When you’ve gone from “I want to buy a house.” to backing your moving truck up in the driveway, it can be easy to think that the trickiest parts of becoming a homeowner are over. After all, you’ve got the keys at that point haven’t you?
But as it turns out, owning a house can be an awful lot like having a job in a highly specialized industry. You might have a general understanding of how it works from the outside looking in, but without real-world experience, it’s all theory.
And while many surprises around homeownership are of the “I never knew how much I needed more space for my home office.” variety, there are always a few situations that make homeowners want to say “I wish I’d known sooner.”.
If you’re buying a new house now or in the near future, here are four essential homeownership facts that you’ll want to know.
Fact #1: House and Home-Related Expenses Don’t Stop With the Mortgage
During the early phase, when you’re experimenting with those “How much mortgage can
I afford?” calculators, it’s easy to think of your costs as primarily wrapped up in your mortgage payments.
But when you become a homeowner, those monthly charges are only half the battle. You’re also responsible for the upkeep and maintenance of your property.
If the freezer gives out next week or the furnace suddenly calls it quits, the last thing you want is to be stuck with no means of securing the funds you need. That’s why it’s a good idea to build your emergency fund early.
Fact #2: A Strong Credit Score Can Save You Money
If your credit score is your financial rehearsal, your mortgage application is the performance that you’ve
been practicing for. A solid credit history and an equally attractive credit score can be the difference between an approval and a rejection for some lenders.
But here’s why your credit is such a big deal as far as your mortgage application is concerned:
Your credit score doesn’t just help you get your foot in the door with lenders. It can also affect your offered mortgage interest rate.
While you don’t necessarily always want to get the cheapest mortgage available
it never hurts to have options. That’s why it’s almost always worth your while to try and give your credit score a boost before you make a formal application.
Fact #3: Property Taxes Can Disrupt Your Budget if You’re Not Careful
If there’s one annual bill that can quickly turn a house from “I can comfortably
afford that.” to “This is stretching my budget.”, your property taxes would be it.
But the worst part about being charged annually is that it’s a cost that you don’t see coming until the day it hits your mailbox. Although your property tax isn’t exactly at the top of mind when you’re touring the property and gushing over the
walk-in closet space, it’s an expense that affects homeowners enough that in 2016, CNBC offered advice on how to lower property taxes
So here’s the bottom line:
When you have a sense of what the property taxes are like in your area, you can plan. All you have to do is put aside a small sum every month.
Fact #4: Take Your Time
When you’ve got a hot real estate market, an expiring lease, and a ton of other pressures pushing you to buy as soon as possible,
this one is probably easier said than done.
But the issue with rushing a home purchase is that it can open you up to serious risk. When you’re in a hurry, it’s all too easy to overlook a serious flaw in the house, overpay for the property you’re looking for, or otherwise miss your dream
home because you were skimming the listings at the speed of sound.
According to SmallBizGenius
home property searches last for an average of 10 weeks. But that’s just an average. When you’re buying a home, it’s important to understand that you could be in the real estate market for several months at a time.
Use These Facts to Simplify Your Home Purchase
From the mortgage application process to the property tax bill, there are a lot of elements to the
homebuying process that can take a person totally by surprise. We’ve just given you a list of four facts that every current and future homeowner needs to know. Are there other homeowning realities that you should ask your real estate agent about?