Buying a home is one of the biggest decisions you’ll ever make. It’s a huge responsibility that requires more than just the act of purchasing the property itself. It means you must also invest in said property by maintaining and upgrading it properly.
As a homeowner, you are responsible for a lot of things in and around the house. Below is a list of things you are responsible for when you own a home. Be sure to consider these things when deciding whether home ownership is for you or not.
1. The Legal Side Of Things
If you’re planning to build a home from the ground up, it’s your responsibility to make sure you have the proper permits in place to do so. Every community is different, so it’s up to you to find out what they require.
Obtaining approval on building permits can take weeks or even months to come through, so skipping this step might be tempting. It’s in your best interest to go through the proper channels, however, because without the right permits, the authorities could halt progress on your house, or worse, demolish it altogether.
2. Dealing With Homeowners’ Associations
If the home you’re considering is in a neighborhood overseen by a homeowners’ association (HOA), you could be in for some difficulty. These associations tend to have strict guidelines you must follow and even stricter enforcement and penalties if you don’t.
The best way to know what your HOA responsibilities are is to read the HOA agreement closely before buying or renting in the neighborhood and attending regular HOA meetings.
3. Paying The Mortgage
Responsible homeowners pay their mortgages on time, plain and simple. Failing to do so can result in harassing phone calls and letters from the lender, as well as legal action and/or foreclosure. To ensure you always have the funds available to pay your monthly mortgage payment, set a clear budget that sets the money aside for this payment before anything else. After all, you have to have a place to live, right?
4. Dealing With Neighbors
Unless you move into the country where houses are few and far between, you’re going to have neighbors. It’s in your best interest to get along with the people who live around you. As a responsible homeowner, you should be polite when you see your neighbors, and you should go out of your way to remedy any situation your neighbors may find disturbing.
5. Understanding The Mortgage
Mortgages can be complicated, so it’s a good idea to understand yours completely so there are no surprises when it comes time to make your first payment. Find out what your payment includes. Are you paying just principal and interest, or does it include escrow for homeowners’ insurance and/or property taxes, too?
Be sure you understand the going interest rates and how they apply to your loan. Is the interest fixed, or will you need to consider refinancing in a few years when your interest rate adjusts? Knowing the answers to these questions will help you prepare for anything that may arise with your mortgage payment in the future.
Owning a home is more than just making monthly payments. There are many things you become responsible for as a homeowner. Although not comprehensive, the list above gives you many things to consider if you’re thinking about buying a house.