Buying a home has recently gotten much more difficult and expensive. Buyers' expenses are rising rapidly due to the extraordinary lengths folks have to go to nab a home. They’re having to offer above asking price and waive contingencies and home inspections.
Once you shopped around and have settled on a place, had your offer accepted, and made your purchase, there will be regular monthly expenses. However, there will also be some unexpected costs.
As a homeowner, repairs and maintenance are up to you, and you must plan ahead to be as prepared and in control as possible. It’s a good idea to shop around, build an emergency fund, and compare home insurance quotes.
Don’t Take Risky Shortcuts When Making Your Offer
With the current competitive housing market, some buyers are offering above asking price, waiving contingencies, and even skipping home inspections. Of course, these are all financially risky moves at any time, but especially so for first-time home buyers.
Owning a home can be the achievement of a big goal in life and often the single biggest expense most of us will make. However, having your offer accepted and finally closing on a home can be just the beginning of what can be an exciting new adventure or a very stressful endeavor.
If you are preparing to make a home purchase, especially a first home, you will need to have a plan beyond simply completing the purchase. Knowing what to expect as a new homeowner is an important step in your financial planning and will help you be better prepared to enjoy homeownership.
What follows will detail some considerations and expenses a first-time homeowner may encounter but not consider ahead of time. Of course, much depends on the type of home and its geographic location. You can expect different surprises between a rural and urban location or a condo and a single-detached home.
Know About All New Recurring Expenses
What follows will detail some considerations and expenses a first-time homeowner may encounter but not consider ahead of time. Of course, much depends on the type of home and its geographic location. You can expect different surprises between a rural and urban area or a condo and a single-detached home.
For instance, you may need flood insurance, private trash collection, yard maintenance, or even private road or access maintenance. Private road maintenance can be very expensive. You will also want to check any easements that might be involved. Be sure you have a clear understanding of your obligations before closing on your home.
Special Considerations for a Rural Property
If your new home is in a rural area or outside city or town limits, you may have the added consideration of a private septic system or a well.
A private well will need testing, and depending on the results, it may need regular water treatment. This can vary by area and by the required service.
A private septic system will be something to consider carefully, especially if you are not familiar with these systems. Septic systems are quite serviceable and allow people to enjoy living in otherwise inaccessible areas. However, these systems do require regular professional servicing. For example, a septic tank needs to be serviced (emptied) every two to three years.
Failure to do regular servicing on a septic system may result in a nasty surprise in the form of an overflowing system or a backup. Replacing a septic field or tank can easily be several thousand dollars or more. Instead, have the system professionally inspected and maintained at the cost of a few hundred dollars every couple of years.
Moving Into Your New Home
Failing to do routine service on home systems can result in expenses that add up quickly. You also need to know that the systems in your new home are in good condition before they become your problem. So don’t skip the home inspection.
After you’ve closed on your new home, you will need to prepare before your moving day. Remember to change your address, move your utilities, disconnect your old accounts, and establish accounts for the new house. You’ll also want to make arrangements for internet and cable or phone service if you need these services.
You’ll also need to decide whether to hire a moving company or handle the move yourself. Again, having a checklist will help. Then, before the big day, you can sort through and pack your belongings.
Give away or sell things you no longer need. List stuff online or have a yard sale. If you're in a hurry or just don’t want to fool with a yard sale, call around locally. There’s an excellent chance you can donate to a charity or community organization that will pick all your discards up, and you might even get a tax deduction.
When transporting everything to your new home, you will need to accommodate for costs such as renting or hiring a moving truck and possibly getting multiple vehicles transported to your destination. Make sure that you have all the proper documentation in case you get pulled over.
If you have a yard at your new place, you may decide to do the yard work yourself. Gardening can be very rewarding and relaxing and give you a sense of accomplishment. It’s also an excellent way to stay in shape and get a physical workout. You can also save money when you grow some vegetables and herbs.
Settling Into Your New Place
Doing these recurring chores yourself will require you a relatively significant one-time investment in tools and supplies. However, after acquiring essential tools, you can enjoy gardening and keeping your yard for years. If you are interested in learning more about gardening, check with your local agricultural extension agent for local information.
You may be able to find classes on yard maintenance, gardening, or routine home repairs at a local hardware store or your nearby community college.
After you have been in your new home for a while, you will probably decide to make some changes. For example, you may choose to do some painting, change out curtains or light fixtures, or buy some new furnishings.
Years ago, I wanted to change out the furnishings in our den and refurbish our home. With small children and a budget, money was limited. I opted to enroll in an upholstery class at a local community college and discovered that I enjoyed not only the new look but learning to do it myself was rewarding.
If you would rather purchase new pieces for your home, you can check out places to buy furniture. Online sites sometimes run special promotions, and there are local online resale markets. Also, try shopping estate sales, thrift stores, clearance sales, or local garage sales. Use your imagination and watch videos and TV shows to get inspiration.
Owning a home of your own can be an enriching experience. So enjoy your new adventure. Just know what to expect.
Teresa Johnson writes and researches for the insurance comparison site, ExpertInsuranceReviews.com. She has been a homeowner and follows housing trends locally and nationally as a housing expert.