This post is brought to you and contributed by Abby Locker.
It’s no secret that buying a house is expensive. There’s a great deal of financial responsibility that falls on the buyer including a down payment, home inspection, insurance, appraisals, closing costs and other miscellaneous fees. Even if you’ve managed to budget for and can afford all of the above, it pales in comparison to the financial responsibility you’ll have as a property owner. Here are some of the costs of owning a home most people don’t think about until after they’ve moved in:
To live in a modern society you need the bare necessities which include clean water, heat, and energy. These services cannot be avoided and will cost you a few hundred dollars each month.
Your plumbing system is responsible for transporting clean water into your home and removing waste. Periodically, you’ll need to have your pipes inspected or replaced, your septic tank flushed, or other parts of your plumbing serviced to ensure it continues to work efficiently. There will also come a time when you having plumbing emergencies. A burst pipe or serious clog will have to be fixed by a plumber.
Households have become increasingly dependent upon energy to power electronic devices. Your electrical system needs to be maintained and kept up to code. Electricians may need to be called to deal with power outages, shortages, damaged wires, outdated systems, electrical installations, and more. They can also be useful for energy audits to help sustain the efficiency of your home.
No matter where you live, pests find a way to enter the home. You may be able to take care of the occasional ant or spider, but if you’re dealing with mice, roaches, bed bugs, or other difficult pests, you need to hire a professional. And every region is different– a company offering pest control in San Diego will provide different services than an exterminator in Miami.
Living in a home that is warm in the winter and cool in the summer is ideal for everyone. This means maintaining your HVAC system. You’ll need to have vents cleaned, filters changed, hoses replaced, and other minor tasks done to your heater, furnace, and air conditioner to keep them running efficiently. After several years you’ll also need to cover the cost of major repairs and appliance replacements.
Here’s a home maintenance job that a lot of homeowners forget until they’re dealing with a major disaster – the roof. Your roof is supposed to last several decades, however, it can only be done with regular maintenance. Roofers need to be hired periodically to clean the gutters, inspect the roof, repair damage, and replace missing materials. This all helps to prevent leaks, mold, water damage, and structural damage to the house.
The things in your home may work efficiently now, but they require maintenance and eventually, will need to be repaired. From your refrigerator and stove to your washer and dryer, you’ll need to hire repair experts to maintain the appliances you use most often around the house.
How to Cover it All
As you can see, there’s a lot more to owning a home than the initial purchasing costs. You’ll also be responsible for the maintenance and upkeep of the property and systems within. Failure to do so could result in the deterioration of your home and significant health issues for you and those who live with you. So, how does one cover all of these expenses? Here are a few suggestions:
Buy what you can afford – Before signing on the dotted line, get an average of how much these expenses will cost you over the course of a year. If it is more than 30% of your annual income, chances are you can’t afford the home.
Keep up with maintenance – Though maintenance services are still going to dip into your household budget, they’re a lot less expensive than paying for emergencies or repairs. Try to find contractors who offer annual contracts for additional savings, or consider learning how to do some of the maintenance jobs on your own.
Create a budget – Now that you’re a homeowner, managing your finances is imperative. If you don’t have one already, create a household budget. It can help you stay on top of your finances so that you have additional funds to set aside for household maintenance and repairs.
Rainy day fund – It is recommended that you have a savings account that has between $1,000 and 3 months worth of expenses in it. This can save you in the event that there is a household emergency you can’t afford.
Becoming a homeowner is rewarding, but it is not without its fair share of responsibilities. You are financially responsible for making sure the home remains safe, efficient, and comfortable for you and all who reside with you. This means covering the costs listed above. Before signing on that dotted line to accept such a significant role, be sure that you’ve prepared yourself for these costs so that your biggest purchasing decision doesn’t become your biggest financial mistake.