Are you looking to buy a home? Purchasing your first home is an exciting experience, and one that makes you feel accomplished. Owning a home means you’ll be making monthly mortgage payments instead of monthly rent payments, but your money’s going to go toward building equity—an investment stake in the property that could easily grow in value over time.
Knowing that, home ownership seems like a no-brainer. Assuming you can afford the down payment and that the mortgage payment is similar to or less than rent, buying a home is inarguably the better financial choice—right?
On paper, home ownership is a good financial move, but there are some caveats and ongoing headaches to know about before you decide to become a homeowner.
These are some of the most common headaches faced by homeowners, and if you’re new to homeownership, they can catch you off guard.
- Home maintenance is both costly and necessary. Home maintenance is something you shouldn’t neglect, but it can be costly in terms of both time and money. Every season, you should spend time looking over your property, looking for small points of damage, replacing filters, cleaning out appliances, and so on. It takes hours of work and hundreds of dollars a year, but these steps can help you catch small problems before they become big problems, and can keep the condition of your home in top shape. If you decide to skip out on this ongoing ritual, you could end up paying more money and dealing with even more hassles in the long-term.
- Emergency repairs can and will blindside you. Unexpected damage and emergencies can and will take you by surprise. A violent storm may damage your siding, or a plumbing leak may compromise the integrity of your ceiling. A single incident could cost you thousands of dollars, and in some cases, may force you to find alternative living accommodations. Home insurance may be able to cover some of the more expensive catastrophes, but you’ll still be forced to go through the motions of hiring contractors and dealing with a property in poor condition in the meantime.
- Trustworthy contractors are hard to find. Speaking of contractors, you’ll be relying on them to conduct maintenance, make repairs, and add new upgrades to your home. You’ll find out quickly that some will charge you far more than others, even for basic repairs. Some may cut corners and leave you with low-quality work that doesn’t hold up over time. You can spend time talking with your neighbors and engaging with your community to get recommendations for better-quality contractors, but it may take a while to build up your network this way.
- Property lines can be disputed. The property lines may seem clear when the property is sold, but those lines can easily be disputed—especially if you have a vindictive or stubborn neighbor. If you plant a tree too close to your neighbor’s property or if your neighbor decides they want to build a fence, you could be in store for a long, drawn-out battle—and possibly one that involves the courts. This isn’t to be expected; in fact, most homeowners will get by without ever disputing property lines, but if the issue comes up, it can turn into a massive problem.
- Neighbor issues can escalate quickly. Property lines are just one of the disputes that can arise with your neighbors. As a homeowner, your decisions will have an impact on the homeowners around you, and vice versa. For example, if you cut down a tree that occupies some space on your neighbor’s property, they may be able to take legal action against you. Disputes can also arise in regard to how you manage your property, how your home looks, and overall noise levels.
- Home inspections aren’t perfect. As a prospective homebuyer, you likely already know how important it is to get a thorough, professionally done home inspection. However, even if you hire an experienced inspector and take precautions to ensure the inspection is done as thoroughly as possible, no home inspection is perfect. Your inspector may miss key details, points of damage, or entire sections of your home. After you finalize the home purchase, the sale is final; you may be stuck dealing with the fallout of a damaged property without realizing it, and while in some cases, you can take legal action against the inspector for failing to notice the damage earlier, it’s far from a guarantee that you’ll win the case.
- You may not be allowed to make certain upgrades. Being a homeowner means having the freedom to make the changes to your property that you want to make—but not in all cases. You may find that neighborhood and city-level restrictions prevent you from making certain upgrades to your home, or that your planned area of expansion actually extends beyond your legal property.
Should You Rent Instead?
So do these drawbacks and headaches make homeownership not worth it?
That all depends on your situation. If you have plenty of funds to cover a down payment and ongoing home maintenance expenses, and if you’re willing to deal with unexpected outcomes from disputes and inspections, home ownership is likely the better deal. However, if you’re only going to be in the area for a short period of time, if you’re looking to find living accommodations with the fewest headaches possible, or if your current housing market favors renters, renting can be more advantageous.
Finding the Perfect First Home
Most of these issues can be circumvented, or at least minimized, by taking your time finding the right home and preparing yourself for these eventualities. That’s one reason why working with a buying agent is so important—they can help you not only find more potential houses that fall in line with your existing goals, but help you recognize some of the issues you might otherwise neglect. If you’re looking for help finding your next home, contact Green Residential today!