When you buy a house you focus on the mortgage, property taxes and homeowner insurance. These costs won’t tell you the true cost of home ownership. Imagine how you would handle a $500 water bill or an electric bill exceeding $700. It’s time to track homeowner expenses starting now! The problem is looking at individual … Read More
Do You Have a Homeowner Budget?
You're used to paying bills. It might seem like you're simply exchanging a monthly mortgage payment instead of rent. Your new homeowner budget is similar but there are differences. The biggest one is when you have a problem - there's no landlord to call (learn why I don't think Home Warranties fill this role).
Homeowner Budget for Recurring Payments
More important, you've got to plan and save for major expenses like a new roof or air conditioner in 5 to 10 years. That's why a budget is so important, so you're prepared for almost any emergency.
- Fixed homeowner expenses are the easiest to deal with as they rarely change. These are the ones you can setup on autopay. Just don't ignore them for years or you'll end up paying too much for homeowner insurance or PMI.
- Variable expenses for utilities, maintenance and small repairs take time to monitor the bills. Most work well with autopay but not my county water bill. There autopay is set up just a few dollars higher than the peak bill.
Home Maintenance Key in Your Homeowner Budget
- Routine "preventive" maintenance protects your investment. Landscaping is easy to remember when you see that lawn every day. Just as important, your heating, cooling and hot water systems need maintenance check-ups once or twice a year.
- Preventive maintenance can also reduce repair costs if you identify problems early, before much damage occurs. We have seasonal maintenance checklists to make this easy:
- Fall Home Maintenance focuses on buttoning up your home for winter and keeping you dry, warm and comfortable.
- Winter Home Maintenance goes indoors to find and repair all the minor, annoying things we try to ignore all year.
- Spring Home and Garden Maintenance gets you outdoors to find and repair storm damage and prepare your yard for the growing season.
- Summer Home and Outdoor Maintenance looks at outdoor safety, living spaces and landscaping projects from fences to bird feeders.
- An emergency fund for homeowner surprises is also important. You don't want to replace your roof before it's needed. But when it's time, you'll be more confident if you've got the money saved and know the top two roofing companies you like, based on your experience getting estimates from them.
Buying a house used to be simple. Most realtors told you it’s all about location, location, location and for many years this was true. That’s because “… You can buy the right home in the wrong location. You can change the structure, remodel it or alter the home’s layout but, ordinarily, you cannot move it. It’s attached to the … Read More
Wondering what net neutrality means and why you should care? The best analogy I’ve come up with is your cable TV bill. If you’re old enough you remember when television was free, when families watched the Ed Sullivan show
Income taxes can be filed using the standard deduction or itemized deductions. Most homeowners prefer itemized deductions to reduce their taxable income by what they’ve spent on mortgage interest, property taxes and more. It does take more time to gather all the paperwork needed to support itemized deductions and it’s usually worth it.
The content below may have been sponsored and/or may contain referral links. Click to read disclosure policy for more info. Do you believe everything you read? I hope not because woven into the thousands of messages bombarding us every day, are a lot of false statements. Some are accidental, others plain sloppy and some are intentional, … Read More
Buying a new house is stressful. There are lots of people involved in a real estate transaction but their expertise is limited. Our real estate agent introduced us to a mortgage broker which is great. And normally you could ask the seller for copies of utility bills but the house we’re buying is a flip. … Read More
Home builders make their money, and buyers rely on their home builder, to bring together quality products, materials and workmanship to build your house. When we built a house in New York, it helped when the local building department told us we were working with a B builder, meaning good quality and affordable. Years later, … Read More
Energy savings is important when it comes to saving money, and many home improvements can generate substantial energy savings that lower utility bills (or stabilize usage as Technology Driving Up Utility Bills). When we think about saving energy at home, most people assume we’re talking about things inside the house. This article instead, talks about … Read More
When your family pet destroys something, you know it’s your responsibility and you have to fix it. When our puppy chewed through cable wires, we had to do it before watching TV again, so we didn’t waste much time replacing the cable. Our other dog chewed one leg on the dining room table ans we … Read More
Houses need ongoing maintenance like a car. Car owners know they need to take their car in for oil changes, which include a new oil filter. Your furnace also needs it’s filter changed periodically to insure your heating system works efficiently. There are 100s of home repair books to pick from but few focus on … Read More