What it costs to be a homeowner

You have to make sure you know exactly what you're paying for before you buy a house. Even if you're already a home owner, make sure you're not wasting any money unwarily. 

A couple of industry experts helped us create this home owner’s budget checklist for you. Use it as guidance to make the right decisions and save money.

Your bond repayment instalments

The bulk of your expenses will go to paying your bond off. On average this takes between 10-30 years, but the idea is to pay it off as soon as possible.

  • Three top tips

    • Put down as much deposit as you can. The less you still owe, the smaller your total costs become. You want your monthly instalments to be at its minimum.

    • Treat your bond like a savings account. Every time you have spare cash, put it in. You can still withdraw equity in case of emergencies, but you’d be surprised how quickly savings add up if you’re committed.

    • Consider taking out 100% bond and pay your full deposit as your first installment. This cuts down the total amount of interest you will pay tremendously.

Running costs

These expenses start the day you move in. You can’t get rid of them, but you can manage some of them.

  • Utilities

    • You save on water and lights by using it sparingly. But do you know how many home owners waste money because of leaking pipes and faulty electrical wiring. Have a qualified electrician and plumber conduct an inspection to make sure everything is in order. Faulty appliances also draw a lot of energy, so upgrade where you need to if you want to save cash in the long run.
  • Municipal rates and taxes

    • Unfortunately this is a fixed rate and you can’t do anything to cut costs. However if you’re a property owner letting your property out, make sure you keep accurate record of all deductible expenses for tax assessment purposes.
  • Insurance

    • Home owners insurance is mandatory if you have a bond. This covers the structure, fittings and fixtures of your house in case of damage caused by accident, malicious activity or bad weather. Your house is your asset, so even if you have paid it off you want to protect it.

    • Home content insurance is optional, and covers your belongings inside the house. The best advice here is to get it. Precautionary expenses are always worth it.

Maintenance costs

Be prepared to repair. You want to keep your house in excellent condition so be responsible with upkeep and care.

  • Some of the things you'll spend money on include

    • Renovations. These are inevitable but it’s all a part of the fun. Plan the big picture out properly so you can manage your expenses for major renovations over the next few years.

    • Maintenance on unexpected damage. Fix minor problems as soon as you see them to avoid costly repairs.

    • Gardeners and domestic workers. This becomes a part of many home owners’ running costs. Whether you need it and how often is up to you, but it sure does contribute towards continuous upkeep.

    • Get yourself an electrician, plumber or all round handyman and keep their numbers safe.

A little bit of discipline goes a long way. If you manage your expenses properly you will enjoy a stress-free financial investment. Now all that’s left to do is sit back, love your new home and cherish all the beautiful memories that will come from it!

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