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BLOG: The True Costs of Home Ownership

What does it really cost to be a homeowner? Some expenses are obvious-like your mortgage payment-but others may come as a surprise.

Whether you are a first time homeowner or an experienced home buyer looking for a new home in San Juan Capistrano, it helps to know and understand the true costs of home ownership.  This information will help you decide on how much you can comfortably afford to pay for your new residence, and also help you to put a realistic budget in place once you move in.

There are basically two categories of home ownership expenses-both should be considered when deciding to buy your home:

ONE TIME EXPENSES

  • Appliances:   Do you need to replace, repair or upgrade the existing appliances now or in the near future? These also include the water heater and AC and Heating units in addition to the stove, oven, fridge, garbage disposal, etc.
  • Furniture:  Moving into a bigger home in San Juan Capistrano may mean that you will need more furniture.  Consider the cost of the new furniture needs when doing your analysis.
  • Remodeling:  If the property is in need of work, take the time to get an actual estimate from a licensed contractor-in fact it is a good idea to get at least two estimates.  Most home buyers under-estimate the costs.

ONGOING EXPENSES

  • Monthly mortgage expense:  The mortgage payment but also the property taxes, property insurance and any HOA dues.  A fixed rate mortgage will remain the same for the life of the loan, but allow for slight property tax increases, and the possibility of special assessments on the HOA dues in the future.  These assessments cover major repairs and improvements to the common areas.
  • Exterior Maintenance:  At some point you will probably need to do one or more of the following:  paint, repair the roof, seal the driveway, replace or repair windows, clean or repair gutters, etc.  Many of these can be done yourself, but some jobs require professionals.  Don't forget the tools you will need to keep up with these repairs!
  • Interior Maintenance:  Maintaining and repairing appliances, plumbing and electrical come along with home ownership, as well as maintaining carpets and flooring.
  • Utilities:  If you are moving to a larger home in San Juan Capistrano, you may see an increase in your utility bills.  Your Realtor can help you find out about the current occupants costs, but these figures will vary depending on family size and usage.
  • Yard Care:  You will need either a gardener or buy your own gardening tools-lawnmower and other landscaping tools.
  • Pest Control:  It is critical to stay on top of pest control-especially termites-in Southern California.  An annual inspection and treatment plan will help eliminate the potential for infestation, which can result in large repair bills.  Make sure the your Realtor provides your with a termite report and clearance when escrow closes.

Don't let these costs deter you from buying a home - the benefits of home ownership in San Juan Capistrano far exceed these expenses!  The joy of having a place to call home and create lasting family memories is worth every cent.

Leonard Newman is a local Realtor/Broker with Newman Realty in downtown San Juan Capistrano.  Contact him directly at: 949.233.9311

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

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