Most of the time, I love owning my home. I have the opportunity to decorate it the way I want, and I increase my capital – and therefore wealth – with each mortgage payment.
But while ownership has significant advantages, there are also certain disadvantages. There are three things I particularly dislike about home ownership that are simply inevitable.
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1. Property taxes
Real estate taxes can be very expensive in many parts of the country, including where I live. My property taxes are almost equal to my monthly mortgage payments. I can pay off my mortgage over time, but I have to pay real estate taxes forever, and I have no control over whether and when they grow.
Most people pay real estate tax as part of their monthly mortgage payments. Lenders collect money and keep it in deposit account they take money to pay the property tax bill. I decided to opt out of escrow because I prefer to pay these taxes directly. To minimize the pain of accumulating this amount of money, I save my property taxes monthly in a high-yielding savings account. That way, I don’t have to come up with a lot of money in one go, and I earn small interest on it until the due date.
2. Ongoing maintenance costs
To maintain the value of my property, I try to keep up with the maintenance of the home. This means I immediately fix minor issues like faucet leaks or paint chips. I also clean gutters, change HVAC filters, clean and maintain air conditioners, and do many other routine tasks at least once a year.
All these tasks take time and money. And I will bear these costs as long as I am a homeowner. I try to be prepared to cover these costs so that I never have to borrow money or even use my emergency fund. I do this by maintaining a high-yielding savings account for home renovations and investing 1% of my home’s value in it annually.
3. Repair work
Another big downside to being a homeowner is that I need to manage repairs if something goes wrong. Instead of calling the landlord, I have to find a plumber or electrician, make an appointment to get a quote, and pay the bills as soon as I decide which renovator to use. I also need to research companies to make sure they are reliable.
Asking my neighbors for referrals and maintaining a list of service providers helped me minimize this disadvantage, as did my home repair / maintenance fund. But this is still one of my least favorite parts of owning real estate.
Despite these drawbacks, I believe owning a home is the best move for me – and it can be a great way to increase your net worth if you’re financially ready to become a homeowner. But before you buy, think about the downsides and be prepared for the negative aspects of home ownership while you look forward to the positive.