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Know the True Cost of Your Home Before You Buy It

Paul and Kim have been married for a year when they decide it’s time to buy their first home. They don’t know it but they are about to make the biggest mistake of their lives.

Paul manages a national car rental agency, and Kim is a bookkeeper at a local pet store. Together they earn $80,000 a year before taxes.

Neither Paul nor Kim has experience buying a home so they call a realtor first for advice. They learn they can get a mortgage that includes taxes and homeowners insurance for $1,933 a month.

It really helps Paul and Kim to know how much money they can borrow.

Soon they find a home they really like in a nice neighborhood. Three bedrooms, two bathrooms, den, garage, and lots more room.

The home is bigger than they need for just the two of them, but the additional space will come in handy. They plan to have two children someday.

They decide to make this their first home.

They don’t need a house this big and the price is higher than what they want to spend. They can borrow the money, so they go ahead.

Both of them are working and they get regular raises. Their money may be tight for some time and it will be worth making temporary adjustments, won’t it? Isn’t home ownership the American dream?

Five years later with two kids and a dog Paul and Kim’s somewhat tight budget is now very tight.

Their salaries have stayed the same and after 9/11, Hurricane Katrina, and the war in Iraq, but almost everything costs more, especially energy. Their finances are a series of budgets and sacrifices with no end in sight.

Paul and Kim are not alone. Many people when buying a home do not think about how much a home costs to operate. Hot water, heat, and air conditioning all add up. They did not check or they might have kept looking for their dream home.

What was once an affordable three bedroom, two bathrooms home can now be very expensive to keep warm and or cool? Energy expenses can total as much as the monthly mortgage payment.

If a home is new, ask the builder if it is energy rated. An energy rating provides information about energy costs. It is a tool for the consumer.

Add a home’s energy costs together with the mortgage costs. Then you will know if you can afford it.

Beware or you too will end up being “House Rich, Cash Poor”.

Paul and Kim liked how the house looked in the beginning but after a while, that good-looking home turned ugly when they became a slave to high-energy costs.

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