Being a homeowner sure sounds awesome. You own your own home, and you can do with it whatever you please. This sense of freedom and independence is why people take considerable mortgages to become homeowners. But, before you run to your local bank, you should be aware of the responsibilities of homeownership and what you'll have to deal with. After all, having the complete picture is usually better than focusing on only the good parts.
The responsibilities of homeownership
Before we begin, it is essential to note that homes can differ wildly from one another. It should be evident that the responsibilities of living in a flat can be different than living in a two-story house. And homes with specific designs and added utilities can bear further obligations for homeowners. For the sake of this article, we will only focus on the most common responsibilities that homeowners face. Some of these may or may not apply to you, depending on what your home is like.
Let's first cover the financial responsibilities of a brand-new homeowner. First and foremost, you will need to make your mortgage payments. While renting, you could get away with being late sometimes. But, with mortgage payments, you really need to be exact and on time. One missed payment, and you soon get penalties on your credit report. Miss a couple more, and you can quickly lose your home. So, understand that mortgage payments are not something you can postpone or minimize. They are a necessary monthly payment that you'll have to meet.
As a homeowner, it is paramount that you are financially responsible.
The second financial responsibility heading your way is property taxes. While renting out a home, this is one of the things that you need not worry about. But, once you become a full-fledged homeowner, property taxes become another burden to bear. Texas, unfortunately, has some of the highest property taxes in the US. Taxes can add thousands of dollars to your annual cost of homeownership. Be certain to determine the cost of taxes on your home of choice.
If you are going to be a homeowner, you need to understand that landscaping is not a matter of choice. If you want your yard to look nice and avoid a whole lot of trouble, you will do your landscaping with due diligence. This includes:
● Mowing the lawn.
● Gathering leaves.
● Trimming the trees.
● Regular cleaning.
● Getting rid of snow.
● Getting rid of ice.
Now, it is possible to make landscaping easier. As you'll soon learn, there are plenty of tools and gadgets that make your job a lot faster and more efficient. For instance, riding lawnmowers, leaf blowers, snow blowers, fertilizer equipment, etc. All of these can make your task almost effortless, not to mention more fun. But, they can be costly, especially if you want to get the high-end stuff.
Some of the responsibilities of homeownership can be costly.
Another option is to hire a landscaping company to maintain your yard for you. While many homeowners choose to do this, keep in mind that this isn't a cheap option. If you cannot maintain your yard (either due to lack of time or a physical disability), hiring a landscaping company is your only option. But, if you plan on doing so simply because of laziness, try to consider how much money you'll spend on something you can learn to do by yourself.
A pearl of standard wisdom among homeowners is that there is a difference between being able to buy a home and affording one. Being able to buy a home simply means that you have enough money, or a good enough credit score, to purchase a home. Being able to afford it, on the other hand, means that you can invest in your home all the necessary funds to keep it decent state. Even standard home maintenance includes:
● Plumbing system maintenance.
● Electrical maintenance.
● Roof repair and replacement.
● Gutter cleaning and repair.
● Floor maintenance.
● HVAC maintenance.
● Heating system repair and maintenance.
While you can learn to DIY some of these repairs, most will require professional help—especially when it comes to serious issues around the house. One thing that is important here to remember is that regular maintenance and inspection save money in the long run. You can avoid most large repairs by simply being attentive and performing home inspections on a regular basis. Yes, no aspect of your home can last forever. Sooner or later, you might need to replace your roof or install new floors. But you can prolong the well-being of your home by decades if you understand what maintenance entails and perform it with due care.
Another big part of home maintenance is keeping your home clean, whether you own or rent. But there is a reason why doing so is even more critical if you are the sole owner. Namely, properly cleaning your home is one of the vital aspects of pest control.
If you do get a pest problem, there are a couple of options you can go for. More mild versions are the natural methods (either predatory pets or baits).
Old-school pest control can be effective. But it rarely deals with the root cause.
While there are poison options and DIY fumigation, they will likely only give superficial results. The safest option is to hire a professional pest control service and have them tackle the core issue.
As you can see, the responsibilities of homeownership are manifold. But, don't be deterred. The mere fact that you own your home makes these responsibilities easier to bear. And, who knows, you may even grow to like dealing with some.
Bryce Green worked as a contractor and a relocation manager for companies like Heavenly Moving and Storage. He now focuses on raising his daughters and writing helpful articles about relocation and homeownership.