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When you eventually decide to buy your own home, it can be a long and arduous process from viewing several properties, to putting in an offer and arranging your mortgage, along with legal costs and other fees associated with purchasing a property. However, it is a good idea to understand the costs of owning your own home as paying your mortgage each month isn’t the only thing you need to worry about.

You obviously need to be aware of the utility and energy bills. The combination of water, gas and electricity can prove rather expensive each month, reaching in excess of a few hundred pounds depending on the size of your property. The energy bills are something you can’t often reduce that much either, although there are ways to find the best deal on your gas and electricity. And with constant rising energy prices, it is a good idea to factor in any increases you may find occur in the future.

Council tax is another one that should be a priority for your property. This is paid to your local council to cover costs relating to policing, road maintenance, refuse collection and other council related things. Depending on the size of your property and also the area you live, your council tax bill can vary from a few hundred pounds a year to many thousands.

Whatever property you own, you will need to consider buildings and contents insurance, which covers the structural part of your property as well as contents such as furniture, appliances and electrical goods. You can choose to have everything insured or only select items but depending on how much your home is worth and what you are looking to insure, will depend on the cost of your insurance, which can vary from a few pounds a month to hundreds of pounds. The minimum you should consider is at least buildings insurance in case of any major problems in the future, otherwise you could find yourself with a huge bill for the cost of your home, whilst still responsible for the remainder of your mortgage.

If you live in an apartment or any kind of leasehold property, you may find yourself with additional charges for things such as ground rent or service fees. You may also need to contribute towards structural repairs, among other things so it’s a good idea to check the small print and understand exactly what your responsibilities are when purchasing a leasehold property.

You may also be responsible for purchasing a residents permit for parking, along with visitors permits if you need parking availability around your home. This is usually payable annually, but you will need to check the details with the person responsible for managing the parking or your local council. You could be liable for a fine if you park without a permit. And don’t forget extra’s such as television, broadband and telephone. All of which can add up to a considerable amount so it’s a good idea to consider all of these things before committing to buying your own home.

by Cormac Henderson

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