Your loan has funded, your closing costs have been paid and you’ve received the keys, marking the end of the home buying process. It’s official, you are a homeowner. Congratulations!
While home ownership comes with undeniable rewards, it also comes with newfound responsibility that often includes unexpected costs. Unlike the previous property you rented, lawn care, home maintenance, property taxes and homeowner’s insurance will now fall on you, the homeowner.
A common misconception is that your mortgage payment will cover the cost of your home each month, but that’s not the case. In fact, the mortgage payment is just one portion of your homeownership costs. A budget can help you determine exactly how much you should plan to spend on your home each month, and prevent a situation in which you are spending a majority of your income on your home.
Your budget should include the following expenses:
- Property taxes… If not included in the mortgage payment
- Home maintenance
- Emergency funds
Add all of the above together with your monthly mortgage payment to determine your true cost of living. Knowing this amount prior to purchasing a home will help alleviate stress and anxiety that comes with unexpected home maintenance. We’ll discuss how much you should budget for each of these costs below.
Ownership costs to plan for
Property tax is an annual tax based on the market value of your home. Depending on the loan program you chose when purchasing your home, the lender may require the establishment of an escrow account to pay your property tax bill. If so, the lender will then collect one-twelfth of the total amount each month, along with your mortgage payment, in order to pay the annual tax bill.
Should you choose to pay the property tax on your own, it would be wise to set aside one-twelfth of the total bill in a separate bank account every month. That way, you’ll have the funds readily available when the annual tax bill is due.
As a new homeowner, you will also be responsible for maintaining your house and yard, including repairing any damages as well as regular wear and tear. The average homeowner spends roughly 1.5 percent of their home value on maintenance per year. For example, if your house is $200,000, you might anticipate spending $3,000 on home maintenance annually. Because of this, it is also wise to deposit one-twelfth of this amount into a separate home maintenance fund every month.
Although we don’t often plan for them, emergencies are bound to happen. Creating a reserve of funds specifically for an emergency is critical and must be taken into account when developing a budget. If you were to get laid off or become too ill to work, would you have enough funds in savings to make at least three mortgage payments? Having a three month cushion will allow you the stress-free feeling of independence in the event you experience any life changes. This amount should equal three times your monthly salary.
Remember, your mortgage payment is not the only cost to consider when purchasing a home. Based on your chosen property, determine the right amount to save each month in order to cover your property tax, home maintenance and all bills for three months in case of an emergency. Although this can seem like a lot to take in, remember you now have equity in your home and gain more with each mortgage payment!
Author: Brandon De Young, President of De Young Mortgage