We have been homeowners for 1 1/2 years now and I'm learning all the time! Having rented since I was 17 years old (that's 19 years of renting!), I would have to say that it IS far better to have a home than rent. You look at things differently and you treat things differently because it is YOURS. No, it isn't necessarily "yours" until you pay the mortgage off but for this post, I will say "owning" a home. When you own your home, you have to fix things and that is new for us. We were so used to someone else taking care of all of that when we rented. I had no idea how much things cost or what goes in to maintaining a home and property.
We had a list of things that we needed to fix when we bought the home and well, we still have that list. I really hope we can get it all completed this summer and most of it done ourselves. However, there a few things we're not willing to kill our backs over, so we are going to pay for those to be done. This is things like pulling up entire hedges - I'm NOT a hedge/plant person! I like things very simple and clean and low-maintenance.
The other things we need fixed or replaced are things like: shower re-caulking, new sink faucet in master bathroom, door seals replaced, sliding door track fixed, holes in siding either patched or replaced, french drain installed on side of house that has standing water next to foundation when it rains, repairing patio concrete cracks, power-washing concrete walkways/patio, etc. You get the idea - a lot of things but not huge expenses, though the french drain might end up costing a bit. I really would love to do DIY posts on these as we go through our checklist and get them done.
When you plan on buying a home, don't just plan on money for the mortgage. Plan on money for insurance, property taxes, a home warranty (American Home Shield is best), maintenance and repairs and even saving for big-ticket expenses like a roof. If you plan for those things, you will find that owning a home is a joy, instead of a nightmare. Also, keep up on the maintenance and fix things as they happen. That way you never have a long list of things to do!
Our home value has gone up $25,000 in just 1 1/2 years! We already got a letter saying they have a buyer for our home if we want to sell. Our neighbor sold their house before they even listed it. The price of homes are some of the highest, if not the highest, they have ever been. One thing a lot of people don't think about when they buy a home, is when the value goes up, so does the property taxes. Ours have risen dramatically and we didn't plan for that, so make sure you consider that the property tax is variable from year-to-year.
To summarize, here is a list of what to consider when buying a home, besides the mortgage:
- Property Taxes - expect they will go up yearly
- Homeowner's Insurance
- Home Warranty - covers appliances, HVAC, plumbing, electric, etc.
- Maintenance costs
- Big-ticket Items Savings