The decision to rent or buy can be complicated. There are a lot of factors to consider–market statistics, home prices, how long you plan to stay in your home, how fast rents rise, and so on. There are online calculators that can give you a rough idea of whether it would be better for you to rent or buy. I personally like this one from the New York Times. Yahoo Real Estate also offers a handy online calculator.
And while these calculators allow you to factor in some of the obvious costs of home ownership–property taxes, homeowners’ insurance, annual maintenance estimates–there are a number of hidden costs that come with owning your own home. Trulia.com recently released a list of hidden ownership costs, which I’ve passed on below, with a few local tweaks:
1. Special assessments. Homeowners’ association (HOA) or monthly maintenance fees are standard costs with condominium buildings and a number of Oahu housing communities. But what a lot of people fail to consider is the possibility that owners, particularly those who own in older buildings, may be hit with special assessment fees to cover the costs of unforeseen repairs that the HOA reserves simple can’t cover.
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