Buying a Home – Budgeting for More than Just the Purchase Price

row of colourful housesIf you’re like most people, you’ve crunched all the numbers regarding your new home – closing costs like lawyer’s fees, inspection fees, taxes, utilities and realtor fees. Don’t make the mistake of thinking of only short-term costs, though. When you buy a home, you’ll have to budget for more than just closing costs.

Here are a few of the things to keep in mind as you search for your dream home:

Pest Control:

Just because there are no pests around when you buy the property doesn’t mean you’ll never experience a problem. Rodents, ants, and even skunks can invade your home, both inside and out. You’ll need to budget for a quality pest control service to get rid of the problem quickly. Make sure you have a list of companies in your local area for a quick response – for example, if you live in Kansas City, you’ll want the services of a Kansas City pest control company; same goes for Seattle, Atlanta, etc.

Pool/Deck Maintenance:

If you’re buying property with a pool, or you have plans to install one, there are going to be maintenance costs to consider. Regular cleaning, chemicals to keep the pH levels consistent, and opening/closing processes each season. Decide on whether there’s room in your budget to hire someone to do this for you, or whether you’ll need to do it yourself. If you’re going the do-it-yourself route, carve out at least a few hours each week during the summer to ensure you get the most enjoyment out of your pool. Not maintaining your pool properly can lead to serious health consequences for swimmers.

Furnace Maintenance/Repair:

No matter how well your furnace has been maintained, once it reaches the age of 10-12 years, it is time to consider replacing it with a more energy efficient model. Make sure there is room in your budget for a new furnace and for maintenance costs each month for things like filters, small repairs, etc.

Roof:

Your roof is one of the most important elements of your home, and even the smallest leak can have major consequences if not taken care of promptly. This means you’re going to have to check at least once a year for signs of leaking (in your attic, basement, and second-story rooms). As with your furnace, once your roof reaches the age of 10-12 years, it may be time to think about replacing it.

Windows:

Depending on what type of windows, frames, and sills you have (wood vs. vinyl), maintenance costs will vary. You may need to paint the sills every few years, and if they’re wood, they may have to be replaced after 15-20 years. Again, make sure there’s room in your budget for upkeep, including professional cleaning, particularly on any second-story windows.

Landscaping/Gardens:

Many people think that landscaping is done only for aesthetics, but there are many other benefits as well. When your home looks and feels welcoming, you’ll love coming home at the end of the day to an oasis that allows you to relax and enjoy. Imagine barbecuing for your friends and family amidst a beautifully tended garden, and chatting with your family over a nice family meal (even if those meals together are only once a week!) Eating, relaxing and entertaining outside surrounded by peaceful gardens is good for the soul!

This list isn’t meant to deter you from buying a home. The fact is, owning your own home is a dream-come-true for most people, and it’s a wise goal to aspire to. Knowing and being prepared for what’s ahead can save you time, energy and most of all, money in the long run.

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