You can afford the mortgage, but can you afford everything else?

We generally only focus on the mortgage amount & forget the other expenses that should definitely be factored in when trying to determine how much house you can afford.  1.  Sewer or Septic? A septic tank can add potential costs for repairs or replacement, which can run in the thousands of dollars; sewer does not.  2.  Costs of utilities.  ask the owners or call your local utility company & get last year's bills for February and August- generally the hotest & coldest months.  What if the average utility bill is $500/month?  A 1200sf condo will generally have better insulation/lower utilities than a 1200sf home, due to the fact that the condo is completely surrounded by other units. 3.  Pool?  Costs includes maintenance & repairs. DIY'rs will need brushes & chemicals & require regular chemical testing to make sure the chemical balance remains accurate to prevent organisms from forming. Hot weather can evaporate pool water to the point where you will need to add more, adding to your water bill. 4.  Landscape & yard maintenance.  Hired monthly maintenance or DIY.  If you DIY, you will need a lawnmower, edger, weedwacker, gas, gloves, trash bags, etc.  Yard maintenance deals with pest & weed control.5.  Pest control.  Termites & general pest for the interior and exterior of the home. 6.  A/C maintenance is generally suggested every 6 months and performed by a licensed A/C company.  7.  Repairs and replacements for any electric appliance.
  • August 23 2011 - Orlando
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Answers (2)

Amy, I think the point of your post is well taken - I often feel like the odd man out  (or in this case - woman) when I suggest to a potential buyer that maybe they should not buy a home, even if they are financially able to do so.

It seems like too many first tme buyers simply look at the rent they are paying, and compare it to the mortgage payment....maybe they include the taxes and insurance...but that's all.

Just because  someone can qualify for a mortgage doesn't mean they are ready to own a home.

They need to do what you just did.......sit down and list every possible expense...then list the expenses that MIGHT happen (broken hot water heater...AC dies in the middle of summer.....roof leaks, etc).

It's also important that a buyer lists the expenses involved in their everyday life..........what do they do for enertainment? Do they like to vacation...to eat out a lot?
What are their spending habits?? Are they savers or spenders?

Only when the person has the ENTIRE picture in writing in front of them should they make the decision......to buy or not to buy!
  • August 23 2011
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Most new buyers forget about hoemowners insurance and home security and theft insurance when they start thinking about how much house they can afford.

David Cooper

  • August 23 2011
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