Budget for Utilities and Home Maintenance

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KAREN BEHFAR

You budgeted and planned how to find your dream home, but now how will you maintain it?

You may have rented before and were not responsible for utilities and maintenance. As a homeowner you will now be responsible for utilities and any wear and tear that needs help. Make sure to include these things in your budget and have
a way of paying for them. You cannot know exactly what the cost of home maintenance and utilities will be for the house you buy. However, you can get a rough estimate of utilities
by requesting the utility costs from the seller for the last
12 months. In addition, your home inspection will show you what home repairs you will need to make. This will give you a general idea of how much you will need to spend on home maintenance.

Consider Other Costs

Other monthly expenses to consider are homeowners insurance and property taxes. The cost for homeowners insurance will depend on the size of the home, the location, the value of your personal possessions, and the age of the home. Property taxes are collected by county, city, and state governments, so your property taxes will depend on your home’s taxable value.

Avoid Increasing Debt

Income and employment history are two of the most important factors mortgage lenders consider. Your job history needs to be steady, and your debt-to-income ratio matters. These are two major factors that lenders consider when determining how much of a mortgage you can afford. Avoid making big purchases that will increase your debt!

The Walk-Through

Mabrouk! You found the home of your dreams! You have one last thing to do before you close – the walk-through.

This is arranged by your real estate agent (another benefit of having an agent!). The goal is to ensure nothing has changed since you last saw the house, that any repairs you agreed upon with the seller have been done, and all the terms have been met. This is your hour to inspect the house to make sure all is up to your standards. Take the time and check EVERYTHING before you put your name on the dotted line and move into your beautiful new home. If any issues crop up your agent will bring in professionals to quote a price and smooth over any bumps. And one of the benefits of using The Behfar Team is our virtual tour, in which we can actually see if anything has changed since the first home inspection.

The Year in Review

It has been nearly a full year since COVID-19 started. We initially thought that the real estate market would ground to a

halt. We definitely listed and went into contract on a few homes in early March. But many sellers and buyers were staying put, trying to gauge where the market was at. The market began to pick up in May when buyers saw low interest rates and took advantage of it. The benefit of low interest rates is that it gives buyers more buying power and leverage. Buyers are now able to afford a home that was previously out of their range. Renters, who were not even thinking of buying, realize they can now buy at the same price that they’re renting for. Once people start looking, they tell their friends and it creates a snowball effect. I have never seen so many buyers on the market. There was a correction in the market.

For every home we put up there are multiple buyers and offers. Homes are moving along quicker than they were a year and a half ago. The luxury homes, lots, and vacant houses that need complete gut renovation are the ones that are sitting longer on the market. Costs of renovation have gone up and that is definitely playing a factor in the prices of luxury homes.