Searching for Austin homes can be very exciting, especially for first-time home buyers. When you buy, the home is yours. You’re the landlord, the super, the head honcho. You get to decorate, you get to have a garden, and you could even tear down walls if you wanted (Note: we don’t recommend tearing anything down without professional help).
However, what many first-time home buyers fail to plan for are the other costs associated with being a homeowner in addition to mortgage, taxes and insurance. Without taking these “other” costs into consideration, it’s difficult to adequately plan for the the “true cost of home ownership.”
Some of the extra costs associated with owning a home that help home owners calculate the true cost of home ownership:
- House Repair and Maintenance – while house repair and maintenance may be limited to minor expenses such as a new coat of paint in the basement, it may also include major updates, which can cost thousands of dollars, such as a new furnace. As a general rule of thumb, expect to spend about 1% of the value of your home for basic maintenance and repairs every year. Savvy homeowners often set aside an additional 1% to help cover any major repairs that may come up.
- Remodeling – if you bought an older home, you may have to do some or major remodeling at some point in the near future. Remodeling costs can vary, but often are in the 10s of thousands of dollars.
- Utilities – a common mistake first-time home buyers make is to neglect to budget the difference between paying for heat and electricity for a small apartment and paying for these utilities in a 4-bedroom home, for example. People that may have been used to paying little each month suddenly find themselves on the hook for hundreds that they didn’t plan for.
- Appliances – it’s common that homes are sold with appliances included, but it’s not a guarantee. Numerous homes, especially short sales or foreclosures, usually don’t include them; or appliances may need to be replaced. Usually, the cost is well worth it to new homeowners. Nothing beats being able to wash and dry clothes in the comfort of home, especially for those used to lugging heavy loads of laundry to the laundromat.
- Furniture – it’s almost inevitable that some furniture will be needed for the new home, especially if you’re moving into a larger place. There are great places that offer deals on furniture. Take the time to shop and price out the items you need. But be careful. Quality on furniture can vary greatly. Do your homework before you purchase.
- Lawn Care – Whether you buy lawn-care equipment or elect to have someone else do it for you, lawn care is still an extra expense to take into account.
- Pest Control – Hopefully you’ll never need to hire pest control services, but it’s always best to plan for the worst and hope for the best.. Numerous house pests can require professional services (think mice, cockroaches, bedbugs, termites, carpenter ants, to name a few).It’s always a good idea to take this cost into consideration in order to get a good idea of the true costs of home ownership.
Although several of these costs are one-time expenses, every Austin home owner incurs them at some point. So, when you start your Austin real estate search, smart homeowners always calculate these costs into their total budget.