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Understanding the True Costs of Homeownership: Beyond the Down Payment

May 16, 2024
Understanding the true cost of homeownership

Buying a home is a huge milestone and perhaps the largest purchase most of us will ever make. It's important for those who are interested in homeownership to understand the benefits of buying a home versus renting and what a smart investment this decision is for your future. It's also important to understand that homeownership is a lifestyle choice and one that will impact your financial status.

True Costs of Homeownership After the Down Payment

As a new homeowner, you certainly don’t want any surprises when it comes to the additional costs of homeownership. That's why it's a savvy move to educate yourself about all the costs involved with buying and owning a home in addition to the mortgage. Here are some of the expenses to consider when purchasing a home.

The Basic Costs of Homeownership 


  • Mortgage Payment: Your monthly home mortgage payment may include some of the additional costs involved with homeownership but not always. In addition to paying the principal and interest on the loan, the payment can also include property taxes and private mortgage insurance, often referred to as PMI. 

  • Insurance: As a homeowner, there are certain required insurance policies you must have on the home. These include:

    • Homeowners: This policy protects your home and the contents from disasters such as fire, theft, tornadoes, etc. 

    • Flood: This policy protects against damage to the home that is directly caused by flooding.

    • Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI): A mandatory insurance policy for those who buy a home with a down payment of less than 20%. This policy protects the lender in case the borrower defaults on the loan. 

  • Property Taxes: Those who own homes in Georgia and South Carolina will pay property taxes that are calculated annually. Property taxes are assessed by the local government and are used to fund public services like police, fire departments, and schools. 

Additional Homeownership Expenses

  • Homeowners Association (HOA) Dues: Depending on your community, you may have HOA dues, which cover the cost to maintain common areas in the development. Dues are paid monthly, quarterly or annually, and should be considered a recurring expense that will last as long as you own the home. Cost varies by location and amenities, and can range from a few hundred to thousands of dollars depending on your community.
  • Maintenance and Home Improvement:  According to the 10% rule, homeowners should set aside about 10% of the total Mortgage payment each month for maintenance and improvements. As a homeowner, you should pay attention to outdated items such as floors, appliances, HVAC systems, wiring, and roofs to ensure they are replaced or updated as needed. Updates will also help increase the value of your home. 
  • Emergency Repairs: At some point, your home will need unexpected repairs and if you're not prepared, it could put you in a financial crisis. Homeowners should understand the importance of maintaining an emergency fund for unexpected issues so your finances aren't strained. 



Comparing Costs: Renting vs. Owning a Home

  • Increasing Rent vs. Fixed Mortgage Payments: Having a fixed monthly Mortgage payment gives you financial stability to plan your budget now and in the future.

  • Equity Building: A home's equity is the difference between the amount you owe on a Mortgage and the home's value. As the value of your home increases, the more you'll earn when you sell. 

  • Customization and Freedom: Homeownership gives you freedom to create the home of your dreams with no limits on paint colors, flooring, appliances, renovations, and even décor.

  • Tax Advantages: Homeowners may benefit from certain tax advantages such as deducting your Mortgage interest. Be sure to consult with a tax advisor to learn more about this.  

Peach State's Homeownership Solutions

We understand buying a home can bring on feelings of excitement and uncertainty. Choosing the right financing for your budget and financial needs can be a daunting decision to make. Our Mortgage team will work with you one on one and guide you every step of the way making sure the homebuying process is as seamless as possible. 

Whether you’re ready to get started or are unsure where to begin, we’re here to help answer any questions that you may have. Contact our Mortgage Services Department by calling 770.580.6098 or start your online pre-approval. Let's get you setup for success on your homeownership journey!

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