Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Before Buying A House Try A Financial Dress Rehearsal

Ranch style home in North Salinas, CaliforniaImage via WikipediaYou have heard it all before, don't waste your money on renting, buy a house and pay yourself. Owning a house is one of the greatest pleasures you can have. Your place, with your name on the deed, there is no better feeling. I have owned two homes in my life and would highly recommend it. 

But what I wouldn't recommend is all the money it costs to own a house. You can never fully plan for all that will go wrong in your home. Whether it's the water heater leaking, the roof leaking, or the constant upkeep; sometimes you may wish you were back in that no maintenance apartment.

When buying a home there are many things to be considered. You need good credit. You need a down payment. You have to know the housing market so you don't over pay. That's just for starters, the real challenges begin when you move in.

I am the type of person who can sit down and write up a monthly budget with no problem. The numbers come easily after doing it for so long. I know my expenses and my income. It's easy to do because I know what I need to budget for. When you buy a home you are faced with the unknown of what to get ready for. Things will eventually break or need maintenance. It's not, if it will break, but when will it break.

Many people buy that first home and really don't know what they are getting into financially. So why not do a dress rehearsal to see how it could all fold out.

Make a list of all the new expenses you will have when owning your home. Find a perspective home you would probably purchase and use a mortgage calculator to figure out the payment. Add to it what the insurance, taxes, and expenses of owning that home. Take that number and subtract your current monthly rent. Are you able to save that amount every month for two years. If you can't save that amount every month, then you are not ready to buy a house.

Most people believe they can afford the monthly payment and all the extra expenses. It's true some people will be able to afford it, today. But in five years from now, what will be the expenses? They will surely be more. With a home being larger than your apartment, you will have the expense of more furniture and electric. Your yard will be bigger and your responsibility to maintain. What about a nice pool for the kids to swim in during the hot summer days. Don't forget the chlorine and other maintenance items.

You finally have that nice house all fixed up and decorated, but it's empty, it needs the sound of little feet running through it. Now the children start to arrive. Now your costs are rising and seem to never end.

A house is a big expensive financial burden that can sneak up on you with unforeseen expenses. Before you take the big leap into purchasing one, sit down and make a list of what it will REALLY cost you every month and year. Actually put the money aside with a phantom house budget and see if it will really work for you.

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