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There are many joys with buying a house. However the bills are one of them, lol. Some people who look at buying a house simply look at whether or not they can afford the mortgage payment.
Owning a home is more than just the mortgage – you typically have other costs that can you have to include in your estimates such as utilities, property taxes, and home insurance.
If you live in a condo development like we do, you also have HOA fees. We had some changes over the past year on our housing bills.
HOA Fees: Higher
Earlier this year our homeowners association raised our monthly HOA fees about 16%. Since the management group has been changed.
Late this summer we found out we had a completely different company we were working with.
Well, we just received a letter last week with the proposed budget for 2013 and it includes another increase about 16% as well.
According to the new management team, they are raising the fees because:
- Delinquencies – As of last month, the association was short a large amount for Accounts Receivable.
- Utilities Increased – Common areas are maintained by the association and costs have gone up.
- No reserves – Not getting the income planned means that the management team dipped into the reserves to pay for the lawn maintenance electricity, and other common area service providers.
- Insurance – It looks like insurance costs have risen as well.
There's a meeting next month to discuss the changes.We'll see how that goes.
Electricity and Gas Bills: Slightly Lower
Two bills that we're doing well with is our electric bill and our gas bill for our place.
Compared to last year, our bills have been about 10% lower. We've done some work to get our house energy efficient.
I'm happy that our costs have gone down and we'll continue to look for ways to keep our home comfortable and affordable as winter approaches.
Property Taxes Paid
After reviewing our last mortgage statement we noticed that our property taxes are paid for.
It's the same as last year, so no change there. We definitely wouldn't want to see our tax bill go up.
Thoughts on Housing Bills
It's really been beneficial for us to have a mortgage based on one income.
It did limit our choices when it comes to houses, but it's us freedom to use the second income for savings, investing, and paying down debts.
I'd love to hear from you about your auxiliary housing costs like HOA fees and utility bills. Have they've risen?
Photo Credit: Dennis Wong