Wednesday, 1 August 2018

OWNING A HOUSE| MONTHLY EXPENSES

Owning your first house is an absolute minefield because you never fully know what to expect especially when it comes to how much it's going to cost. I found that figuring out whether I could afford to live on my own with a mortgage was the main thing that actually worried me during the whole house buying process because I didn't really have a proper clue about what my monthly outgoings would be. 

Obviously I realise that everyone's will be slightly different and some of us will be in a better position than others with regards to monthly outgoings that we can't avoid due to being stuck in contracts etc. but I wanted to give you a rough idea of what you would need to think about when it comes to monthly expenses when you own your first home so here are my monthly 'non-negotiables' shall we say, basically the stuff that I can't avoid paying if I want to continue living in my house:


Mortgage - obviously the figure will differ massively depending on the house you're buying, how long the mortgage term is, how much deposit you're putting down but the bottom line is that this is probably going to be one of the biggest, if not the biggest expense every month.

Council Tax - again, the figure will differ depending on the size of your house and your local authority but it will probably be another fairly significant figure coming out of your account every month. Before buying a property you can check your council tax band on the government website or if you're buying a new build you'd have to ask any current residents on your development for an idea; they wouldn't be able to give you a definitive answer but you'd get a rough figure according to similar houses on the development.

Gas & Electricity - Clearly, the bigger your house and the more people living there, the bigger your utility bills are going to be and to be honest for the first few months you'll be billed based on estimations but you can get these estimations from your provider's website just by giving them a little bit of information about your daily habits. Your bills will eventually level out as they get a better understanding of your usage but do make sure you keep in touch with your provider to make sure you're on the best deal! Companies like USwitch can be really helpful if you are buying an existing build and for new build owners I would personally recommend staying with whoever the provider was before you bought the house if you're happy with the tariff because as I say it's very difficult to estimate if you've no idea of usage at all and they have no previous data from the house. Obviously the choice is totally yours but I just preferred to keep it as hassle free as possible when I moved in, I'm currently on a fixed tariff for both gas and electricity until February 2019 with British Gas but I will 100% be shopping around next year when the term is up!

Water - If you're buying a new build house then you'll definitely be on a water meter which means that you're charged for every drop you use. Some older houses don't have water meters and those who use a lot would probably benefit from the old system but if you are on a water meter you might want to look at some tips on how to save water so that you don't get any nasty shocks when the bill arrives. I'm not saying you should have a world war 2 fill line around the bath but a water meter definitely does make you think about the water you use. 

House Insurance - Another non-negotiable purely because your mortgage company will insist on this and you obviously want the peace of mind knowing that you'll be covered if anything does go wrong. Can be another slightly tricky one if you're a new build owner because postcodes aren't always recognised and some insurers won't insure on a property when they're unsure of the risk factors (fair enough I suppose) but again within a year or so Royal Mail should have indexed your address and you shouldn't have too much trouble when your renewal comes up. You could of course pay this in full if you have the spare cash but I personally pay monthly for mine. I have buildings and contents insurance, even though the only actual requirement for my mortgage is buildings, I figured it was sensible to get things covered in case of a break-in etc. 

Broadband & Phone Line - Not an absolute essential, some may say, but for me it's 100% on my non-negotiables list. I waited almost a month before I got it installed because they were rolling out fibre in my area and it was like my left arm had been chopped off (I say left because I'm left-handed). I went with BT and probably pay slightly over the odds for what I get (and I've had notification that it's going up! *eye roll*) but I prefer familiarity and reliability where possible and to be fair to them they were super efficient at getting my line connected etc. I do have (and pay for) a phone line but I don't have a phone connected to it - purely because I'd have no use for it. The purpose it would serve is to irritate me with junk phonecalls. 

TV Licence - I personally don't pay monthly for this, I paid the £150.50 yearly fee in full because I could afford to at the time and it brought my monthly financial commitments down slighty. But there are other ways to pay for your TV licence by spreading the cost over the year. Again, another non-negotiable if you watch live TV because it's a legal requirement. 

There are of course other personal costs that will be quite different from one person to another so I'll leave that for another post but there's my roundup of all the expenses you can expect when owning your first home. If you've got any questions please do tweet me or instagram message me and I'll do my best to help!

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