Wednesday, June 11, 2014

First Time Home Buyers Biggest Surprises

Buying your first home can be a huge step.  It is often the largest purchase a person will make in their life.  It should be a time of celebration.  Unfortunately, many people often have unexpected buyers remorse after purchasing their first home.  Here are some of the biggest surprises that first time home buyers experience.

1.  House Payment Shock

It seems many people, when buying their first home, fail to determine their final total mortgage payment.  Property taxes, insurance premiums, and association dues can all be factored into a final mortgage payment and this can throw many people for a loop.  Additionally, many people seem to have champagne tastes and a beer budget.  Figure out what you can afford monthly and look for appropriate houses within that range.

2.  Home Maintenance Costs

If you previously rented and had your utilities paid along with your rent, you may be in for a big shock once you are paying those utilities on your own.  If you happened to have bought an older home that is not very energy efficient, you're in for an even bigger whammy!  Electric, gas, water, sewer, heating costs, and garbage disposal add up.  You'll find yourself shelling out way more cash for those costs than you did when you were a renter.

In addition to utility costs, many forget the time and cost associated with simply maintaining your home.  Lawn mowers, rakes, shovels, snow blowers, furnace filters, water filters, light bulbs, cleaning supplies...the list could go on and on.  And if something breaks, there's no landlord to call to come and fix it.  You will foot the bill for every call to the plumber, the electrician, the HVAC guy and everyone in between.

3.  You Take The Good With The Bad

You think you've found the ideal neighborhood.  It's close to the park, it's got easy access to the highway, and all the houses around you are well maintained.  All good, right?  It doesn't take long for you to notice that the kids are at that park at 6:30 in the morning, the traffic noise from the nearby highway is deafening, not to mention all the road traffic in front of your house because it is a main thoroughfare to the highway, and all your neighbors seem to spend all their free time mowing or hammering something.  Welcome to life in a neighborhood.

4.  A Time Suck

Remember those days when you'd come home to your apartment, change into your workout clothes, go for a run, meet a friend out for dinner, then come home and veg in front of the TV watching fixer-upper house shows on HGTV?  Well, that fixer-upper you bought is now taking ALL of your spare time and money.  They make it look so easy and quick on TV but the reality is there can be months of work involved just to do one small project in your home, and that's if you have all the know-how to do it yourself.  Even if you hire it out, many times there will be scheduling delays or crooked contractors who won't complete the work.

But you didn't buy a fixer-upper you say?  Good for you.  But you think maybe you'd like to change the color of the paint in a few rooms, and there's that grass that keeps growing every week, and whoops, that latest storm ripped off all of your gutters and some of your shingles, and dang it, suddenly all your water is freezing cold.  Welcome to home ownership, my friend.

Source:  Michelle Schwake for Stafford Family Realtors

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