You already know what your current financial commitments are: food on the table, clothes on your back, gas in your car – not to mention a little fun now and then.
However, once you become a homeowner, there are a few more costs you can expect to pay monthly, quarterly or sometimes seasonally. These can include:
This will probably be your largest monthly cash outlay. Several factors – the amount you financed, term and rate, amortization and payment schedule – affect the amount of your payment. If you’d like to pay off your mortgage sooner and reduce your interest costs, consider paying more frequently, such as accelerated biweekly payments (to match up with your pay). Even adding a little bit to your monthly payments or making one extra payment per year can put a dent in your mortgage.
Depending on your location, you will get a property tax bill two, three or four times a year. Nowadays, you can usually pay your tax bill by a variety of methods: a cheque to your municipality, through online banking or (if your municipality allows) an automatic debit from your chequing account.
Your lender will require that property insurance is in place at closing, but it’s an ongoing expense for as long as you own your home. Property insurance protects the replacement value of the structure if something unfortunate were to happen. Your coverage should also protect your valuable personal items, such as jewellery, artwork, furniture, and computers. Property insurance should also protect you against personal liability should anyone be injured while visiting your property or should you accidentally damage a neighbour’s property. (Every few years, make sure your coverage is up to date with your property’s value.)
If you buy a condo / strata unit, your costs will probably include a monthly fee to help pay for interior / exterior maintenance and upkeep of the common grounds and public areas. Get all the details about the fees and other costs from the property manager or condominium association before you buy.
Some municipalities integrate school taxes into the property taxes; others collect them separately. In the latter case, you will usually pay school taxes for the upcoming academic year in a single payment at the end of the current school year.
Each month you will pay bills for heating, gas, electricity, water, telephone, and cable (or satellite dish).
A well-maintained property helps to preserve your home’s market value, enhances the neighbourhood, and could add to the worth of your property. Sometimes these expenses are the easiest to put off. But if you neglect some maintenance tasks, you may find yourself faced with significantly greater costs for repairs down the road. Maintenance ranges from lawn care and snow removal to roof repairs and regular heating system maintenance.
You will also need to be prepared for emergencies; always keep a little money set aside to help you deal with the unexpected.