3 Hidden Expenses to Consider When You Buy a House

Buying a home should be simple. Unfortunately, purchasing a residence can become complicated quickly, especially if you fail to consider the immediate and long-term costs associated with a house.

Ultimately, there are many hidden expenses that a homebuyer needs to consider before he or she purchases a house, including:

1. Utilities

Heating and cooling costs, water fees, electricity expenses and other utility bills may prove to be overwhelming if you’re not careful. Fortunately, if you learn about various utility costs now, you may be better equipped to keep your utility bills in check at your new residence.

Ask your real estate agent for information about a home seller’s utility bills. By doing so, you can get a better idea about how much your utilities may cost if you decide to purchase a particular residence.

Also, if you plan ahead for your utility bills, you can budget accordingly. Keep in mind that utilities are essential in any home. As such, you’ll need to account for these costs in addition to your monthly mortgage payments, regardless of the home you buy.

2. Commuting

If you’re moving to a new city or town, you’ll want to consider how your move may impact your daily commute to work, school or any other locations that you visit regularly.

Consider a home’s proximity to highways. If you move to a house that is located near a major highway, you may encounter heavy traffic at various points throughout the day, resulting in a lengthy commute.

Also, find out whether public transportation is available near your new home. In some instances, you may be able to take advantage of buses, trains and other public transportation options to get where you need to go without delay.

3. Home Upgrades

Although a home may appear to be a dream come true, there are problems beneath a house’s exterior that could bubble to the surface after you complete your purchase. Thus, you may want to put aside money for home upgrades that may be necessary in the near future.

For example, an older home may require a new hot water heater and furnace soon. And if you start saving for a new hot water heater and furnace today, you may be able to replace them before it’s too late.

A home inspector can help you identify home problems. This professional will conduct an in-depth review of a residence and provide honest feedback about any problems that could escalate quickly.

After a home inspection, you can always ask the home seller to perform the necessary repairs, or you can walk away from a home offer. On the other hand, you can keep your current home offer, move forward with your home purchase and complete the upgrades on your own.

When it comes to planning ahead for hidden home expenses, a real estate agent can point you in the right direction. Your real estate agent is happy to respond to your homebuying concerns and questions and will do everything possible to ensure you are fully satisfied with any residence you purchase.

Interest-Only Mortgage And What You Need to Know

When it comes to mortgages there is a lot to know and a lot of choices. One loan that was popular before the housing crisis was the interest-only loan.

An interest-only loan is an adjustable-rate loan with an initial fixed period when only interest is due. They are typically available in 5-, 7- or 10-year terms.

Economists blame interest-only loans for the foreclosure crisis citing they were issued too freely. Today, interest-only loans are more difficult to obtain. Borrowers were using interest-only loans to qualify for a more expensive home and when the interest-only term ended the payment went up leaving many homeowners unable to afford the mortgage payment.

Interest-only loans are now being used by wealthy borrowers as a financial tool to help them manage irregular cash flow, reap a tax benefit, or free up cash for investment elsewhere.

Lenders that offer interest-only loans have strict qualifying standards. They generally require 30 percent equity in a property, and a minimum FICO score of 720. Lenders also look at the ability to pay back the loan is based on the fully amortized payment, not the interest-only payment.

 

 

Pros of Owning a Single-Family Home

Are you beginning your house hunt as a first-time homebuyer or looking to buy a larger home that fits the needs of your family? No matter your situation, purchasing a home is a large investment and one that should be approached with caution and the use of your head, not your heart. There are multiple types of homes that one can purchase: condo, duplex, multi-family, single-family, etc. And one of those types will be the right fit for you. Let’s take a look at the pros of purchasing and owning a single-family home.

Space: Single-family homes provide more space­—more outdoor space, more indoor space, and more parking space. Of course, there are exceptions, but generally this is the case for single-family homes. Take advantage of this luxury of more space by entertaining and fully utilizing it all. Since apartments and condos are usually in complexes, personal space can be minimal, where shared space is generally larger. Decks and backyards (if any at all) are small so that each renter or homeowner has their own space. This also goes for the inside; square footage will be less in the types of properties listed above, especially if they are located in a city.

Privacy: Privacy is extremely important to many, and for good reason. With a single-family home you will have much more privacy than when owning other types of homes. Condos and duplexes share walls with other owners’ properties, which means your neighbors are always close by. You may hear them through the walls or be enjoying your separate deck spaces just feet apart. It may not sound like it’s all that terrible, but you never know who your neighbor will be; they could throw parties every night, vacuum at 4 am, or even have triplets that never stop crying.

No restrictions: Unless you are purchasing a historical home, there are likely no property restrictions. A single-family home gives you the opportunity to completely turn it into your own and do just about whatever you want on your land (check with your town before renovating/building additions). Condos can have multiple restrictions that include parking, outdoor work, and BBQs.

If the pros above sound like what you are interested in, then a single-family home may be the option for you. But be sure to research the market you are looking in to make sure that you can afford this type of home. If you are looking in a very desirable location with a smaller budget then this option may not work for you at this time. But fear not, continue saving and in the future you will be able to purchase that single-family home you’ve been dreaming of.

Choosing Your New Home

Buying a new home is a significant investment and it’s best to get it right the first time. To achieve this, it is important that you take into consideration lots of important factors before signing on the dotted line. Many people, in a state of euphoria and excitement hurry into making  decisions that they later regret. There are many important elements involved in purchasing a home that need serious consideration to avoid long term remorse.  Here are some important factors to consider when you are looking to purchase a home.

The Condition Of The home

The condition of the home you are buying is very important as it should be a true reflection of the purchase price. Here are a few specific issues you must keep an eye open for.

  • Start in the kitchen, make sure all appliances are functioning. Make sure the integrity of the kitchen cabinets are intact. Turn on the tap and leave it running for a few minutes to make sure there are no problems with the drainage system.
  • What is the capacity of the hot water system? Is it sufficient for the needs of the entire family? Check for leaks, rust and aging indicators. Be careful with this as repairing a hot water system is quite expensive.
  • Examine the walls carefully, were they recently painted? If so, do not be deceived, a fresh coat of paint could be masking existing cracks in the walls resulting in an investment of thousands of dollars to repair.
  • Tap the walls to perform a preliminary termite infestation check. You may need the services of a professional to do this for you.

Financial Requirements

After certifying that all is well with the home, you can then proceed to negotiations. Although this requires some skills, here are a few tips.

  • There is no harm in negotiating as much as possible, push as far as you can. Some individuals hire a negotiator for this, as cool as this may seem, it may not be the best idea as you are the only one who can effectively communicate your needs. It is recommended you do the negotiation yourself. You will be amazed at how much you can save.
  • Make sure you are familiar with the entire terms and conditions. What is the down payment? What is the payment plan? Are you comfortable with it, what is the interest rate? You must be familiar with all these factors before signing on the dotted line.

The History Of The House

  • It would be nice if you had a little insight into the history of the building. How do you go about this? Ask the neighbors, do your due diligence. Inquire about previous owners, ask about recent renovations, get a feel for the vibe in the neighborhood.  Get as much information as possible, in short learn the story of the house before making it your home.

In summary, there is a lot of joy and sense of fulfillment that is associated with buying a new home. In order to make this joy last, you have to get it right the first time, taking the aforementioned into consideration would help you achieve this.