You have been working on improving your credit and you are ready to apply for a mortgage so you can finally buy your dream house.
You are tired of throwing away money on rent when you can be building equity in a home.
This is not as simple as trading in rent for a mortgage payment.
While owning a home is considered a part of the American dream, in reality, it isn’t a good move for everyone.
Before you start home searching, consider these factors that come along with home ownership.
1. You break it. You fix it.
One of the many pleasures of being a renter is when the air conditioning breaks or the toilet stops working, you do not owe a dime.
Yes, you may have to wait longer for someone to come out and fix what is broken than if you owned the place, but landlords generally bear the burden of paying for repairs.
Some rental contracts may require renters to cover some things they break due to carelessness. For the most part, the landlord pays for things to get fixed.
Once you buy a home, you will be responsible for fixing everything that goes kaput, from old piping and your aging roof, to heating and cooling systems.
Home insurance covers damage from things like hail or theft but not basic aging and breaking.
2. Homeowners insurance
On that note, you have to consider the cost of home insurance.
While having renters insurance was optional, most lenders require you to have homeowners insurance. If you live in certain geographic areas, they can require that you also have floor or earthquake insurance.
The cost of your premium will vary depending on your home’s features (age, structure, etc.), location, your credit and your claims history.
You can lower your premium by adding protective devices, such as an alarm system or smoke detectors.
“Renters only worry
about the cost of rent.”
3. Property taxes
One of the other major expenses new homeowners encounter is property taxes, which are usually billed once per year.
Homeowners learn the nicer and more in demand the area, the higher the property taxes can be. They will rise as an area becomes more popular.
4. Homeowners associations
Nearly all neighborhoods or housing communities have a homeowners association, also known as an HOA, which regulates and enforces rules.
They also collect dues, either monthly or annually, that pay for upkeep of the area and any community amenities, such as gardens, swimming pools or parks.
As a renter, your rent already covers these costs. As an owner — especially if you are in a community with security guards at a gate or doormen — expect to pay some hefty HOA fees.
Photo source: marketplacehomes.com