneous expenses associated with owning and maintaining your home:
- Mortgage – Principal and Interest (PI) Usually quite a bit more that your rent payment, this is only a portion of your total mortgage the rest is taxes and insurance, combined it is known as PITI.
- Property taxes
- Homeowners Insurance
- Utilities, including electric, gas (oil, coal, wood), water, sewer, refuge pickup, telephone – these are just the necessities.
- Additional Utilities – cable TV, Internet connection, security service, and such possibilities as landscaping, pool cleaning the list goes on and on.
- General Maintenance and upkeep, including painting, replacing worn out fixtures, etc.
- Tools needed to maintain home – tool kit including, hammer, screwdrivers, pliers. Garden tools – lawn mower, edger, trimmer, ladder. Just to name a few.
- Repairs – differs from general maintenance and upkeep, this is when the dishwasher, or the hot water heater actually stop working, usually causing considerable mess in the process. Or broken windows, damage from natural phenomenon such as earthquakes and floods.
- Home improvement – adding that extra bath, or the pool you’ve always dreamed of are often quite a drain on your bottom line.
This is the perfect time to set up a budget!
Labor – The hands on manual portion of buying your home and maintaining it afterward.
- Yard maintenance, including mowing, gardening, pruning trees and bushes, weed removal, leaf removal, and snow removal, etc.
- Exterior maintenance, including, painting and associated preparation for painting, cleaning gutters, cleaning and maintaining decks and walk ways, fence repair, cleaning siding, moss and mold removal, weather proofing, etc.
- Interior maintenance, general cleaning (it will probably be larger than your apartment), replacement/repair of leaking faucets, windows, doors, carpet and floor cleaning and care. Painting, replacement of electrical fixtures, sockets and switches, up keep on heating and cooling system, including filter changes, duct cleaning and insulating.
- Unexpected repairs, including water damage, appliance replacement, fire or smoke damage, weather damage, even the fist through the wall needs to be repaired (most likely the fist and the wall)
The task is not as daunting as it seems, and is in fact very rewarding. Now you have the information, and the resources to make an informed decision to buy a home.