When purchasing your first home, you don’t want to ignore some of the expenses associated with being a homeowner. Some costs can easily be missed, so let’s review four expenses often overlooked.
You might have never considered property taxes, especially if you’ve only rented. But you probably don’t know that most landlords include this in your monthly rent to cover annual taxes. However, once you buy your property, paying taxes will be a new expense for you. Before you buy a home, it is wise to find out in advance what the property taxes will be.
Property tax information can usually be found on multiple listing services or MLS listings, but you can also go the county website and the tax assessor’s website. If you want to get an estimate of what your monthly mortgage payment would be with property taxes, take the annual amount and divide it by 12. Once you’ve divided by 12, then you’ll need to add that number to your monthly mortgage.
If you’ve had renters insurance, you may think you’re already familiar with this cost. However, ensuring a home is more expensive than insuring a two-bedroom apartment. Many factors (such as the age of the home) will determine your insurance premium. For example, the older the home, the older its electrical and plumbing systems. Also, if you live in a flood zone or earthquake zone, your premiums will probably be higher.
If you’ve never thought about how much your credit score affects your insurance premium, think again: Even after you’ve secured a homeowners insurance policy, the insurance company can run a spot check on your credit. These spot checks evaluate your risk, and the insurance company can raise your premium at any time.
Maintaining a home can be expensive, and sometimes there are unexpected costs such as the repair of an air conditioning unit. Just think about it. If you purchase a home in a warmer state like California, you’ll probably run your air conditioning unit continuously, increasing the likelihood of failure. However, something such as air conditioning failure is avoidable with periodic maintenance services for your heating, ventilation, and air conditioning unit, which will help keep your costs low.
Just remember that maintenance also pertains to the inside of the house, such as fixing any plumbing leaks, as well as the outside, such as addressing sewage problems. This is why you’ll want to have a rainy day savings account or invest in a good home warranty for unexpected maintenance costs.
Homeowners Association Fees
If you purchase a townhouse, condominium, or a house in a planned development, you’ll probably be subject to homeowners association fees. These fees aren’t optional and are paid either monthly or yearly to the designated association. Fees vary, but you could contact the association if you wanted to know in advance what your cost would be.
Just remember, when you buy your first home, there’ll be new expenses that you weren’t aware of as a renter.