More and more people are starting to consider buying a home for the first time. After all, their rent is nearly the same amount as a mortgage payment. If you live in Meridian, Idaho, then you know exactly what I’m talking about!
Before buying, we recommend doing a considerable amount of research on the area and its associated costs for operating the home. Older homes naturally tend to be less energy efficient than newer homes, and thus can be considerably more expensive to operate than a typical rental.
So how does one know what to expect as a first time homebuyer? Here are some things you can do to prepare yourself:
- Talk to people in the neighborhood that you’re interested in buying in. Ask people with homes around the size that you’re looking to buy.
- Call your local utility companies. These people may be able to give you an estimate of each utility expense if you give them some general information.
- Talk to a Realtor. These guys get paid to advise their clients through the whole process. While some may not know information off the top of their head, they may be able to point you in a good direction.
- Over budget. It is good idea to factor in future major expenses. Look up average life expectancies of different major expenses, ie, roof, water heater, A/C, Furnace, etc, then create a savings budget for each of these items so that whey they get closer to failure, you’re prepared. Each item will likely fail at different times, so you don’t need to be fully funded on all (as long as you’re saving some aside every month for each item).
- Finally, once you have made your offer, ask your home inspector to create a home energy report for your home. These will usually cost a little extra, but are totally worth it! They provide you with an estimate of utility expenses based on the individual home characteristics, and family needs. In addition to this, they give you helpful tips on how to be more energy efficient in the home, potentially saving you hundreds of dollars a year.
Don’t skip the home inspection!
If you follow all these steps, and the advice in the home energy report, you will find yourself with less surprise expenses and more money in your pocket at the end of the year. As always, make certain that you have the home inspected. This expense is a MUST, especially for first time homebuyers. This will provide you with a more accurate list of major and minor items that could potentially be fixed by the owner before you move in.