Owning a own home may be something you’ve dreamed about for years. You’ve heard that it is better to own rather than rent because you’ll pay into an investment. You’ve pictured long, lazy summer nights spent on your front porch swing and having family over for holiday dinners and big life events.
However, what no one tells you is owning a home comes with its own set of challenges. While the reward is worth the effort, you should be aware of these things so you go into home ownership with eyes wide open. Here are nine to watch for.
While clearly you know you can no longer call the super to fix that garbage disposal, it is another matter when you’re faced with a garbage disposal that doesn’t work. A rule of thumb is to set aside approximately 1% annually of the purchase price of your home for repairs.
A $100,000 home would mean you need to set aside $1,000 per year to cover maintenance costs. However, you can drastically reduce these costs by learning how to fix things on your own without hiring repair people.
When you rent, you don’t have to pay real estate taxes, because you aren’t the owner of the property. However, when you purchase a home, you will suddenly find you have to pay annual property taxes.
The rates can vary widely from county to county, even within the same state, so pay attention to these numbers when choosing a home to purchase. Your property taxes may be figured into your mortgage payment and placed in escrow, or you may wind up paying them directly.
No longer can you come home, clean your one-bedroom apartment in an hour, and spend the weekend relaxing. Now, you’ll have an entire list of chores to complete.
Your house may be bigger than you apartment was. You also will now have yard work, outside maintenance and ongoing repairs. While this technically doesn’t cost you money, it does cost you time. Most homeowners find it is worth the trade off, but it is definitely something that needs to be factored into the decision to become a homeowner.
People sometimes purchase a home thinking it will give them the freedom to do whatever they’d like, from owning 15 dogs to raising chickens in the backyard. However, the reality is that you will be subject to city ordinances as well as any neighborhood covenants, and these will limit what you can and can’t do.
For example, some counties have a rule you can’t own more than three dogs at a time. While these rules vary from place to place, it pays to be aware of what they are for your area.
Smart home buyers pay for an inspection and usually receive word the heating/cooling unit is fine. When you hear this, you may expect it will last for 20 years or more, but some units only last 10 years, and they are costly to replace, running in the thousands. If you put off replacing and simply repair to keep the unit running, it can impact the rate of your energy bills and cost you more on a monthly basis.
When you live in an apartment, some things are covered that you’ll have to pay for on your own as a home owner. Some examples of utilities include:
Although these might seem like small bills, they do add up when you put them all together and should be factored into your decision as to whether or not you can afford home ownership.
Similarly, when you rent, the apartment tends to come with appliances, such as a refrigerator and stove. However, when you purchase a home, these items may or may not be included. Even if they are included, there is no guarantee they will continue to work.
On top of that, most apartments have a laundry facility, so you’ll likely need to buy a washer and dryer for your home. Altogether, you can expect to spend a minimum of a few thousand dollars.
In an apartment, you might have a run-in with mice or roaches. As disgusting as this is, you simply call your landlord and they send out the exterminator to deal with the issue. You typically aren’t charged for this unless it’s proven you caused the problem in the first place.
However, when you own a home and you notice mice have left some presents behind, you are responsible for paying an exterminator or buying traps. The costs of this can vary widely, but is yet another added expense you may not have expected.
When you rent, you simply insure your personal belongings within the apartment, which costs a minimal amount of money. However, when you own the home, you also have to insure the land and the structure and have liability insurance in case someone gets hurt on your property.
The average home owner insurance premium is $300 to $1,000 per year. However, those rates can increase if your home or belongings are worth more or you live in a disaster-prone area, such as one that suffers from flooding.
As you can see from just these 9 examples, the costs of owning a home can add up pretty quickly. It’s smart to study the various costs and make sure it is something you can truly afford. However, despite all these costs, there are also a lot of joys in owning your own home and paying toward something that belongs solely to you.