This is a crucial step for you, and we know it. It’s the time when you have to decide your living situation. You can finally afford your own home and stop worrying about landlords, rent and evictions. Owning a home brings a sense of pride, stability, and the freedom to make it truly your own.
However, with this exciting step comes financial responsibility. Budgeting for homeownership is crucial to ensure a smooth transition and avoid any financial surprises along the way.
In fact, budgeting is one of the hardest aspects of owning a home, as it’s definitely not a one-time expense.
So, to help you cope with the change and enjoy the thrilling moment of buying yourself a new home, we prepared several pieces of advice on managing your finances and budget as a homeowner.
Determine how much you can spend
Determining how much you can spend is a critical step when budgeting for homeownership. It lays the foundation for your entire financial plan and helps you make informed decisions about the type and size of property you can afford.
When preparing your estimate, your first task is to assess your financial situation. Take off your pink glasses and take an honest look at your finances. Check your income and determine exactly how much you can save each month.
Next, calculate your debt-to-income ratio (DTI). The DTI is a crucial factor that lenders look at when they’re trying to determine your eligibility for a mortgage. It measures the percentage of your monthly income that goes towards debt payments, including credit card bills, student loans, and car loans.
In general, lenders prefer a DTI ratio of 43% or lower. The DTI is calculated by dividing your total monthly debt payments by your gross monthly income. Then, multiply the result by 100.
Also, using a Mortgage Calculator to see what you’d be paying for different sums and terms is a great idea. By inputting your financial information into the calculator, you can get an idea of the price range of properties that align with your budget.
These, however, are not all the expenses you need to worry about.
Anticipate new homeowner expenses
Unfortunately, buying a new home is not a one-time expense. Actually, owning a home comes with a lot of additional financial responsibilities beyond the mortgage payment.
By being aware of these expenses and including them in your budget, you can ensure that you’re adequately prepared and you won’t face an unexpected financial collapse.
To make it easier for you, here are some of the most common additional expenses when you own a home in the UK.
Homeowners insurance is simply a necessity when you want to protect your investment and provide financial coverage in the event of unforeseen circumstances. It covers damages to your property and possessions caused by theft, natural disasters, fire, or accidents.
The cost of homeowners insurance can vary. It depends on factors such as the property’s location, size, construction type, and the level of coverage you choose. For 2021, UK homeowners have paid £300 on average for home insurance.
While this doesn’t sound like a huge additional fee, you still have to keep it in mind. It’s crucial to obtain insurance quotes and factor in the insurance premium when creating your budget.
Real estate taxes
As a homeowner, you’ll be responsible for paying property taxes to the local council or municipality.
The amount you owe in property taxes depends on the value of your property and the local tax rates. For example, if this is your only property, its value is between £125,000 and £250,000 pounds, and you are a UK national, you will pay 2%.
However, if that’s your second home, you will pay a tax of 5%. If the property is over £1.5 million, you will have to pay the staggering 12% basic rate.
Finding out how much exactly you will have to pay is a bit challenging, so grab a calculator and get to work. Property taxes are paid either annually or semi-annually, so be sure to divide the amount by 12 to estimate the monthly cost.
Owning a home means taking care of regular maintenance and repairs. From routine tasks like mowing the lawn, cleaning the gutters, and servicing the HVAC system to more significant repairs, such as replacing a broken appliance or fixing a leaky roof, there will be ongoing maintenance costs.
It’s essential to allocate funds for home maintenance in your budget. A useful rule to follow is setting aside 1-3% of your home’s value each year for maintenance can help you cover routine upkeep and handle unexpected repairs without causing financial strain.
By anticipating these new homeowner expenses and incorporating them into your budget, you’ll have a clearer understanding of the total costs of homeownership. Still, there is one more factor you need to account for before you get your total.
Plan big project costs
While buying a new home is, without a doubt, an enormous project on its own, you need to consider some other costs related to your new home.
For example, you will most probably need some new furniture, appliances, decorations and even accessories. At the bare minimum, you must move your belongings, which must be addressed when creating your budget.
Home removals costs
The cost of home removals will depend on factors such as the distance of the move, the size of your belongings, and whether you require additional services like packing and unpacking.
In general, it’s far better to contact home removals specialists to take care of this tedious task. Yes, it will stretch your budget a bit further, but it will save you a lot of time, nerves and effort.
So, don’t hesitate to use these services and allocate enough funds to hire a renowned brand for the job.
Home improvement costs
Many homeowners undertake home improvement projects to enhance their property’s aesthetics, functionality, and value.
Whether it’s updating the kitchen, adding an extension, or remodelling the bathroom, these projects can significantly impact your budget.
Researching and estimating the costs associated with your desired projects is crucial. Get multiple quotes from suppliers and contractors to ensure you have a realistic understanding of the expenses involved.
Remember that unexpected issues or changes during the project can lead to additional costs, so having a contingency fund within your budget is wise.
Emergencies and catastrophes
Despite careful planning, emergencies and unforeseen events can occur. It’s important to allocate funds for unexpected repairs or disasters within your budget. Having an emergency fund specifically for your home can provide financial protection and peace of mind.
For example, if a pipe bursts or a major appliance breaks down, you’ll have funds readily available to address the issue without causing a significant financial strain. Experts recommend setting aside at least 1-3% of your home’s value as an emergency fund.
Some final words
Remember, being proactive and realistic about these costs will not only help you manage your finances effectively but also ensure that you can enjoy your home to the fullest, knowing that you’ve prepared for the expenses that come with homeownership.
So go ahead, and make your dreams of owning a home a reality while staying financially savvy along the way.