How to create a budget in 5 easy steps
Does your income exceed your expenses? It’s important to know for sure.
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It’s important to remember that the costs of homeownership go beyond the monthly mortgage payments. It helps to plan for home upkeep expenses early on in the buying process. Depending on what kind of home you buy, the expenses you encounter may vary quite a bit.
To maintain the home itself, you’ll have a number of expenses to factor in. Depending on the type of exterior, your home may need painting, siding repair or masonry work.
You’ll need to look after the foundation too. Houses shift and settle after construction. Both old and new houses can have cracks.
For the roof, finding and correcting minor deterioration in its early stages can often prevent problems later on.
And don’t forget that drafty windows result in higher energy bills.
If you have a yard to care for, you’ll probably want to buy items to enhance and maintain the landscaping, such as plants and mulch, as well as lawnmowers and other tools.
Inside, you’ll want to check your furnace and air conditioner seasonally for proper functioning, and keep your kitchen appliances in good working order.
When it comes to utility bills, bear in mind that water, electricity, and gas costs will vary depending on where you live, the size of your home, and the season.
Other expenses include home furnishings, such as new furniture, beds, lamps, and window coverings.
Also, some neighborhood developments require homeowner association dues to help pay for common areas.
Finally, there’s a home insurance deductible to consider. Unexpected damages covered under your homeowner’s insurance often require an out-of-pocket expense.
So the bottom line is, remember to consider all the expenses you’re likely to incur when you estimate the total monthly cost of homeownership. The principal, interest, taxes, and insurance, as well as the home upkeep costs, are realistic expenses to take into account.