Budgeting for home ownership
Owning a home is what we have all been told is the American Dream. It brings to mind a picture of a neatly manicured lawn, flower beds in bloom and a white picket fence. But what many first time home buyers forget is that you will no longer have a landlord to call when something breaks or needs to be repainted. In addition to paying your mortgage each month, there are other costs that you need to consider when budgeting for home ownership.
What do home buyers need to budget for?
Utility costs are an often overlooked item that can catch a new home buyer unprepared. It’s more expensive to heat and cool an entire home than it is for an apartment and you may not be used to budgeting for additional utilities such as cable and water.
Repairs are inevitable when you are a homeowner. Whether it’s the dishwasher that decides not to wash, the toilet that won’t flush, or the roof that starts to leak, at some point you are going to have to make repairs to your home, even if you buy a brand new one. Having a nest egg for repairs is always a good idea and can keep an unexpected repair from wreaking havoc with your monthly budget.
That picture-perfect front yard doesn’t happen on its own. Whether you cut the grass yourself or hire a service to do it, lawn maintenance is a must in New Orleans, especially during the summer months when cutting grass weekly is a must because it grows so quickly. You’ll need to budget for either a weekly lawn service (have I mentioned lately how much I love my lawn guy?) or for the purchase of a lawnmower, edger, weed eater, and gas and oil for the equipment. If you decide to garden, there are the expenses of flowers, fertilizer, mulch, and gardening tools that can quickly add up to a big dent in the wallet.
Mechanical maintenance is another necessity. Having your air conditioner and heater cleaned and serviced at least once a year (twice is preferable) may not be high on your list of things to spend money on, but can keep them in good working order and prevent breakdowns just when you need them the most. Being forced to call for A/C service in the middle of a hot summer afternoon means that you may spend more than you need to in order to keep your cool.
Almost without fail, new homeowners want to make some improvements to their houses. Whether it’s a new paint color or front door or something major like a kitchen or bathroom overhaul, home improvements can be expensive. Besides creating a budget before starting a project, remember to check with your city or parish for any permits needed before starting work on your house.
Do you have questions about buying a home in New Orleans? Call us at 504-327-5303 for answers. It would be our pleasure to guide you through the entire home buying process and make it the fun experience it should be.
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