Home buyers! You’ve officially started looking, you are excited about the process and you have a plan in place for your new mortgage. It’s an exciting thought to start building equity and be a part of the American dream. Cookouts and bbq’s, entertaining family and friends, and a space to finally call your own…everything coming together to begin the next chapter in your life. We want to keep you excited, and we want to keep you in the know when it comes to common home expenses for new buyers.
The Florida Realtors Association has reported average costs for expenses new home buyers spend on their newly purchased properties. Whether it’s in the first week or the first couple months, these are the items that are most likely to be replaced or added to a new home:
- Bedroom furnishings: $635.00
- Washer & Dyer: $575.00
- Window Covers: $215.00
- Computer System: $300.00
- Living Room Chairs & Tables: $687.00
- Sofas: $724.00
- Other Misc. Furnishings: $1,172.00
- Appliances: $1,704.00
- New Fencing: $270.00
- Dining Room Furniture & Kitchen Furniture: $345.00
- Outside Additions or Alterations: $2,106.00
- New Plumbing Fixtures: $150.00
- Lawnmowers & Yard Equipment: $515.00
- Other Misc. Upgrades or Repairs: $1,203.00
In addition to decking out your new pad, don’t let upcoming home maintenance be the one area you overlook. In general, you should plan to spend around 1-2% of your homes value in maintenance and upkeep. Even though the final percent may vary based on whether you are purchasing a condo or townhome vs a single family residence, keeping funds available for repairs can help alleviate the headache when you attempt a DIY or call a handyman. If you are using licensed contractors or a handyman during your inspections, you can always ask for estimates on routine jobs, especially for first year costs. Some of the most common maintenance requests from Zillow and Thumbtack ‘s study were house cleanings, yard care, gutter cleaning and pressure washing. Since prices do vary widely based on location and size of property, new neighbors can also be a wealth of information when it comes to referring local companies.
When you revisit your expenses annually, try to factor in any upcoming expensive projects. For instance, if your roof is 20 or 30 years old, or a deck that needs to be replaced every decade, include these in addition to your budgeted home maintenance. Large and expensive projects should not come as a surprise if you plan appropriately.
If you are mortgaging your new home, most likely your taxes and insurance will be included in your monthly payment, but that’s not usually the case with utilities. Electric and water bills can vary drastically based on your homes size and location. Try and find someone in the area that can give you a range when it comes to electric from the coolest to the hottest months. Make sure to adjust for square footage, and your ideal temperature. If you are using FPL, take a look at their budget billing and take advantage of their home energy surveys. Neighbors are again an invaluable resource when it comes to other monthly bills such lawn care, water bill estimates, local produce or farmers markets, and other local vendors.
Moving slightly into the future, shop your home insurance after a few years. Hardly ever do insurance rates adjust to a lower premium, even without a claim. Try to take advantage of bundling home and auto, or sharing quotes from other companies with your current provider. Even a slight reduction in your insurance premium can add up over time.
Being aware and staying on top of these common expenses, you may find that choosing a home priced comfortably under your maximum pre-approval amount may be the best route for you and your family. Keeping some extra cash in your pockets or account to cover additional or unforeseen expenses is a great strategy. And, as always, ask questions! Don’t hesitate to reach out to your loan officer or realtor throughout the entire home buyer process, especially regarding costs.