Being a homeowner can be overwhelming, especially if you’re a first-timer! Believe us when we say that a lot of us have been there. We’ve gathered a summary of the most common things people wish they knew about home ownership – before they were homeowners.

Expecting unforeseen costs

Something that no one truly prepares you for is all the costs – both foreseen and unforeseen – that come with being a homeowner. Huffington Post recommends staying ahead of expenses like closing costs, homeowners association (HOA) fees, maintenance, insurance, etc. by setting aside 2-5% of the total cost of your house on an annual basis. So if you paid $100,000 for your house, be prepared to set aside $2,000-$5,000 each year, just to be safe.

In the first year, homeowners typically spend an additional sum, averaging $5,000-$10,000 on painting, hardware, roofing, and more. Check out our post, What to consider before buying a house, for tips on choosing a home that will save you money.

Know the records on the home

While buying a home that was previously foreclosed upon is often a cheaper option, we advise first-time homebuyers to stay away from these properties. The Ashton Group warns people to be cautious as these homes often come with steep costs. Title issues, like a tax lien with the home, could come up and any debt the previous owners had would become your responsibility. Debt like repair costs and unfinished renovations where you might find yourself spending more than you anticipated. A way to prevent this is to get title insurance to protect yourself in these situations.

The Better Way to Move

Consider investing in your home

When asked by Business Insider, some homeowners wish they had considered investing in a multi-family unit when they bought their first home. If you can purchase a duplex or triplex, for example, your home can serve as a longer-term investment, freeing up cash later on to purchase your “dream home.”

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Part of investing in your home is knowing what questions to ask and having a realtor who will truly listen to your wants and needs in a home. Be sure to run the following questions by your realtor:

  • What is the minimum down payment?
  • Is there a financial assistance program available?
  • Are there ways to put a “hold” on a place while still looking at other options?

Think twice about DIY

Is your home a fixer-upper? In theory, house flipping seems fun, but no one talks about the enormous amount of time, work, and money that goes into it. Do you have the time to tear down walls, rip up carpet, and scrub away grime? If you suspect the answer is no, it might be better to spend a little more money up-front on a newer home. If you are not well versed in renovating, all that hard work could go down the drain. Furthermore, if your project fails inspection for any reason (and there are many reasons it can fail inspection), you’ll have to start from scratch! Saving money is great, but the stress and exhaustion that come with DIYing are not.

Don’t skip over inspections!

Investing in a good home inspector can save you tons of money down the road by catching problems early on. When hiring an inspector, look into having another opinion like a specialist. HomeSelect Realty encourages clients to hire a specialist because most home inspectors are licensed to perform general home inspections. If your first home inspector finds something wrong, you’ll have a licensed pro look more into detail and catch anything else that was missed. An instance could be that the general home inspector sees something wrong with the HVAC unit, but cannot say for sure exactly what the issue is. Bringing in an HVAC technician and finding the exact root cause during this time rather than when everything is said and done, saved you thousands of dollars in fixing it.
If your inspectors happen to find hidden issues before you own the home, you should be able to negotiate with the sellers and have these issues covered and fixed.