Buying a Home: Consider the Monthly Cost of Living

More Homeowner's Expenses to Consider

4. Ongoing Maintenance

Every three to five years, you'll probably want a fresh coat of paint; every ten years, you're probably going to need a new washer/dryer; every 20 years, you're probably going to need a new roof. Apartment buildings budget for this kind of thing, and it's part of their monthly charges. Homeowners should try to put away 2 to 3 percent of their purchase price per year for these kinds of expenses. Sometimes homebuyers (especially first-time homebuyers) can't find that money, but it's worth the effort. That budget might seem high for one year, when all you do is paint, but for the year you redo the kitchen or fix a sagging porch, you'll be glad to have the money.

5. Utilities, Including Heat

The easiest way to guess what your utility costs are going to be is to ask the previous owner to show you his bills. In an apartment building, find out what charges are paid for on a building level (often heat and hot water) and what charges you'll pay for as an individual owner (often cable and gas). Even if you don't see an individual bill, don't forget to conserve energy (see Resources below); it's good for the planet.

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6. Insurance

You'll probably get different kinds of insurance: title to protect you from a fraudulent sale; homeowner's to protect you against property damage (see Resources below), and maybe flood to protect you against heavy rains and leaks. The total cost will probably be a few hundred to a few thousand, depending on how fancy your property is. Don't forget to review your insurance coverage once or twice a year, as part of your financial check-up.

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Originally published on; republished with permission.

Copyright © 2012 Meredith Corporation.

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