One of the biggest changes in becoming a homeowner has to do with your monthly mortgage payment. When you are renting, you can write one check and be done with it, there are a lot of things that go into your monthly expenses when you’ve bought your own property.
You already know how your mortgage payment breaks down, but there are other monthly payments outside of what’s bundled up in your monthly mortgage bill. For example, you may be expected to pay homeowner’s association (HOA) dues. These are monthly fees that go towards maintaining amenities and the surrounding property of your home, and are usually associated with condos, though some homes are part of a homeowner’s association. These fees may be collected every month, every quarter, or once per year, depending on your HOA’s schedule.
Monthly utility costs are also something you’ll want to keep an eye on, as these aren’t rolled into your mortgage payment. Some of these payments may include gas, water, electric and trash removal, among other things. You can always ask the previous owners of your home what their utility expenditures were to help you budget for these monthly costs accordingly.
You may also want to consider setting aside money for maintenance needs, emergency or otherwise. Remember: you’re a homeowner now. So if something breaks or leaks or falls apart, the onus is on you to repair it. Of course, it’s not like you’re going to have a crystal ball to determine what might break down when, but it’s still smart to have a financial cushion to care for you just in case something falls apart. This is something you can make note of as you’re going through your appraisal and inspections, too, as these professionals are trained to seek out issues that surround your potential new home, and can warn you of any red flags.
Becoming a home owner is a big step, and one that can seem daunting when you’ve just made the leap from renter to owner. But with a little forward thinking and some healthy financial planning, you can be more than ready to take on the monthly financial responsibilities that come with having your own property.