Buying a home can be one of the most exciting times of your life — it signifies a big move into the world of adulthood. However, ‘moving up’ can often come with an abundant amount of new home expenses and significant costs. Depending on how many costs you are able to accurately anticipate, it can really rack up. This is why it’s important, especially when buying a new home, to have an emergency stash of cash you can use for any of these unexpected new home expenses.
The home buying process can be expensive, but what’s even more expensive are undiscovered issues that can turn into big problems later. In the case of new home expenses, when consulting the correct professionals, an ounce of prevention is definitely worth a pound of cure.
Still, these are the new home expenses that can really blow your budget and cause many, many a headache.
Just as the term suggests, a home’s foundation is what it is built on. As the general contractor on This Old House, Tom Silva, says: “Without a good one, you’re sunk.” Many older homes can have foundation issues ranging from settling which is fairly common, to larger cracks (which you should address) immediately. If your home inspector suggests bringing out a structural engineer to examine the foundation, it may be worth it for the peace of mind.
In regions where the climate can be more humid (Hello Atlanta), mold can become a serious issue. If the area is not properly sealed for moisture, mold can grow in the crawl space and floor joists. This can not only affect the air circulating within the home, but also, if left untreated, weaken the entire structure. This is why in many homes, plastic vapor barriers are put down to keep away moisture. In some cases, investing in a dehumidifier is not a bad idea either.
The roof is extremely important, as it protects your home from the elements; namely: rain. The life cycles of a roof varies based on the type of roof and the manufacturer. If well maintained, roofs last 15-20. However, they are expensive to replace, often costing $10,000 or more. This is why when purchasing a home, it’s important to have an estimate on the roof’s remaining life, so you can begin saving for that eventual expense.
You’ve found the perfect house… perhaps you even wanted a wooded lot! Trees close to the home can be helpful in keeping the home cool in the summers, thereby helping with the electricity bill. But if the trees are unhealthy or too close, it will take just one major storm for you to incur roof damage. Many times if a branch or tree interferes with a power line, the power company will come and remove it for no charge — just be sure to ask!
You may have negotiated the appliances into your purchase. Even then, replacing them can be costly when the time comes. If the appliances are nearing the end of their life, it might be prudent to invest in a home warranty, which covers repair/replacement of the appliances for up to 1 year.
Ah… arguably one of the best parts of buying a new home, is getting to buy new furniture along with it! If you are not picky about your furniture, you can find some great deals on Craigslist or local Buy/Sell/Trade Facebook groups.
Depending on the condition of the home you are purchasing, you may be planning to add upgrades such as granite counter tops or re-tiling the master shower. While certain upgrades can definitely add value to your house, be careful not to go overboard! (Like I did with my recent home renovation.)
By being vigilant about any potential issues the house may have, as well as careful not to overspend on the typical new home expenses such as expensive furnishings, you will be in a much better place financially while buying your first home. Make sure to do your research during the due diligence phase, which is typically a 3-4 week period before purchasing the home, and to have it thoroughly vetted and inspected.
Like this post? Get more first time home buying information in my book, The Millennial Homeowner: A Guide to Successfully Navigating Your First Home Purchase, now on Amazon. Click here to get your copy!