Money Matters: Financial Commitments Extend Beyond Price of Home

By Keith Loria

When you begin searching for a home, most prospective buyers go into the process with an idea regarding the price range they can afford, however, according to many real estate experts, people often forget to factor in all the costs involved.

In order to make sure you’ve accounted for everything, it’s important for buyers to make a list of all the expenses associated with purchasing a home and prepare themselves ahead of time for the money that is required once a new home is purchased.

When it comes to buying a house, there’s a lot more to worry about than just the price of the home. In addition to the mortgage and the interest that comes with it, buyers need to be ready for everything from taxes to insurance to the cost of maintaining the yard.

When preparing a list of financial commitments, you should always begin with taxes. Property taxes can add hundreds of dollars to your monthly mortgage payment and can increase depending on school and town budgets. A home is normally taxed on its assessed value, an amount equal to a fraction of its appraised value.

Homeowners insurance is another necessary item that can’t be overlooked. Buyers need to insure the value of the home against fire, theft and perhaps flood damage, which must be purchased separately. Be sure to take the time to shop around for the best price and remember that this cost can go up each year, especially if you file a claim.

Although private mortgage insurance isn’t something everyone has, more and more homebuyers are turning to this and need to factor this in to their monthly payments. If a homebuyer puts less than 20 percent down on a mortgage, they’ll need to pay PMI, which protects the lender against one defaulting on the loan. Again, you could be looking at hundreds of dollars each month.

For those moving from an apartment or a home they’ve been living in with their parents, things like water, gas, electricity and oil may not have been a concern, but when you move into a new house, you need to pay for all of these things, plus cable, phone and Internet service. It may be beneficial to ask the seller for their average monthly cost over the last year so you know how much you should be putting aside.

You may love a property because of its large yard and beautiful landscaping, but unless you have a green thumb and the time to dedicate to maintaining it, you’re going to need someone to come in and mow, weed and take care of those flowers and shrubs. The last thing you want is that picturesque outside looking like a jungle. Check with local yard contractors to see what a service like this will cost.

Also, don’t forget that you’re most likely going to want to make some changes or upgrades within the home, so be sure to make a list of all the projects you’re considering—such as adding new carpeting, drapes or appliances—and leave room in your budget for some of these costs each month.

You may need to adjust the cost of the home you’re looking to buy, but in the long run, it will make for a less stressful life once you move in.

To learn more about all the costs associated with buying a home, contact our office today.

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