The housing crunch hit Nevada especially hard, and many are considering hiring a Las Vegas bankruptcy lawyer to find out their options about reducing debt. Most of the time, people think of their mortgage as the biggest expense when considering keeping their home versus a short sale or a deed in lieu agreement.
In reality, there are six other costs to consider before deciding whether staying in the home is worth it.
- Property Taxes. These can vary depending on your home’s value, but they can constitute a significant amount added on to your mortgage payment that you wouldn’t see when renting.
- Homeowners insurance. This usually adds on only about $1,000 per year, but it’s worth remembering that you pay it. Moreover, if your home is older than others, it’ll cost more to insure.
- Utilities. These eat at your monthly bill by taking out little bits at a time. Electricity, gas, water, sewer, phone bills, cable or satellite, and Internet service can cost quite a bit.
- Physical maintenance. If you are leaning towards staying in your house over moving into a rental, remember that in a rental, the landlord pays for most of the repairs. If pipes burst, the roof leaks, or the furnace breaks down, that’s the landlord’s responsibility. As a homeowner, not only do you have to pay for everything, but you also have to ensure you have a budget to deal with breakdowns as they mount. Saving money, in a way, costs you as well. That’s money you can’t spend on a vacation, for example.
- Exterior maintenance. Renters do not have to mow lawns and trim bushes. Neighbors of homeowners consider an unkempt house’s appearance an indicator that their house is less valuable, and they are afraid it will be appraised as less should they want to sell it. Thus, renting means less yard work, as well as less paid to landscapers.
- Furniture. Rentals are usually smaller, so people don’t need to fill them with as much stuff. Decorating and redecorating an apartment is less of a chore.
When it comes to bankruptcy, it’s important to note that these costs, tacked on to your mortgage, can increase the costs of continued homeownership beyond what you can pay, or it can cripple your finances to the point that you can’t save for other needs, like your retirement.
For more questions about bankruptcy in Las Vegas, please feel free to contact an experienced Haines & Krieger Las Vegas bankruptcy attorney for a free initial consultation.