PREPARING FOR THE HIDDEN COSTS OF HOME OWNERSHIP

Jake and Jane bought their dream house. It was a bit over their budget, but they couldn’t resist. It was exactly what they’ve always wanted. Before they purchased the home, they worked out how much their monthly mortgage payment would be. It was more than they used to pay for rent, but they thought if they budgeted carefully, they could manage the payments.

They moved in and everything was perfect. They loved their new house. Then the end of the month came, and with it came their bills. A little bit later they got a hefty property tax bill. This mean they were going to have to dip into their savings. Still they managed to make the payments. Then the furnace died. They needed a new one, so they took opened a line of credit.

Over the coming year, more unexpected costs piled up. Even though they loved their dream house, it was making them ‘house poor’ and costing them more than they expected. The morale of this story? Don’t be like Jake and Jane. Be prepared and budget for the hidden costs of home ownership!

Here are some of the most important to plan for:

BILLS

This is one cost that every homeowner is familiar with. When you budget for your new home, make sure you consider the costs associated with heating and air conditioning, home internet, phone, electricity and even sewage and garbage disposal. These are necessities and can add up to more than you’d think.

PROPERTY TAXES

Many financial institutions allow you to include your property taxes with your mortgage payment. This is a good way to go because it spreads the cost out over the year, so there’s less of an impact on your monthly budget compared to a lump sum.

HOME INSURANCE

Another mandatory cost that you can expect is home Insurance. You’ve just purchased your home, and now you’ve got to protect it.   With the purchase of home owner’s insurance you get peace of mind that if there’s a fire, theft or other insured peril.

MAINTENANCE

From mowing the lawn, to cleaning the house and eaves troughs, there will likely be a never-ending list of maintenance tasks and chores to be done around the house. Don’t forget to budget for these.

FURNITURE

You’ve just bought your new house but now you have to fill it up with furniture and make it a home. Furniture can be a big expense.

REPAIRS

This is a big one! It’s often a surprise expense when your roof begins to leak, or an essential appliance like your fridge breaks down. Repairs like these can put significant dent in your bank account and should be anticipated.

RENOVATIONS

As you’re living in your new home, you’ll likely notice room for improvement.. Maybe you want to upgrade the space for your own benefit, or perhaps you’re looking to increase the resale value of your home. Either way, renovations can be expensive.

PEST CONTROL

No one likes to talk about these uninvited guests, but it happens more often than you’d think. Whether it’s rodents, bed bugs, cockroaches or another unwanted critters, the cost can add up, both for getting rid of them and replacing stuff they damaged.

TIME

This is a cost that many people don’t think about but time is money. And when you buy a new home, trust us, you’ll put a lot of your personal time into fixing it up, DIY projects and day-to-day maintenance, so this should be factored in as well.

OK, I KNOW WHAT TO EXPECT BUT HOW DO I PREPARE?

The first step is to budget for these expenses from the beginning. When you purchase your home, figure out your monthly mortgage payment then add an amount to cover all the extra potential costs to give you a clearer picture of your monthly expenditure. This will help you from overextending yourself like Jake and Jane. Next, stick to a budget. It’s important in any household to establish a budget, so you’re not living beyond your means. And finally, create an emergency fund for those unpredictable surprises. It’s usually wise to keep a cash reserve large enough to cover at least three months of living expenses.

As always, we’re here to help. If you have questions or want to speak with a Northern financial advisor, you can reach them at our True North Hub.