Becoming a Homeowner
Becoming A Homeowner
Congratulations! Now that you have closed on your home, you are officially a homeowner. But the hard work does not stop here. As a homeowner, you will have a new set of responsibilities and costs that are important to prepare for:
- Moving Expenses: These include renting a van or truck, plus packing material, etc. You can negotiate the best price of a rental by calling different companies. You should retain all receipts related to your moving expenses, as they may be tax deductible. Be sure to check with a qualified tax advisor for details.
- Utility Connection: Gas, electric, water, and telephone services all require hook-up fees in addition to any actual deposits required. You may have to pay a deposit if you have never had a utility account in your name, or if you’re moving from another city or state. If you are currently paying utilities, but the account is in someone else’s name, (landlord, parents, etc.) you should inquire as to whether your name can be added to the account. This may allow you to avoid additional deposits by establishing yourself with the utility provider prior to moving. For example, if you are living with your parents, and everything is under their name, you can request that your name be added to the utility bill. Both names should then show up on the bill. Each utility company has its own requirements, and in some cases, there’s no way around a deposit requirement. Check out our Community Links page for links to local utility companies.
- Impact Fees: For all New Construction there is what is called Impact Fees. The fees are onetime payments used to fund capital improvements necessitated by additional housing units. The fees, help pay for police and fire department equipment, buildings and property, are set based on the level of service provided on a cost per-person basis. All city impact fees are updated at least every five years as mandated by the New Mexico Development Fee Act. Fees are assessed only on new homes and commercial properties. Fees assessed based on dwelling size as measured by square feet.
- Appliances: Your purchase agreement will clearly spell out which, if any, of the major appliances will be transferred with the home. Make sure that you’re prepared to buy whatever you’ll need to establish your new household. You won’t want to wait until moving day to find out you don’t have a refrigerator!
- Furnishings: Typically, homes do not come furnished. You may be able to negotiate curtains, blinds, etc. as part of the sale, but any such agreement must be made a part of the purchase agreement. It’s a good idea to wait until after the closing to purchase any furnishings for your new home.
- Landscaping: Depending on whether you buy a new or existing home, landscaping can be another costly item. Make certain that you have a clear understanding of how much, if any, landscaping is included with your new home. Because landscaping is not usually considered an immediate necessity, you can wait until after closing to address the issue. However, you should keep in mind that part of being a good neighbor is keeping your front landscaping attractive and neat. Also, check to see if your area has covenants regarding landscaping requirements.
- Maintenance and Repairs: Your pre-purchase inspection report should have given you an idea of what, if any, repairs might be needed once you move in. It is a good idea to keep a separate household account to be used for maintenance costs and repairs. Even if your home doesn’t require any immediate repairs, it will at some point. At the very least, you should always set aside enough money to cover the deductible on your hazard insurance in the event of robbery or fire.
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