The Hidden Costs Of Brooklyn Homeownership

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Finally, you are experiencing Brooklyn Homeownership. You found the perfect home and have settled in comfortably. You may have been surprised by the expenses you had incurred in the buying process. Closing costs, down payment, and moving costs added up to more than you expected.

There is more to the cost of Brooklyn homeownership than those initial costs incurred. Let’s take a look at some of the hidden costs of owning a home.

1. Home maintenance and repair.

Home maintenance and repair may be a significant expense of Brooklyn homeownership, depending on the age and condition of the home you purchased. Some items that fall into this category are:

  • Lawn maintenance
  • Cleaning
  • Gutter maintenance
  • Pest prevention
  • Weatherproofing
  • Exterior maintenance
  • Roof maintenance
  • HVAC maintenance
  • Plumbing maintenance
  • Emergency repairs

2. Home Owners Insurance

Home owner’s insurance is an expense you would expect to have during homeownership. Your mortgage lender most likely will require you escrow for your insurance payments. You must understand what your policy will cover, and your deductible amounts should you need to utilize the policy. 

It is also essential to determine if you would need any additional insurance. You may want to consider a personal property rider or a sewer and water line rider. Consult with your insurance agent to determine if you have all the coverage you need.

Review your policy periodically throughout your homeownership to keep it up to date.

3. Property Taxes

When you purchased your home, you were aware of the fact you would be paying property taxes. What you may not be prepared for is an increase in property taxes. If the tax rate increases or your property assessment were to change, the amount of property tax you would owe would increase.

4. Utility Expenses

Total utility expenses can often be surprising to new homeowners. If you were renting before your Brooklyn homeownership, you might not have paid for all your utilities yourself, and the expense may not be what you expected.

Costs can vary from season to season depending on the weather.

I recommend asking the homeowner about their utility expenses when you are considering your home purchase. Although your number of household members may be different, which would affect utility usage, you will have a good basis to budget your monthly expenses.

5. HOA Fees

If you live in a community with a homeowner’s association, you most likely will be paying a monthly, quarterly, or annual fee to the association. These fees vary from community to community based on what they will cover. 

You should investigate what is covered by your association before purchasing a home. I have seen homeowners assume something is covered only to discover when a repair is necessary that it is not and is the owner’s responsibility.

6. Furnishings

If you have more space in your new home, you most likely will want to furnish it. Purchasing new furnishings is where you can break your budget. You may consider waiting until you have made your first mortgage payment before buying anything new.

Create a plan and a budget. Make a list of the furnishing you need and a priority. Then you can estimate the cost for each. Try to avoid the urge to splurge when first moving into your home. After living in the space for a while, you may decide you need different items for the functionality of the rooms.

7. Commuting

Your new home may be further from your old home. Whether you are driving or taking public transportation, you may experience an increased cost in getting to work. If you didn’t own a vehicle and now find you need one to get around or need a second car for your spouse, you will be facing additional expenses.

Now that you know some of the hidden costs of Brooklyn homeownership, you need to create a budget. It is vital to develop a realistic spending plan, so you know you have enough money to cover the things you need along with the things that are important to you.

Start by calculating the costs of owning your home. Things to include are:

  • Monthly mortgage payment
  • Taxes and insurance if not included in your mortgage payment
  • Monthly utility costs
  • Maintenance and repairs
  • Updating and furnishing
  • Homeowner’s Association Fees
  • Emergency fund

It is important to save for an emergency fund should something unexpectedly need to be repaired or replaced in the home.

You will then need to include your other monthly expenses such as car payments, commuting expenses, groceries, student loan payments, entertainment, child care, and any additional recurring monthly payments.

After totaling your monthly expenses, compare that to your total monthly income. If your income is higher, you can plan to add to your savings for retirement or your dream vacation. If you need to shave your budget to save money, take a hard look at what adjustments you can make. 

Now that you have a budget set, you need to use it. Tracking your expenses is essential. You can avoid overspending by recording what you have spent each week. By logging your expenditures, you can identify any unnecessary spending in any category. 

Periodically review and adjust your budget as necessary. Consider reviewing your budget every quarter.

Now that you have a handle on the expenses of Brooklyn homeownership, you may want to start looking for ways to save money.

You can save money on home maintenance by:

1. Doing it yourself. 

Not all home maintenance issues require a professional. Lawn care, cleaning, painting, and other regular maintenance issues may be items you can do yourself. There are many available resources to help you learn these routine tasks. Knowing your abilities will determine what you choose to do around the home yourself.

2. Hire quality professionals

When you need something repaired that is beyond your skillset, the lowest-priced professional may not be your best bet. Do your research to know if the professional you are hiring is licensed and insured with a good reputation. You may get some good recommendations from friends and neighbors.

3. Don’t defer maintenance

There are regular maintenance items that need attention throughout your home. This helpful New York Times article breaks down home maintenance by season. Deferring home maintenance can cost you more money in repairs down the line.  For example, a running toilet can double or triple your water costs.

4. Check the insulation of your home

A well-insulated home can save energy costs. If you need to invest in better insulation, doing it early in your homeownership will save you money for years to come.

5. Install a programable thermostat

You can save money on heating and cooling expenses by installing a programable thermostat. You can adjust the temperature for the times you are sleeping or away from home. The thermostat can be programmed to readjust the temperature before waking up or arriving home to your comfort level.

6. Obtain a home warranty

When you purchase a home, the seller may be offering a home warranty. If they are not offering one upfront, you can negotiate with the seller to provide one or purchase one yourself. Be sure to discuss this with your real estate agent before closing. A home warranty can save you thousands of dollars in repair costs.

The home warranty will cover major components of the home and other repairs. They work as an insurance policy. You will be required to pay a service fee (deductible). If you have owned your home for a while, you may still be able to purchase a home warranty policy. Check the coverage carefully because it may vary from company to company.

Understanding the hidden costs of homeownership and budgeting for them is vital to anyone considering Brooklyn homeownership. If you are just starting your home search, check out my previous blog post to learn what to consider when you think you have found the perfect home.

Owning a home of your own is one of the best investments you can make. Proper planning will prevent you from becoming overwhelmed.

Contact me, Charles D’Alessandro, your Brooklyn Real Estate Agent with Fillmore Real Estate. As a Brooklyn real estate agent with over 30 years of experience, I understand homeownership costs and can help you prepare for them. I can be reached by phone at (718) 253-9500 ext. 1901 or by email at [email protected].

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