Home Maintenance As a Consideration in Homeownership Cost

When looking for a home to buy, one of the main questions is "What can I afford?" This is different than the question of "What size of loan do I qualify for?" Let's say that after reviewing your finances you find that you can afford to spend $ 1200 a month on housing. It is not just the loan payment that is important to consider, but also the property tax, insurance, maintenance, and home improvements.

Maintenance: Some of the items that you need to be aware of will include the HVAC system and all of the associated parts including the inside and outside components. This would also include the cooling in the summer and then the switchover of the system to heating in the winter. Other items would include the plumbing and all of the pipes, those that you can see and those that are hidden within the walls. Many buyers also discount the amount for painting the property, especially any exterior surfaces in year 2 and beyond of ownership.

Improvements: Such as additions of improvements based upon your specific needs and needs. Items in the house do wear out of just go out of style and it will be your responsibility as a home owner to replace items like the appliances or even the roof.

What home maintenance duties do homeowners most often ignore?

Homeowners do not clean drain traps. They do not clean out the lint from the dryer vent. That is the No. 1 cause of house fires. They do seem to always change their air filters – but they do not vacuum out the duct system when they do. They also do not clean refrigerator coils. That's where everything in the house collections.

What is the most important thing homeowners should do with their homes?

Homeowners should continuously check for water intrusion around windows and doors. Look for hairline cracks. If the exterior is stucco, look for hairline cracks and repair them because they could get worse and that could result in major repairs. Stop water from coming into the house. Caulk around doors, windows and in wet areas like showers and tubs. People tend to neglect that and it causes major problems when water gets behind walls.

What do you look for in new homes as opposed to old homes?

We look for the same things. People think that if they have a new home, they do not need maintenance, but a new home is settling. It will have more cracking in stucco and exterior finishing. An older home has pretty much settled.

A rule of thumb for the annual cost of maintenance and improvements is 1% of the purchase price.

This is a brief look at home maintenance issues and what homeowners should consider when making a home purchase. If you fail to plan for these expenses, you may just find that you can not afford the home after all.

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