Home and Family

What Does Homeownership Cost You?

Becoming a homeowner is an exciting prospect that comes with big costs and even bigger benefits. By cutting down on the costs you pay towards your home, you can save money and make your home more livable and stress free. Here are a few of the things that will cost you money if you own a home.

Mortgage Payments

The most obvious expense all homeowners need to pay is their monthly mortgage payments. These payments are necessary, but it may surprise you how much of that monthly payment actually goes to pay for interest and not towards the principal you owe on your home. The best way to save money on your monthly mortgage payment is to put more money towards your principal every month. By scheduling an extra payment towards your principal, you can cut down on what you owe and avoid paying as much interest in the long run. Before making this step, make sure that your mortgage agreement does not include a fine for early pay off, as that would make the extra payments much less useful.

PMI

Sometimes investing in private mortgage insurance is a required part of your mortgage agreement, but this is a big expense that can be avoided. This requirement is generally made when a down payment of less than 20% of the mortgage is made. For some people, that large of a down payment simply isn’t possible, but if it is possible it can be a worthwhile investment that can save you money over time. Not only will it prevent you from needing to purchase mortgage insurance, it will also decrease your payments over time as less interest will accrue.

Homeowners Insurance

Paying for homeowners’ insurance is an essential part of being a homeowner. Even when you have paid a large down payment, it is still a good idea to have your home insured. The key is to insure your home for the right amount and make sure the things that are important to you are covered. There is no point in insuring more than you need, but you also don’t want to skimp on insurance that could save you in the case of an emergency.

Maintenance

Maintenance costs are a normal part of home ownership. By taking care of maintenance issues early, you can save money in the long run and keep your house in good condition. One common maintenance issue is roof problems. Investing in a high-quality roof is a big expense that is usually worth it. You may be tempted by less expensive options but paying more for roofing can be a good investment. When you own your own home, you’re your own landlord. It’s important to be a good one and put the maintenance of your home as a high priority.

Utilities

Utilities are another home owning expense that can catch you off guard, especially if you buy an older home with outdated or inefficient equipment. You can save money on utilities in the long run by doing things like purchasing an efficient water heater. You can even save money by just remembering to turn off the lights or water when you’re not using them. Even a purchase like new windows can go a long way towards making your home more efficient and decreasing your monthly utility costs. Often the utility companies will offer insight on how to increase efficiency and lower monthly payments in your area.

HOA

One of the most dreaded expenses that homeowners face is HOA costs. For many homeowners this isn’t an issue. But if you live within certain neighborhoods, HOA costs can be a part of your regular expenses. It’s important to consider those expenses when you are purchasing a house. They will be a continuing payment even after you own your home outright. If you decide to go for a property with an HOA, it is a good idea to take a look at what the HOA is doing and how the costs relate to the benefits. A great HOA can make your neighborhood something special, but a bad one can make life miserable.

Housing Taxes

One often forgotten expense of home ownership is housing taxes. Luckily these expenses are usually included in your monthly payment. You don’t have to remember to make an extra payment every month or once a year. However, from time to time the mortgage taxes that have been estimated by your mortgage company may be off. You may have to pay a little more at the end of the year. It’s a good idea to put a little money aside just in case so this extra expense won’t catch you off guard.

Yard Care

One surprising expense for homeowners can be the cost of yard care. For some, paying someone to take care of their yard is a great way to keep things looking great without having to invest too much effort. But for others, taking care of their yard is actually something they love doing. It is a good idea to find out what parts of yard care you enjoy and can easily handle and take care of those things yourself. That can save you money in the long run and help your home to feel more like your own.

One of the great advantages of having your own home is being able to make your yard totally your own. Try starting a garden or even just growing a few tomato plants to make your home a more enjoyable place to be. And the great thing about seeds is that they usually aren’t too expensive.

For most people, the benefits of home ownership far outweigh the costs. By understanding the costs, you can figure out how to best care for your home and manage expenses. Being a homeowner is a big responsibility, but it also comes with great rewards. Make the most out of your home by managing your costs effectively.

Read this next: How to Build a Stronger, Smarter Home

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