It’s happening again: suddenly my wife and I are finding ourselves spending time searching Zillow and looking at the pretty homes available in our area. Plus, unlike the last time we played this game, the amount of money we have available for a possible down payment is reaching a respectable (but not yet complete) level. But, at the same time, we’re very aware that there are plenty of other monthly expenses that go into owning a home beyond the mortgage itself that tend to make the dream of homeownership less desirable.
Most recently we were reminded of some of these fees after speaking with my mother who purchased a condo just a few months ago. This got me thinking perhaps it was time to revisit this topic and highlight a few expenses that can certainly hike up the monthly price you pay to own your home.
Homeowners association fees
These might not apply to everyone but, when they are in effect, they can be pretty steep. If you’re not familiar, many neighborhoods employ a homeowners association that requires owners in the area to pay dues. These dues are typically paid monthly, quarterly, or yearly and can cover things like community landscaping and various amenities. Of course the HOA will also have a set of rules meant to keep the neighborhood beautiful and quiet that all residents will need to obey. In other words, you may end up paying extra just to have someone tell you what to do.
Obviously the HOA fee will depend on several things, such as how many amenities the community offers. Additionally they are typically subject to go up over time. Because of this you’ll certainly want to not only know what HOA fees will apply before getting your heart set on a house but also understand all the association rules to ensure that your plans won’t run afoul of them.
While not all homeowners will be subjected to HOA fees, the vast majority will be required to have homeowners insurance — at least if you’re financing your house purchase. That’s likely why approximately 95% of those who own homes have a homeowners insurance policy.
In many cases, your mortgage lender will actually arrange it so that you can make your insurance payment with your mortgage. However you’ll still be responsible for choosing your insurance carrier and policy. And of course these premiums will raise the amount you pay each month to own your home, so you’ll definitely want to factor this expense in when setting your house buying budget.
Okay, depending on a great number of factors, you may not end up paying property taxes monthly. Some states may require you to pay them annually while others might be quarterly or twice yearly. However, like with homeowners insurance, some lenders may also enable you to pay off your property tax obligations via monthly payments and an escrow account. No matter how often you end up paying, this is yet another cost you’ll need to consider when house shopping.
After being once again reminded about these expenses and others, it’s easy to see why so many Millennials report regretting their house purchase. Additionally, with these costs in mind, it will probably be a while longer before my wife and I are ready to take the plunge into homeownership. That said, if you’re looking to purchase your first home or a new home in a different area, you’ll definitely want to research these three expenses and ensure that the house you’re eyeing still meets your budget.
This article was first published on Dyer News.