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When you're preparing to buy a new home, you're probably focused on covering the down payment and closing costs. But these expenses aren't the only ones you'll be responsible for as a homeowner.
In fact, once you've moved into your new place, there are a few other big budget items to make sure you can comfortably afford in addition to your mortgage payment. Here are three big expenses you should be ready to cover.
1. Maintenance and repairs
Maintenance and repair work are a fact of life for every homeowner. In fact, it's imperative to keep up to date with routine tasks to avoid bigger and costlier problems down the line.
Paying these costs can be a big shock if you've always had a landlord deal with servicing the A/C or covering the costs of appliance repair or replacement. And it's an expense you don't want to be unprepared for -- the last thing you need is to worry about paying the bills when something goes wrong with your home.
Typically, you should plan to spend around 1% of your home's value on maintenance and repair every year. Some years you'll spend less, but in others -- such as when you need a new roof -- your expenses will be much higher, so you'll want to have the money saved.
2. Outdoor work
Most homes have some outdoor tasks that need completion, even if you live on a small lot. From lawn mowing to snow removal to gutter cleaning, the tasks on your to-do list can mount -- and the price tag can, too. You'll have to hire out for these services or buy the equipment and handle them yourself (which also takes time and money).
Take these new monthly obligations into account, because they'll last the duration of the time in your home, and they're important to maintaining your curb appeal. Plus, some HOAs (homeowners associations) and most towns have rules regarding exterior maintenance so your home doesn't become an eyesore in the community.
Chances are good you'll want to buy at least some new furniture when moving into your new home -- because you don't have enough, or because some of your current pieces don't quite fit.
You don't want to borrow to buy furniture, and chances are good you don't want to spend months or years in an empty home as you save up for it. So when you're preparing to purchase your home, start a fund for furnishings. When you move in and are excited to decorate your new place, you'll be happy to have the cash ready.
By fully preparing for all of the expenses of homeownership, you can set yourself up for success once you move into your new place. Hopefully, by planning ahead, you won't find yourself borrowing or worrying about where the money will come from for your new expenditures.