Before deciding how much house you can afford, you need to understand the additional monthly costs of owning a home. It’s not just principal and interest – there are many other costs to consider.
Private Mortgage Insurance
If you have less than 20 percent to put down on a home, chances are you will likely pay some insurance. Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI) is the most common of these insurances you will likely pay, unless you are enrolled in the USB First-Time Home Buyers program, which enables first-time home buyers who qualify to put down 10.10 percent without the need to pay PMI. Your PMI costs will depend on your insurer, the cost of your home and your down payment. If you anticipate putting down less than 20 percent, make sure you calculate this cost ahead of time.
Your property taxes will also come into play when evaluating the monthly costs of owning a home. In fact, you will likely consider this well before purchasing a home as property taxes can differ greatly between towns and may influence where you decide to buy.
In addition to your homeowners insurance policy, your home may require other types of insurance coverage. If you’re in a flood zone, you may need to protect your home with flood insurance. If you live in a heavily wooded area, you might want to consider a homeowners policy with falling object coverage. Buyers in different parts of the country may find the need for more extensive coverage. These all contribute to the monthly costs of owning a home, so make sure you take them into consideration during your house hunt.
Home Owners Association or Condominium Fees
If you are considering buying a condo, you will likely need to include condo or monthly HOA fees in your home expenses. Condo fees help the property owners maintain the buildings, amenities, outdoor spaces and other aspects of condo living.
You may also find that some of the homes you look at require monthly HOA fees if they are incorporated into a homeowners association. The services covered by paying these fees may include, but are not limited to, things like snow removal, trash and recycling pickup, water and sewage maintenance and other types of neighborhood upkeep.
While mortgage payments and property taxes are some of the mandatory monthly costs of owning a home, there are some optional monthly home expenses that can make your job as a homeowner easier. These expenses could include lawn maintenance, housekeeping and grocery delivery services. Take a close look at these costs before you buy and make sure that any additional fees can be worked into your budget.
Want to learn more about balancing your mortgage and other monthly home expenses? Contact our mortgage team today.