Carol-Ann Palmieri & Al Mussi's Blog
When you budget to buy a home, you sit down, do the math, and try to estimate what all of your monthly costs will be. There are so many monthly costs that come with being a homeowner that can make the whole process complicated. Sure, you have taken the standard costs into account like home insurance, property taxes, and even utilities. But there are a few out-of-the-box costs that you’ll need to consider for your house hunt.
Flood Or Other Natural Disaster Insurance
Natural disasters are costly and devastating. Many homeowners who live in areas that are affected by natural disasters like floods and earthquakes often opt for additional coverage for their homes. Premiums for earthquake and flood insurance often end up being very high. As a natural disaster strikes, these premiums can go up even more. If you live in one of the high-risk areas for natural disasters, you’ll want to check with your insurance agent ahead of time to plan for the additional costs that these special kinds of insurance will incur.
Water Costs During A Drought
There are many areas across the US that suffer drought conditions from time to time. Your water bill can skyrocket during these times. It’s best to continue conserving water and watch your bill closely in order to try and save some costs. There’s not a whole lot you can do otherwise to control your bill. You’ll need to stay prepared with some extra cash on hand in case of these emergencies and know that costs can rise due to different environmental conditions.
Tax Hikes And Special Assessments
As a homeowner, you’ll need to prepare for different kinds of assessments and tax increases. If your condominium complex needs significant repairs then you’ll probably end up paying an assessment to help offset the costs. This is what comes with belonging to a homeowner’s association.
You can’t prevent that the town is building a brand new school that requires a tax increase, nor can you prevent roof damage on one of the buildings in your complex. Financially, this is a hidden cost of homeownership that you should be prepared for.
Unexpected Maintenance Costs And Home Furnishings
Once you move into a home, you’ll need to prepare for the unexpected. The dishwasher may need to be replaced. The roof may need repair. The walls may need some paint.
When you buy a home you may also need a bunch of things to furnish the home. These could include dishes, pots and pans, sofas, beds, and more. You don’t want to leave your new home completely empty! You also don’t want to be without vital appliances like an oven or a sink for too long if they are outdated or in disrepair. This is why it’s a good idea to have extra money on hand to deal with any of these costs.
The best rule of thumb to follow when buying a home is to always be prepared with a but of extra cash on hand to avoid major issues down the road.
If you've ever experienced the frustration of paying more than necessary for home repairs, remodeling, or upgrades, you're not alone! Most of us have done it at one time or another, and it's not a pleasant feeling!
The good news is that if you make up your mind to do a little research, ask questions, request a free quote, and get two or three estimates, then you probably won't have to repeat the same mistake. Unless it's a dire emergency, it's always better to take your time in choosing a contractor or repair technician for a home project.
While it may be a little more time consuming to get recommendations, compare prices, and talk to several contractors, it's well worth it -- both in terms of monetary savings and peace of mind. Since the typical homeowner incurs many expenses, every year, to maintain their plumbing, electricity, roof, floors, HVAC system, landscaping, appliances, and much more, the amount of money you can save from comparing estimates and researching contractors can really add up!
The ideal scenario for hiring a home contractor is to get a recommendation from a trusted friend, family member, or neighbor. That doesn't necessarily guarantee that you'll be getting the best value for your dollar, but it's a darn good starting point! Online reviews of contractors can also be helpful, but sometimes they lack the detail and credibility that's essential to a meaningful recommendation. No review is complete unless it says whether the customer would hire the contractor again and if they (the customer) would recommend them to family and friends.
Since no one's perfect, it's also helpful to know what the contractor could have done better. A lot of times people will say something like, "I was satisfied with the end result, but the project took a lot longer than expected and the contractor always showed up late." Asking questions, comparing prices, and asking for references are among the ways to increase the likelihood that you'll be satisfied with the contractor you choose and the quality of work they provide.
Depending on the scope of the project and its estimated cost, you may also want to check whether the contractors you're considering are accredited with the Better Business Bureau and if anyone has filed a complaint against them. Being accredited does not mean that the BBB endorses the business, but it does indicate that the business does meet certain standards and that they have agreed to make a good faith effort to resolve consumer complaints. In order to be accredited by the BBB, businesses need to submit an application, meet accreditation standards, and pay a fee. To keep their designation, they must maintain at least a "B" rating with the Bureau and continue to comply with its standards of professionalism, honesty, and customer responsiveness.