We know there are costs when it comes to the actual purchase of a home (down payment, closing costs, insurance, etc.), but what happens after? If you’re interested in buying a home, be sure to consider other costs of actually being a homeowner (along with your mortgage payment) when deciding if you can comfortably afford it or not.
For a place to be livable, you will also need water, electricity, and sewer. Unfortunately, while these are basic needs, they run additional costs. While looking at houses, ask the current owner or their real estate agent what a typical utility bill runs. If the house is on a well, although you won’t have a water bill, you will still need to know the average cost of water softener and other items to keep the water safe.
Appliances and Appliance Repair
Any adult will tell you how much they love their appliances because they truly make chores a little less terrible (washing dishes by hand = not fun). Appliances only last so long though, and you will eventually have to replace them (which is doubly sad because not only do you have to pay for it, but you also have to wash your dishes by hand until the new one arrives).
In this day and age, you are probably going to want (or need) wireless internet in your home. If you work from home and your company covers your Wi-Fi bills, this is one thing you can check off your list! If not, research average internet prices in your area. Make sure you get the connectivity speed you need. The cheapest MBPS might not be sufficient for streaming video or allowing multiple devices to connect at the same time. Usually you can find guidelines for choosing the correct speed on the internet provider’s website.
Cable or Streaming Services
Many people have started cord-cutting (getting rid of cable, satellite, etc.) and solely use streaming services to watch their favorite shows. Whether you still cling to cable to watch your live sports or are all about watching whatever you want, whenever you want, factor those costs into your monthly home ownership budget. If you have not yet gotten away from cable but are looking for an area where you can save money, switching to streaming services could be the perfect place. With a Smart TV or inexpensive hardware such as an Amazon Fire Stick, you can still find your favorite news channels, live sports, and more for a fraction of the cost of cable or satellite.
No one wants to pay to get rid of their trash, but it would be even worse to have it pile up at your house (or to be fined for dumping it illegally elsewhere). Trash services are usually pretty inexpensive in Franklin County – hovering around $70-$80 a quarter. Shop around at various providers to find the best price.
If you have any size or shape of lawn, you will incur some lawn care costs. Depending on the size of your lawn, these costs could simply be lawn mower purchase, maintenance, and fuel. If you purchase a home with a larger amount of land or you are very particular about your lawn, these costs may include landscaping services, garden upkeep, mulch replacement, winterizing, fertilization, aeration, and more. If you are purchasing a home with a lot of landscaping already, ask the current home owners for a ballpark of how much they typically spend on upkeep each season.
If there is one thing any homeowner will tell you, it’s that the unexpected always happens. Make sure you have enough wiggle room in your budget to save money for any emergencies.
Other Home Maintenance
There will always be things to fix and replace – water filters, light bulbs, HVAC filters, etc. – and small things will break every now and then. Cleaning supplies are probably already part of your monthly budget and as your space increases, so will the amount of things you need to clean.
While decor is an optional cost (just ask my husband), if you’re anything like me, it still needs to be added to the budget. If you know you won’t be able to stay away from decorating your home, add decor to the list of costs you will incur as part of home ownership. It’s better to be honest with yourself on what costs you will be covering than to not add any wiggle room into your budget and end up in credit card debt you struggle to get out of.
Ready to Buy a Home?
If all these home ownership costs and tales of appliances and decor seem like something you want to dive into, Patriot can help! Our friendly mortgage team is here to walk you through the home buying process, whether you’re a first time home-buyer who needs more guidance, or a seasoned real-estate purchaser who just wants the process to be quick and easy. Visit our website to learn more about our mortgage products and rates, find more tips for home buying, or to contact a lender today!