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10 Expensive Budget Mistakes New Homeowners Make


Cultura/Hugh Whitaker—Getty Images

Your down payment was far from the last expense you’ll pay as a homeowner.

Shelling out the dough for your house’s down payment was probably the biggest hit your bank account has ever taken, and the account depletion can leave you a little shaken — not to mention ready to start saving again. But your down payment was far from the last expense you’ll pay as a homeowner. Although the next couple of payments may not be as massive as the down payment, homeownership comes at a price — both on closing day and every month after that.

To keep you sane as you embrace your new life as a homeowner (and safe from buyer’s remorse), here are 10 potential expenses new homeowners should put on their radar.

1. Monthly mortgage

Of course, it’s pretty clear from the start that this is the big payment you will need to make on a monthly basis. You can certainly count on paying off your mortgage every month for the next 15 to 30 years, depending on the terms.

2. Property taxes

These are usually paid twice a year, but property tax laws vary state by state (and even by county). The great unknown here is that in some states, property taxes fluctuate year to year. Sometimes they can be reassessed at a lower rate, but realistically, if your tax payments change, you’ll likely be paying more, not less.

3. Homeowners’ insurance

This also varies by state and region and is influenced by other variables such as whether you have a home security feature or a certain number of smoke detectors. Depending on where you live and what kind of coverage you buy, insurance can run you anywhere between $500 and $1,500 or more a year. It helps to bundle your homeowners’ insurance with other types of insurance, such as auto and life. Insurers even offer you discounts for doing so!

4. Hazard insurance

This includes coverage for many types of natural disasters — earthquakes, floods, tornadoes, or hurricanes, depending on location. For example, if you’re looking for homes for sale in San Francisco, earthquake insurance may be more relevant to research than hurricane insurance.

Pro tip: Don’t wait until bad weather is looming to look into this: It’s important to be prepared early. Flood insurance, for instance, has a 30-day waiting period from the date of purchase before your policy goes into effect.

5. Condo, co-op, or homeowners’ association fees — and assessments

If you own a condo, co-op, or townhouse, you’ll pay an annual or monthly fee to maintain the building and grounds. Single-family homes can also have assessments if they are located in a particular area or subdivision with common property. This is routine in gated communities with security guards, a swimming pool, tennis courts, clubhouse, playground, or any common amenity that will need eventual repairs and replacements.

6. Utilities

If you’re renting, you’re probably used to paying monthly utilities. But as a homeowner, chances are, you may be paying a bit more now that you have a home (and maybe more square footage). Think about gas, electric, water, and a couple you probably didn’t deal with as a renter: sewer and trash removal.

Pro tip: Make sure you’re not throwing money away by leaving lights on or overheating or cooling your home. Research how to make your home the most energy-efficient to save money on utilities.

7. Big-ticket renovations and repairs

At some point in your life, you’ve probably been advised to put away money for a rainy day. That’s because a new roof can be very expensive! Upgrading the electrical or plumbing, or something icky such as sewage line issues, are all major costs. Then there are also the renovations you may someday want to make to turn your place into a dream home. Updating the kitchen or the master bath can completely drain your savings. Plan accordingly.

8. Routine maintenance

Things break; appliances wear out, faucets drip, screen doors get walked through. It happens. You’ll want to keep some emergency money handy for a clogged kitchen sink or rusted water heater. You’ll probably average a couple of hundred bucks a month in these “unexpected” costs, so build them into your budget now!

9. Pool and yard care

Depending on how much outdoor space you have to maintain, you’ll need to have money to cover routine expenses. Even if you decide to take the DIY route on some tasks, you’ll still need to hire professionals for occasional work, such as heavy-duty tree trimming or fixing a problem with your pool’s heating system when it breaks down.

10. Moving expenses and new furnishings

These may not be an ongoing expense, but are still a major one after you close on the house. You’re going to need a place to sit and sleep in that shiny new house of yours. Been furniture-shopping lately? It can get expensive, so leave room in your house-buying budget to turn the inside of the home into your own personal paradise!

Pro tip: Invest in some long-term, classically styled furniture so this expense isn’t as massive the next time you move.

Fall Is Here – Prepare Your Home

Happy Fall! Hope you had a nice summer. As the days get shorter and the leaves change colors and fall, keep in mind the following indoor home improvement and maintenance items:

Autumn Fall photo








(Image via Flickr user Kasia, via

Clean out the gutters

Remove debris and make sure gutters are clear so the gutters and drains can work properly

Check your furnace

Make sure your furnace is working properly sooner rather than later. You will also want to change your filter regularly and clean your furnace so it can work more efficiently and not become a fire hazard.

Clean your air ducts and vents

Make sure you do not circulate dusty air and debris caused by uncleaned ducts and vents. Additionally, removing debris, etc. eases airflow and increases the efficiency of the system.

Check for broken window and door seals

Make sure you are not losing (warm) air by checking cracks in the door frames and making sure windows are properly sealed. Also inspect garage doors to see if they close correctly. If not, install door thresholds.

Also, have exterior windows washed, have chimneys and flues inspected and cleaned if necessary and make sure to close all doors promptly, so you don’t have unexpected guests/rodents, etc. as the weather gets colder and they want to go warmer places.


7 Home Inspection Items That Aren’t Included on an Inspection Report

Via HomeAdvisor

Hiring a home inspector is a crucial part of buying or selling a home. An inspector will assess the home for potential problems and identify any issues that may affect the continuation or negotiation of a sale in progress. But it’s also important to understand that inspectors don’t cover all of the bases in a home. In fact, it’s possible that an inspector may miss a significant issue. In many cases, you’ll need to hire a specialist to inspect certain areas, and you should always look closely at everything yourself. Here’s the skinny on the “home inspection checklist” and what is and isn’t covered:

#1 Inspectors don’t check for pests.

Home inspectors are not exterminators — their job is to find potential problems with the structural integrity of the house. So if you think you see a cockroach or another pest during a walkthrough, you’ll need to hire an exterminator to take a closer look. Don’t rely on the checklist or final report to yield that information.

#2 Inspectors don’t cover plumbing.

via Flickr MoToMo

Most home inspectors don’t have the qualifications to look at plumbing and can only call out visible issues like a leak or outdated plumbing. This means they probably won’t look at your:

  • Wall or undersink plumbing pipes
  • Swimming pools
  • Septic tanks

There are exceptions in which an inspector will have the qualifications to look at pools and septic systems, but this varies depending on the inspector and where you live. You shouldn’t rely on your inspector for this in any case. If you see serious cracks or dents in the swimming pool, you should probably hire a swimming pool pro to do an inspection. If you think the septic tank is making weird noises, have someone take a closer look.

#3 Inspectors won’t look at landscaping conditions.

While issues with landscaping should be obvious during a walkthrough — dead spots, potential pests, sprinkler issues, etc. — note that they aren’t on home inspector’s radar. If there’s a dead tree in the yard, you’ll be responsible for taking care of it. It probably won’t affect the final price of the house or your ability to negotiate with the seller.

#4 Appliances aren’t part of the inspection.

via pixabay

Home inspectors check only that the following appliances are working properly:

  • Washers
  • Dryers
  • Dishwashers
  • Refrigerators
  • Stoves

Most inspectors will run these appliances through just a cycle or two to make sure they work. So, the built-in microwave could have major problems and you wouldn’t know it. Plus, unless a major leak or smoke appears, the appliance is considered to be correctly functioning. If you think there’s a major problem, you should have an appliance technician perform diagnostics and necessary repairs.

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Homer Glen Approves Extension for Planned Upscale Shopping Venue

Homer Glen OKs extension for planned upscale shopping venue
Homer Glen upscale shopping center.jpg
A rendering of Waterfall Place, a planned 75,000-square-foot entertainment complex to be built at 12500 W. 159th St. in Homer Glen. (Legacy Development Group, HANDOUT)
By Michelle Mullins
Daily Southtown

An upscale dining and shopping venue is expected to be built in Homer Glen as the Illinois Department of Transportation finishes its 159th Street widening project in a couple of years, officials said.

The Homer Glen Village Board on Wednesday extended for another year its approval of the final development plan for Waterfall Place, a proposed 75,000-square-foot entertainment complex with shopping, boutiques, office space, fine dining, a spa and a gaming arcade to be built at 12500 W. 159th St.

Plans were approved in 2010 but the project stalled both because of the economy and the widening of 159th Street being in limbo.

Legacy Development Group for each of the past three years has requested and received from the Homer Glen Village Board a one-year extension to keep the project alive.

Developer Boris Predovich said Wednesday he hopes to time the construction of Waterfall Place with the end of IDOT’s widening of 159th Street from two lanes to four lanes, a project expected to take about two years after construction begins.

“We have a very active interest in moving forward,” Predovich said. “We have to be respectful to IDOT.”

Years in the making, the widening project is moving forward. Contracts were awarded last year for preliminary work such as tree removal and erosion and sediment control.

Waterfall Place is geared for families and is expected to draw regional interest, Predovich said.

Trustees also agreed to a request by A Touch of Green to move its monument sign but keep its electronic messaging board.

A Touch of Green, 12720 W. 159th St., is being forced to move its sign because of the widening of 159th Street. The company wanted to update its sign but still retain its electronic message board, but electronic signs are prohibited under the village’s sign ordinance.

Since the company had its sign before the village incorporated, the electronic message board was grandfathered in, but some trustees said that the business should comply with the sign ordinance since it is now changing its sign.

Other trustees said they were sympathetic to the business’s plight, noting that IDOT’s construction is forcing the sign relocation.

The board voted 4-3 to allow A Touch of Green to retain the electronic message board. Trustees Margaret Sabo, George Yukich and Sharon Sweas voted against it.

Michelle Mullins is a freelance reporter.

Inventory Rises To Meet Demand For Housing

The Federal Saving Bank shares reports on how housing inventory is rising to meet demand.

According to a July 17th joint release from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the U.S. Department of Commerce, construction increased in June 2015. The Federal Savings Bank thinks this jump in construction will also meet the rising demand for housing as first-time home buyers decide to invest in real estate.

Construction increases in June
The volume of building permits in June jumped 7.4 percent when compared to the previous month. The number of authorized privately-owned housing units was also 30 percent higher on a year-over-year basis.

In addition to building permits increasing during the month of June, the total number of housing starts rose 26.6 percent from the previous year.

The joint press release also indicated housing completions of privately-owned structures increased 22 percent when compared to June 2014.

According to The Wall Street Journal in a July 17th release titled “Apartment Demand Drives Home Construction”, multi-family housing was the primary driver of new construction. In fact, the number of new condos and apartments increased 29.4 percent in June when compared to the previous month.

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Coldwell Banker Presents Homes for Dogs National Pet Adoption Weekend with

Coldwell Banker Presents Homes for Dogs National Pet Adoption Weekend with

Coldwell Banker is committed to reaching the goal of helping find 20,000 dogs forever homes through our partnership with So we’re sponsoring the first ever Homes for Dogs National Pet Adoption Weekend, August 1-2, 2015! You can find your local event by searching

Real Estate Appraisals

Guaranteed Rate has a new ebook about appraisals. Lenders always receive a lot of questions from borrowers regarding what the appraisal process is, and what the results will mean for them. To view this resource, click here: Appraisals Explained

(by clicking you acknowledge the poster is not responsible for any errors and acknowledges no known viruses or similar in the attachment)

Real Estate Superstitions

Real Estate Superstitions…do you think there are such things?

Tomorrow is another Friday the 13th, so while we are all hoping a black cat doesn’t cross our path or we don’t open an umbrella indoors, let’s take a look at what some consider superstitions when it comes to real estate.

– Having an eight (8) in the listing or rental price is a sign of good luck and prosperity (pronounced similarly to the Chinese word for wealth and prosperity).

– The number 13 is considered unlucky by many…especially if it is on the 13th floor. Many high-rise building (especially residential buildings) skip the 13th floor.

– Properties that sit on curved roads or facing a ‘T’ intersection, some say, can invite bad fortune.

– Removing a for sale sign, or scheduling movers, etc. before it is a solid deal, some say, can jinx a transaction

– Hide knives when showing your home/in home home photos and don’t give a knife as a housewarming present, which some say leads to having enemies.

– Placing a statue of an elephant, or a pair of elephants, at the front door, some say, brings good luck, protection and strength to the household

What to Do Before Home Shopping

Shopping for a home can be exciting. However, don’t let the thoughts of your dream house overshadow what has to be done before you even start looking.


Some people assume they are able to buy a home and that they can afford a specific price range, based on their salary. What not all buyers realize is that their debt may be higher and/or credit score lower than they think. Before you even start your home search, you need to get a pre-approval from a lender. If you are a cash buyer, you will need to have ready a proof of funds. It is not uncommon for some home sellers to request to see a pre-approval letter or proof of funds and Agents don’t show properties without those.


Another thing some people don’t think of is just because you’ve been pre-approved, doesn’t necessarily mean you will get a clear-to-close approval. The loan underwriter can and will question any changes in your financials, which can limit your chance of a loan. With that said:

– Avoid buying any big ticket items such as a car, furniture, etc.

– Don’t change jobs. (they check to make sure you are still employed right before closing)

– Avoid unexplained large deposits into your bank account


For the most part, unless you’ve been in school, and just started working in the same industry you studied in school, lenders will want to see the loan applicant to be on the same job for at least six months at the time of application. If you are self employed or an independent contractor, be prepared to show at least your last two years of taxes. If your numbers are tight, they will also want to make sure you were not making less year over year.

Ten Reasons this Spring Could Be Great for the Housing Market

Ten reasons this spring could be great for the housing market:

( via and originally posted on Fortune )

The U.S. housing market could get a major boost this year, specifically for single-family homes—especially among first-time buyers. Here’s why:

1. Everyone sees that the zero interest rate party is coming to an end. If you’ve been waiting to borrow, it’s getting close to “now or never” time.

2. Demand is pent-up, and pent-up things eventually get un-pent, sometimes all at once.

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