Often times even the most organized and detail oriented first-time home buyer can overlook some unexpected costs that come with the purchase of their new home. We are outlining 4 of the costs that we most commonly see overlooked by home buyers in hopes that we can better prepare you—and save you from a few surprises!
1. Closing Costs Congratulations! Your offer was just accepted on your new home, you’re one step closer to adding a major asset to your portfolio! We don’t want to shock or dampen the excitement of this moment. However, it’s important that you factor in closing costs right at the beginning of your purchase. The best time to do this is before even applying for your pre-approval or making any offers on a home. Closing costs may include: • insurance • taxes (Land Transfer, Property, and others depending on what province you are in) • legal/notary fees • inspection/appraisal fees
A general rule of thumb is to set aside 1.5% of the purchase price to account for the closing costs above. To plan ahead, consider speaking to a mortgage broker and your realtor. They can help you determine just how much you should set aside to accommodate those additional closing costs. 2. Utility Bills If you’ve gotten used to living in a small space, such as a condo or an apartment, you may be surprised how much more water, heat, and energy you consume in a larger space such as a detached home or a townhouse.
It’s important to prepare for these as you do not want to have a “surprise” when your bill arrives in the mail and it’s nearly double what you are used to spending! Factoring in these bills is also crucial if you are going from renting to owning! Often times the landlord will cover a portion of your utility bills or your cable/internet depending on the contract you had with your landlord. Of course, once you are a homeowner, you are covering the entire cost! Ask family members, friends, even your mortgage broker or realtor what is a realistic cost for things such as cable and internet, water, heat, etc. You’d be surprised how fast they can add up!
3. Renovations and Updates Unless you bought a newly built, brand new home, there is undoubtedly going to be future renovations and updates that you will need to do on your home. They may not need to happen right when you move in, but sometimes the unexpected does happen and having money set aside can make a world of difference! When you have your home inspection completed, make a prioritized list of what will need to be fixed/updated first and set aside money each month for it.
In addition to the “must do” updates/renovations, new property owners may also want to make aesthetic improvements, whether they mean to reside there or not. Naturally, a homeowner wants to make the place feel more like their own, and investors want to add value their investment or make adjustments to make the asset more aesthetically pleasing.
4. Ongoing Maintenance Home’s require maintenance—all the time! Ask any homeowner and they will tell you that there is always home maintenance in one form or another happening. A few common home maintenance costs may include: • Gutter cleaning • Roof repair/maintenance • Drywall repair • Furnace cleaning • HVAC and Duct cleaning • General plumbing and electrical fixes
Every home is different in regards to how much you should budget annually for regular maintenance. It will depend on the age of your home, square footage, climate in your region, and overall condition of your home.
In closing, property ownership shouldn’t be dampened by financial rules caused by lack of preparation. All of these costs, as well as additional other costs, are easy to plan ahead for and to ensure that you have budget set aside each and every single month to make sure that you stay on track. As a rule of thumb, the CMHC states that your housing costs including mortgage payment should not exceed 39% of your monthly income. Treat this number as a point of reference when you’re doing your budget and consider leaving room for the unexpected. It’ll give you peace of mind on the long run and allow you to actually enjoy your new home!
Written By: GEOFF LEE
Dominion Lending Centres – Accredited Mortgage Professional