Did you know that nearly 45% of homeowners say they regret some part of the home buying process? While everyone possibly has some regret either during the home inspection, the choice of real estate buyer's agent, how much money they put down or how little they put down, the number one thing that most home buyers regret is not understanding how expensive maintenance, repairs, and other hidden costs of homeownership can be.
Remember, you no longer can call up your landlord when something breaks, gets damaged, or is ruined from general wear and tear. You are the sole owner of this property now and if you are furnace goes out, you lose your air-conditioning, you have a wiring or plumbing problem or the roof needs to be replaced, it's all on you in many home buyers just don't realize all of the costs and maintenance that go into homeownership.
Too many real estate agencies and brokerages tout that buying a home can be super easy and if you can afford a rental payment you can afford a mortgage, but it's not as simple as that. If you spend $2000 a month on a rental property it might seem like you can easily afford a $2000 mortgage. But so much more goes into homeownership costs than simply the mortgage itself. In addition to paying back the principal loan you'll need to add on interest, property taxes, homeowners insurance, and potentially mortgage insurance if you chose a loan that had a high loan-to-value ratio, meaning that the lender wants to ensure the property in case of default. Mortgage insurance alone can add an additional $50-$100 per month on to your bill. Taxes and insurance can add another $400-$800 making your $2000 mortgage payment now closer to $3000.
Also, if something breaks you can't simply call up the landlord or homeowner to replace or fix the issue, that's all on you now. And this is where a home inspection is so crucial. Homebuyers can accompany the inspector through the property getting a good idea of the longevity and integrity of all these different features and materials of the home. By understanding replacement costs, homebuyers can prepare themselves for a replacement down the line. For instance, if your home inspector says the furnace has about five more years on it and furnaces cost about $5000, homeowners can put away $1000 per year earmarked toward the furnace. By the time the furnace needs replacing, the homeowner should have enough money to cover the cost. And they can do that with any feature or fixture in the home. If a home inspector says the roof has about 10 years left and roofs cost about $10,000, homeowners can set aside $100 a month for the roof rather than financing it in 10 years. Of course, all of these replacement costs will add on to your monthly homeownership expenses so it's important to understand all of these costs rather than just jumping in blindly thinking you can afford a $2000 mortgage.
Homebuyers that can afford a $2000 a month rental payment should be looking more at a $1200 mortgage payment to give themselves some wiggle room and cushion for certain homeownership expenses. Plus, the lender should be upfront and honest about all the costs involved in buying a property from the closing costs to earnest money, appraisal fees and taxes and insurance. Homebuyers can choose to roll all of these fees into their mortgage payment, which will give them a better idea of their monthly budget.
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So, when looking at homes it's important to look at all the costs even costs that are not clear up front. By not maxing out your budget and leaving a little cushion for emergency reserves or unexpected funds, you'll be more prepared for home maintenance projects when they arise.