What is the True Cost of Home Ownership?
Most potential homeowners begin their planning with the down payment and monthly mortgage amount in mind. It's an excellent start but anyone who is planning on buying a home needs to be ready to take on the total costs and look beyond the mortgage payment.
If you want to effectively determine a home's affordability you also need to consider the following:
- Real Estate Taxes
- Home Owners' Association Fees
- Maintenance costs
- Electric Bill
- Gas or oil expense
- Trash removal charge
- Water & sewer bill
- Snow plowing costs
- Miscellaneous expenses
There is no obligation in most states for the seller to provide the costs of utilities to a potential home buyer (although the State of Hawaii has now made this mandatory in real estate transactions.) The responsibility falls to you or your buyer agent to request the utility costs and copies of the electric bills from the owner.
Maintenance costs will fall into the categories of ongoing and occasional.
Ongoing items include changing the filters in your heating system and air conditioning units, furnace maintenance, gutter cleaning, and chimney sweeping, recaulking your bathroom and blacktopping the driveway.
Occasional maintenance items are repainting, replacing the roof, recarpeting, replacing appliances, refinishing hardwood floors, repointing masonry work and an assortment of repairs that can crop up from time to time.
As a homeowner you should keep a running tally of all the items that you replace and maintain along with the cost of your heat and other utilities.
A smart buyer may very well ask for it.
Copyright 2010 "What is the True Cost of Home Ownership? "
Claudette Millette, Broker, Owner, The Buyers' Counsel - (508) 881-6230