“What are these home costs?!?” you scream to yourself as you start your life in your new home. You went through your budget with a fine tooth comb, making sure you could afford the mortgage payments. You negotiated the house price and got a good interest rate on the mortgage. You know what your local taxes will be and you home insurance costs. You thought you were set. Then the OTHER costs rear their heads. You quickly realize that owning a home isn’t all about being able to pay the mortgage.
There are a number of other costs you need to consider before you buy a house:
Your stuff doesn’t get to the new house on it’s own! Do you hire a moving company? Maybe you try moving yourself, you may still need rent a truck. And how about packing materials? There are ways to cut down on box costs, such as checking out supermarkets for boxes, but you may still end up buying some. And don’t forget a tape gun and tape! Moving costs can easily cost you a couple of thousand depending on your situation.
Spackling and Painting
If you are fortunate, your new place will be all done up and have all the picture holes spackled and the rooms freshly painted. But many homes will still have minor dings here and there that need repair and fresh paint doesn’t mean you like the color. We all know its easier to paint when there’s no furniture in the room. So do you repair and re-paint? Do you hire people or do it yourself? DIY will still cost you and depending on how much work needs to be done your costs can easily rise.
Carpeting – Clean or Buy New?
Your new home may have nice wall-to-wall carpeting but when was the last time it was cleaned? Perhaps its not quite the color you want or its showing some wear and tear. You can go cheap with carpeting but sometimes you get what you pay for and this is your home.
Wood floors look beautiful! Were yours re-finished recently? Or will you need to sand and re-finish some of them? Again, ore costs in hiring people or renting equipment to do it yourself.
You are going to want to hire a locksmith to change all of the locks in your new home. There’s no telling how many copies of keys are out there already!
Make sure you understand what the various energy costs are before you buy. Check with the local utility companies for estimated costs for both winter and summer.
Will you be getting an alarm? Will it be a monthly service? Here’s another cost that could be recurring monthly.
Gardening and Landscape Architecture
How much lawn do you have? How about shrubs and gardens? Can you handle the work? Will you need to buy or rent equipment, such as a mower? What does it cost to hire someone to handle the landscape? The previous owner may be able to give you an idea of the costs as well as refer you to the company they used. Find out if there are local ordinances about grass height and what you are allowed to grow as well as water usage for your lawn. [A recent realtor told me that young couples want more grass while older ones generally want more concrete. I can see why!]
Will these services cost more than where you previously lived? Will you need any new equipment? Will you have it in more rooms in the new home (such as more cable boxes)?
Odds are you are moving to a bigger home. Do you have the furniture you need (for example are you moving from and eat in kitchen to a home with a formal dining room)? You don’t have to buy this all at once but you may be tempted to fill in empty spaces.
Do you have all of the appliances you need? Perhaps some need upgrading?
Are you moving somewhere that you will need another car for? Is public transportation or walking out of the question now? Think about your location and your needs when you are looking to move and figure out if you will need another car. If you do, remember you will also need additional car insurance and you will have more maintenance costs as well.
I don’t mean to scare you with all of these items, but they do need to be considered before you buy a new house. These may not all apply to you but you can see how quickly costs can run up! When preparing your budget for a new home make sure you take into consideration all of the other costs you may incur.