When you own a property, you have to pay for certain bills and expenses that you wouldn't have done as a renter. Here's a list of all the costs you should budget for.
Your payments may vary from one month to the next depending on what type of mortgage you have. It is important to check whether you'll be able to afford your mortgage in the long term before you make any decisions.
These include your electricity, gas and water bills. They will usually increase every year, but some energy providers increase charges at a far faster rate, so it's worth keeping an eye on this and switching if you think you're paying too much.
The energy performance certificate for the property you're buying will help you see how energy efficient the building is, which should give an indication of how much your bills will be.
You'll probably want broadband and digital TV in your new home, and maybe a landline, too. Often, new customers will get better deals than existing ones, so it's worth shopping around and considering switching to find the best deal each year.
Properties are classified in bands ranging from A to H and, as strange as it might seem, the price you pay is usually determined by what the home was worth in 1991. The seller or estate agent should be able to tell you which band your new home is in, or you can look it up online.
If you think your property is in the wrong council tax band and you're paying too much tax, you can appeal against your banding. But be aware that the council could decide to move your property into a more expensive band rather than a cheaper one, so you should only appeal after carefully researching what your neighbours are paying.
Home Repairs and Maintenance
These costs vary from one property to another. It's worth putting a bit of money aside each month so that you're prepared if you're hit with unforeseen maintenance or repairs costs.
Some of the most common types of maintenance that you should factor into your budget include boiler servicing: it's worth getting your boiler serviced once a year - when you come to sell your home some buyers will ask about this. If you have to get a new one, make it more manageable using one of the boiler finance options.
Electrics: you should get your electrics safety-checked every five to 10 years.
Decoration: cosmetic changes, such as painting and decorating rooms, will also generally need to be done every five to 10 years.
And renovations: one-off renovation work, such as replacing kitchens and bathrooms, might be done every 10-20 years.
When you own a home, you'll have to pay for buildings insurance (unless you own a leasehold property). This type of insurance is required by most mortgage providers. It's also advisable to take out contents insurance to protect your belongings.