Buying a home is an exciting time and marks a new milestone in your life. However, buying a new home is also expensive – and not just the actual cost of buying it. There are many hidden expenses that you may have forgot to budget for when moving into your new home. Here are the main unexpected costs of owning a home and ways to save on them.
Lawn maintenance and landscape
That beautiful big yard was one of the features which drew you to buy your new home, but you forgot to consider how much it would cost to maintain it. Landscaping and lawn mowing services are expensive, and it is time consuming to do it yourself. Save money in the long run by hiring a landscape designer to come up with an eco-friendly, low-maintenance plan for your yard.
In addition to your lawn, there are many areas of your home which need to be maintained – like cleaning gutters, cleaning siding, shoveling the walkways, and changing furnace filters. You can save money by investing in equipment to perform maintenance yourself (power washes, gutter cleaners, etc.) and learning how to perform basic home maintenance yourself.
You might have chosen an older fix-it-upper home in order to save money, but older homes are going to cost more to insure. Save money on homeowners insurance by bundling insurance policies (car and home together) and by increasing your deductible.
When something broke in your apartment, you would call your landlord to fix it. Now, you are responsible for all repairs in the home. The best way to save money on repair costs is to practice preventative maintenance. Have a plumber come out to inspect your pipes and determine whether you are at risk of leaks (which can cost thousands in water damages) or broken sewer lines. Keep your air ducts clean. Replace your roof (and get a tax credit in the process). These steps do cost an initial investment but they will save you money by averting costly disasters.
If you thought that paying monthly rent was a burden, then you are going to hate property taxes! Remember that property taxes can increase, so you should include this possibility when budgeting for your new home. There are some ways you can reduce your property taxes. One way is to research what your neighbors’ homes were assessed at. You might find that their homes were assessed at lower values, even if they are larger or renovated. You can then use this information to get a reassessment and lower property taxes. You may also be able to get a break on your property taxes if you are a senior citizen or a veteran.
The typical American moves 12 times in his or her lifetime. So, it is unlikely that your first home is also going to be your last. You can reduce the likelihood that you will need to move by carefully choosing the location and assessing your future job prospects in the area. If you do need to move, then avoid sentiment and get rid of as much of your belongings as possible.