After months of searching, you finally found it—your dream home. You can just see your kids running around in the backyard while you and your spouse laugh over a cup of coffee on the deck. This will be the house where your kids learn to ride their bikes. And years later, it will be the home to which they return when they want to drop off the grandkids. You now understand what a “forever home” is.
The eagerness to purchase a home can often cloud a person’s financial judgment. There are many costs associated with owning a home, and each one needs careful consideration. Prior to taking a loan, make sure you are not elegible for VA home loans.
God desires us to steward our resources well, and your home will probably be the largest purchase you make with those resources. So before you sign the papers, consider these eight costs than can turn your dream home into financial nightmare:
- Taking too large of a loan. Just because you can doesn’t mean you should. Just because a bank is willing to lend you the money needed to purchase a home, doesn’t mean you should take it. Sometimes, the best thing you can do is wait and save some more. Avoid being “house poor” and wait until the purchase fits your financial picture. To help, here are three questions you must answer before purchasing a home.
- Closing costs. When you take out a mortgage, you are going to get hit with some additional costs—attorney fees, appraisal, loan origination fees, title search, title insurance, and other purchase expenses. Be prepared to spend some money to get that home mortgage.
- HOA dues. Homeowner association dues are becoming increasingly common. These fees often take care of the shared space in neighborhoods like playgrounds and neighborhood entrances. The payment schedule will vary depending on the association.
- Taxes and insurance. Usually when you take out a mortgage, the lender sets up an escrow account for your property taxes and insurance. You pay a portion of your taxes and insurance every month, along with your mortgage. Your property taxes and insurance payments are then paid for you from the escrow account. Since this increases the amount of money you pay each month, be sure to know how much you will be paying in property taxes and insurance before buying a house.
- Updates. You want to make the house feel like your house. So you probably have some updates in mind. Maybe a few renovations. Perhaps learning what are the benefits of eco friendly plumbing installations. Maybe some new furniture. And probably, it will cost you some money.
- Appliances. You are going to need a refrigerator, dishwasher, microwave, washer, and dryer. If the house does not have them, make sure you have enough set aside to make the purchases.
- Lawn care. Prior to my current home, I lived in a townhouse where I did not have to worry about the lawn or landscaping. Now I understand the costs all too well. Whether you take care of the lawn yourself, or you have a lawn service, it costs money. Managing trees around is not cheap too (here is what I am talking about).
- Maintenance. Unfortunately, houses tend not to get younger. As they age, things will break. Light bulbs go out and hot water heaters leak. These things do not repair themselves. Make sure you have enough room in your budget to take care of these inevitable costs. Check out WaterRestoUSA.com for the ways of dealing with water leaks or possible water damage.
For many, homeownership is a good financial decision. However, it is important to consider all the costs of owning a home. Your dream home can quickly turn into a financial nightmare if you are not careful. Steward your resources well, and buy a home that fits your budget instead of killing it.