The Importance Of Working With A Real Estate AgentThe Importance Of Working With A Real Estate Agent

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The Importance Of Working With A Real Estate Agent

After reading a little bit about real estate, I thought I had a handle on buying my own house. I checked out a few listings in my area, and then I put in a few offers. Unfortunately, none of the deals that I tried to set up worked out, which left me a little frustrated. However, as soon as I started working with a real estate agent, things started to come together. I was able to find the place of my dreams and negotiate a fair price. This blog is all about working with real estate agents and brokers, so that you don't have to worry about finding a place on your own.

Four Hidden Costs of Homeownership

When you're considering buying a home, it is easy to look at the estimated monthly mortgage payments, compare them to your rent payment, and fall into the assumption that homeownership is more affordable than renting. However, there are a lot of hidden and often-overlooked costs associated with owning a home. You'll want to include these in your calculations and planning to ensure that owning a home really is an affordable choice for you.

Closing Costs

When you're planning to buy a home, you need to save more than the initial down payment. A lot of home buyers are caught off guard when they realize they also must pay closing costs before they move into a home. Closing costs include the fee for running your credit report, the fee your attorney charges, an appraisal fee, and an underwriting fee, among other charges. Costs vary by region and state, but closing costs typically add up to between 2 and 5% of the home's purchase price, so be sure to factor this in as you're saving.

Lawn Care

When you rent, your landlord typically takes care of the lawn. However, once you buy a home, this becomes youe responsibility. If you do your own landscaping, you'll have to purchase a lawn mower and trimmer, along with fuel and some other basic supplies like rakes, gloves, and shovels. If you hire someone else to care for your lawn, you'll need to plan for those weekly or monthly payments.

Emergency Repairs

Washing machines, dishwashers, ovens—none of these things lasts forever. Neither do roofs, floors, siding, or walls. At some time or another as a homeowner, you're going to have to pay to have either an appliance or part of your home repaired in a hurry. This cost can be a major inconvenience if you don't have money set aside for it. Thus, it's a wise choice, as a homeowner, to set aside a little money each month—say $20 or $30—in an emergency repair fund. This way, when you do need something fixed, you have the funds on hand to take care of it.

Higher Utility Bills

Many times, utility bills are higher when you own a home than when you rent. This is partially because houses tend to be larger than rented apartments, and thus require more energy to heat and power. It is also because you're suddenly responsible for all of the utilities. Maybe your landlord used to pay your water, garbage, or even electric bill. Now, that's all on you. Make sure you factor every possible utility bill in when deciding if you can afford a home. If you're not sure how much a bill will be, call the providing company—they can likely give you an estimate based on your location and the size of your home.

When deciding whether you can afford to buy your own home, be sure to figure in the costs above. Then start your search for a new home by looking at websites like