Buying a house is a big deal, and it's often the single biggest financial transaction people are involved in. There's a lot of money on the line, so it's important to know if you're really ready for homeownership before you make the leap.
It's not just about the money, either. There's a big difference between owning and renting that has nothing to do with your wallet and everything to do with a whole new level of responsibility. Is it for you? Here are some of the big changes that come along with buying a house.
1. Landscaping Duties
When you live in an apartment complex, you may not have much of a yard, and common spaces are someone else's responsibility. As a homeowner, you'll need to get familiar with a lawnmower and trimmer at minimum, and maybe a hedge trimmer to boot. Typically, just about everything on your property is your responsibility, and this should not be taken lightly.
2. Snow Removal
For homeowners in the north, outdoor duties don't end in September. As a non-renter, you'll usually need to handle your own snow removal as well, which means buying a shovel or snow blower and some rock salt to keep paths from icing over and becoming a hazard. In some cases, you may want or need to pay for a service to do this.
3. Property Taxes
When you own a home, you pay the taxes. Hopefully you've already budgeted for this in your mortgage calculations, but this is a cost that can go up due to a variety of reasons — and even when you pay your home loan off in full, you'll still be paying taxes.
4. Ongoing Maintenance and Repair
Homes don't take care of themselves, and you're your own custodial crew when you become a homeowner. That means fixing leaky faucets and loose shingles promptly, since small problems will only become worse with time. You're going to need some basic tools and skills — or at least a good instruction manual.
5. Creative Freedom
On the bright side, you also get to treat your house as a blank canvas to improve or decorate as you see fit. You don't have to keep the walls white or live with outdated overhead lighting fixtures for a minute longer if you don't want to! Voluntary projects are also a good way to build your skills to handle an unexpected repair down the road.
6. License to Entertain
As a homeowner, you also get to keep your house open to as many guests (within reason) as you like, whenever you like. Love to throw all-night parties? As long as your noise isn't blaring out into the neighborhood, you can entertain in a way that apartment life often makes difficult.
7. Rising Equity
Despite all the costs of maintaining your property, buying a house often ends up being an investment that pays you back in the long run. The more you pay down your mortgage, the more equity you end up with, and that turns your home into a valuable asset that will help you borrow money in the future — or make money when you sell. Paying rent doesn't do any of that.
Are you ready to purchase a home? If you don't mind being responsible for keeping your home clean and in good repair, and you're ready for the financial responsibilities that come with ownership, you may want to start your search by contacting a trusted real estate agent.