Being in your first home is an exciting time in your life. But coming up with a down payment may not have been the toughest part of it. Aside from buying furniture, painting and decorating, and making those first fixes, you should probably give your finances an overhaul to accommodate the costs of homeownership.
Financial experts from The Motley Fool offer three important money tips:
Create a new budget. A lot more will change in your monthly budget than the difference between your rent and your mortgage payment. You may be taking on utility payments for the first time, or those costs may increase depending on your new square footage. If you suddenly have a lawn to maintain, that will be a new expense. Money managers suggest you track all your expenses for at least three months, then update your budget as needed.
Prepare for repairs and maintenance. Most homeowners spend between one and four percent of their home’s value on repairs and maintenance. So, if your home is worth $300,000, expect to shell out anywhere from $3,000 to $12,000 a year on upkeep. If you need to do something major, like replace a faulty heating system or roof, your costs could climb even higher. Aim to pad your emergency savings so that you have funds to tap when needed—somewhere between three and six months’ worth of living expenses.
Be ready to meet tax payments. Unless you’ve rolled your mortgage insurance and property taxes into your monthly mortgage payments, you will face a good-sized property tax payment twice or sometimes four times a year. Be aware of the amount, and set aside additional funds each month so you’re not caught off guard when taxes are due.