When you own a home you will have more responsibilities to take care of the home and property, unless you own a condo. As with renting, you must be sure to pay your mortgage on time every month. Your mortgage payment will likely include the loan amount, interest on the loan, property taxes and homeowners insurance. It may also include mortgage insurance if your down payment was less than 20% of the purchase price of the home.
Mortgage Payment Plan
It is important to have a plan for how you will pay your mortgage every month. If you need help with making a plan, talk with your HSS specialist, case manager or family and friends.
HOA Rules and Compliance
Many communities have a Homeowners Association (HOA) that sets rules for how the community looks, how it is maintained and how the community communicates about issues. HOAs can be very different, so it’s important to read the rules and guidelines carefully. In Maryland, you will have the opportunity to review the HOA rules and agree to them before committing to purchase a home. Also know that HOAs charge a fee which needs to be considered in your monthly budget. Some HOA fees are small – less than $200 per month, while others can be more than $1,000 per month.
Getting Along with Condo Community and Staff
Some HOAs have staff that are on site regularly to maintain the community and common areas. It is important to have a good relationship with the staff. They can help you with maintenance issues.
Reporting Maintenance Issues Covered by the HOA
The HOA will have a central number you can call to report problems that it can fix. Examples include burned out street light bulbs, ice on sidewalks, dead shrubs, broken windows, etc.
Maintaining Your Home
Maintaining a home you own is much different from maintaining a home you rent. As a homeowner, you are responsible for fixing things when they break, getting the grass cut and the bushes trimmed, replacing the roof when it gets older, painting the siding if it is wood and the wood trim, power washing the house and deck, fixing or replacing appliances, etc. You will need to have extra money that you can put aside to pay for home maintenance. For larger projects, you may want to borrow money or apply for a forgivable loan or grant.
Financing Home Maintenance and Improvement
The state of Maryland has programs that may help pay for home improvement and modifications for accessibility. Learn more about programs to help you finance your home improvements on the Financial Options and Resources for Homeowners Page