Buying a house is simple right? You find one you like that’s in your price range and purchase it.
In a perfect world, yes. But this is far from a perfect world
Choosing the right dwelling for you—whether it’s a house, townhome, condo, etc.–requires a lot of research outside of figuring out what your budget is. Every little aspect of a house and the property it sits on can have consequences on your budget. To keep you well within your budget at all times, here are some factors that can cause you to spend thousands of unnecessary dollars after your purchase your home so you know what to avoid.
1. Age of Home
Older homes built in the 1800s and the early 1900s are special buildings. Not only is there a ton of history tucked away into the home, but the Victorian-era houses look extremely impressive inside and out. That being said, these houses can cost you a pretty penny after your initial purchase.
For starters, these historic homes tend to cost 5.6% more than recently built homes, according to Realtor. Remodeling these homes can cost you twice as much as the initial purchase! In general, a complete remodel of a house can cost nearly $140,000, according to Home Advisor. But the cost of remodeling a Victorian-era home could exceed that, depending on its condition.
These houses could need systems like air conditioners, new appliances, brand new wiring and brand new plumbing. If your house has already been remodel, check the wiring and plumbing. Sometimes, these wires and pipes are hastily installed and the old ones haven’t been removed. This is a hazard on multiple levels: to your house and your health.
Do you know about basements in Victorian-era homes as well? Basements in this era were made to take in small amounts of water during extreme wet seasons, as PermaDry Waterproofing & Drainage explains. Naturally, these basements weren’t made for living space. They were used for storing food and for storing heating sources like coal. Of course, you CAN remodel these basements to prevent the water seepage, but it’s not necessarily cheap.
This is your buyer beware: Victorian-era homes are marvelous, but do your research to find out if this home is right for you and your budget. It might be more affordable and safer for you to buy a relatively newer home (1980s and after).
2. Ages of Appliances, HVAC, Roof, Siding and Windows
Regardless of the age of the home, it’s a good idea to find out when the last time the appliances, HVAC, roof, siding and windows were replaced. If they’re all originals, those expenses are going to land in your wallet and fast. If it’s a new house, then you won’t have much to worry about. But it’s something to keep in mind. If you know you won’t have the money to replace any of these things in the near future, it might be a good idea to keep looking for a more updated house or to talk to the seller about potentially replacing some of these.
3. How’s Your Yard?
You’ve fallen in love with a house that’s newer and is totally updated with new appliances, HVAC, roof, siding and windows within the past year. Good for you! But have you thought about all the trees on your lot, including the one right next to the house? The average cost in the United States to remove a tree, according to Improvenet, is $638. That’s a steep price to pay. Now imagine if you have to remove two or three trees? And do these trees have roots so deep they’ve run into the foundation of the house? That’s another whole problem in itself!
Does your lawn need new sod? Does your lawn have weeds? Do you need to plant flowers in the flower beds? These costs might seem trivial, but they can add up if many chores need to be done or if you have to take care of them all. Make sure you budget for these things in advance when purchasing the house to ensure you don’t make the mistake of buying a property you can’t afford.
4. Check Your Walls
Before you buy a house, check for potential water damage. Do you see water stains in the walls? Do you have gutters that tend to dam up? Do your windows leak? Is there a hole in the roof? Are your pipes also leaking? Some of this is visual and easy to see while others aren’t. Be vigilant when it comes to checking for water damage. Having to replace any damaged materials when you move in can be costly.
5. Listing History
An interesting way to learn about the home you’re interested in is to check its history on the housing market. How many times was it listed, de-listed or canceled? How many times has it gone under contract, but then become available again? Why did that happen? If it has happened numerous times, it could indicate that home inspectors keep finding something amiss with the home. It could also be because buyer financing fell through, but it’s something to keep in mind.
6. Various Other Costs
Home Owners Association (HOA) fees, property tax and neighborhood comps are also good numbers to look up and know when you’re buying a home. HOA fees and property taxes could potentially price you out of a home while neighborhood comps could help you fetch a better deal on the purchase price of your home. Though these comps could potentially help the seller’s case as well. Your realtor should know all this information, but it never hurts to verify the numbers they give you.
These factors can cost you a lot of money if you don’t do your research prior to buying a new home. Of course, you can always write a home warranty into the contact so you don’t have to worry about some of these expenses landing on you. But, it’s still good to know whether your new home is going to become a money pit or it’s going to be smooth sailing up front.