Budget for household costs from the outset of the home buying process

Now that the petrol price has dropped, the cost of living may also have fallen, giving you the opportunity to save a little more every month. 

If you are a first-time homebuyer, you may have the long-term goal of buying a house, so putting these savings towards making your dream come true is a good move. According to home finance experts, ooba, planning ahead is essential to avoid unexpected costs during the home buying process.
Eleanor van der Merwe, ooba’s Regional Sales Manager explains, “For discerning home buyers who plan effectively and have saved for a deposit and household costs, 2015 is a good year to enter the property market.” 
Other than saving for a deposit, Van der Merwe advises home buyers to save for household costs from the start of the home buying process. In addition to the home loan repayment, household costs form part of monthly repayments.
Planning for household costs ahead of time will make your new home feel like the reward it is supposed to be, but this is often easier said than done, so what is the best way to build this into your budget?
“The most effective way to budget for household costs is by taking out a home loan of a slightly less value than for what you qualify. This way, you leave room to pay for unexpected household costs,” advises van der Merwe. “By allowing ooba to assist you with a pre-qualification service before searching for a new home, you will have an indication of the home loan repayment you can afford.”
Below van der Merwe lists the top five most common household costs that you need to budget for from the beginning of your home buying process:
1.       Security

Should you not be satisfied with the security in your new home, then you may have to budget for security fitments and the monthly costs of a security company.
2.       Household cleaning services

Unless you prefer cleaning your house yourself, you will need to budget for the cost of getting your new home cleaned before you move in as well as to budget for the monthly costs of domestic help. You may wish to contact a registered agency that helps you find the right person for your family or you may use references from family, friends or colleagues. South African labour laws have a set minimum wage for domestic help but you may increase this amount should your budget allow.
3.       Pool maintenance

If your new home has a swimming pool, then you will need to pay for pool cleaning products and equipment.  Perhaps you would like to use the service of an expert who understands how to keep your pool sparkling, in which case this needs to be factored into your budget.
4.       Satellite TV

You may want to install a satellite TV in your new home. Luckily for you, there are service providers that offer a decoder, a dish and installation at a very good price. Shop around and compare prices to get the best deal. In addition to the once-off installation costs, you will also need to budget for the monthly satellite and TV licence costs.
5.       Mailbox

You may be renting a post office mailbox near your current place of residence, however if you are moving quite a distance from where you are currently then you may also want to close your current mailbox and apply for a new mailbox closer to your new home. This will include a deposit of +/- R30 for the key and an annual fee of +/- R350 for a normal mailbox or +/-R1069 for a private mailbox.

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