Please come to our housewarming party because we can’t afford to go out for the next 30 years….
Establishing a budget is one of the first steps of home buying…but what happens when you go above and beyond the principal and interest? Buyers need to be aware of all costs associated with not only their monthly payment, but any additional monthly fees that may not be such a great surprise.
Home insurance can vary drastically from property to property. Some properties have features that can save you big bucks in the end like the age of the roof. Even though a licensed inspector will have the final say so, if the roof is newer it may be secured up to current code, you may have a longer lifespan and less immediate issues than a roof that has lived a full life. If you are checking out the property permits, take a look at any plumbing or electrical updates as these can also result in discounts. Hurricane shutters and impact resistant windows are a huge advantage to Florida homebuyers. Make sure your inspector documents these in his report so you can easily forward to your insurance company.
Florida is HOT so most households will constantly run the air-conditioner throughout the year. Because of the constant usage, an efficient a/c system is key. Make sure the unit is A) large enough for the under air square footage, B) is energy efficient, C) has good maintenance records (filters changed regularly, ducts cleaned and regularly serviced). The washer and dryer are also massive energy users. If they convey with the home and you are not replacing, take a look to see how old and efficient they are. You may want to replace them right away. Options for your home once you are settled in: energy efficient light bulbs, smart thermostats, and tinted windows or window treatments.
Some people love them, others hate them. Before you decide which stance to take, weigh your options. Some HOA’s will take care of exterior maintenance, landscaping, master insurance, or roof replacements. With the added advantage of community pools, tennis courts, playgrounds, etc. you may end up paying less to the HOA than you would trying to take care of all of these things yourself. On the other hand, make sure the pro’s outweigh the con’s. Make sure you fully understand the rules and regulations before you move towards closing. Violations of community rules can result in fees that can add up over time and, if not paid, will add liens to you property. Some communities may have restrictions on parking for guests and minimum rent standards for absentee or snowbird owners.
Buying a home is a fun and extremely rewarding process. Just make sure you fully understand what your actual monthly bill will be. Any questions, ask a realtor. We are here to help!!!
Danielle MacCarthy, REALTOR