If you’re looking to purchase a home, you need to consider costs that go far beyond the sticker price you see online. Homeownership is much more complex than other transactions; you will incur initial costs and ongoing expenses that you need to plan for, costs that aren’t folded into your basic monthly mortgage payment.
See what your monthly expenses could be if you’re considering homeownership by reviewing the expenses below. Because these variables vary widely, leasing is a smart option for you if you’re the type of person who wants to be able to know exactly what they need to budget for each month. These costs are just a few examples of how home ownership can significantly reduce your flexibility, while increasing your risk.
Mortgage payment: An obvious, but important factor. Your mortgage payment is a function of how much cash you’ve put down on your house, your interest rate at the time you borrowed money, and how long your loan term is.
Utilities: Like most anywhere else, you need to pay your home gas, water and electricity. If you’re moving into a larger place, you may be surprised by the cost. You can always ask the seller of your home about an estimate, and when in doubt, over budget to account for seasonal changes.
Private mortgage insurance (PMI): 20% is often considered the standard, best practices down payment to aim for when you’re shopping for a house. However, this can be quite a hefty sum; if you put down less than 20%, your lender may require you to purchase PMI. This protects them in the event you default on your loan. The good news is that once you achieve 20% equity in your home, this requirement is usually removed.
Insurance: This is separate from your PMI. You’ll likely have a choice to pay your insurance monthly or annually. This insurance generally is a blanket cover for all the things you read about that you hope will never happen to you, such as theft, or storm damage. It’s a must.
Homeowners Association (HOA): Is your home in a gated community? Are you paying for landscaping, perhaps a community pool or other resources? HOA fees can add several hundred dollars to your monthly budget.
Miscellaneous monthly expenses: This bucket of expenses accounts for all the nitty gritty: security systems. Landscaping maintenance. Pool maintenance. Even things such as window cleaning. These
Are you surprised by any of these expenses? Did we leave any monthly, ongoing expenses off our checklist?