American workers commute about 50 minutes a day to and from work. Millions of Americans are on the road more than an hour a day just to travel from home to work. That’s two hours round trip each workday. This amount of time spent on the road makes it easy to understand why anyone would focus their home buying choice on how close a new house is to their job.

Short commutes may not get you all the savings you want

But, making the distance between your home and job the primary factor that will determine where you live may end up costing you more than you think. Buy a house in a major city like Philadelphia, New York or Chicago and you’re going to pay city income tax. Property taxes in these areas may also be higher than what you’d pay if you move further away from the heart of the city. Other costs that you might face include:

Move to a major metropolis and you’ll see lots of power lines. The good thing is that you’ll have lots of juice. The downside is that power could go out frequently because those power lines are feeding energy into lots of houses. If this happens, power outages could force you to buy a backup generator.

Construction could become an issue if you buy a house that’s in a developing area. The fact that a lot of large companies are located near busy hubs could increase your chances of having to deal with construction. Although construction may not lengthen your commute distance, it will likely extend your commute time.

Other costs that you may incur

You’re not the only one who would love to live and spend time close to major business hubs. People who choose to steal also frequent these areas. This single factor alone could cause you to need a home security system, and not just any home security system. You may have to pay for a security system that lets you view your house while you’re away. The type of home security system that’s sold at housewares stores may not deliver all the security services that you need.

Home owner’s insurance fees might be higher, again depending on where your new house is located. Shop around and compare homeowner’s insurance prices before you buy a new house.

Houses in new developments may come with homeowner’s association fees. These fees range from $100 to several hundred dollars a month. Although you’ll have some services like landscaping and community recreation included in your homeowner’s association fees, you’ll be responsible for repairs that are made to your actual house.

Concerning,repairs, if your new house that’s closer to your job site is on a busy street,you could pay for sidewalk, driveway and mailbox repairs. The mailbox repairs could come if drivers bang into your mailbox while they speed down the street.People also might back in and out of your driveway if they take a wrong turn or get lost.

A house that’s 10 or fewer miles from your job saves you gas money. That’s for sure.But, depending on the residential areas that surround your workplace, buying a house close to your job could end up devouring those fuel savings. If the residential area is declining, you could end up owning a house that cost more than it’s worth. You could also be forced to take on other costs that you hadn’t previously thought about or budgeted for.

Excitement over buying a new house, especially if the sticker price on the house is good,could cause you to overlook key factors about the property. If you get too emotionally attached to the idea of living in a new house, you could rationalize away water stains that you see on walls. You could also dismiss how cold and damp the basement is or how humid it is in the attic.

High price of rationalizing away house problems

It’s these very defects that can cost you thousands. The trick is that you probably won’t start dealing with issues related to one or more house defects until after you move in. By then, it could be too late. Then, again you may have some safeguards.

Investing in homeowners insurance that covers standard events like fires and theft is just a start. You also want to get insurance that covers events like floods ,earthquakes, mud slides and tornadoes, whichever events generally occur in the area that the house is located in.

  • To protect yourself against house defects, ask the seller to complete a home disclosure form. Depending on the state that the house is located in, this might be required by law. If not, ask the seller to list out any known defects that the house has and to sign and date the form. Work with your attorney or real estate agent to get this document.
  • Check to see if defects that appear after you move into the house were listed on the house inspector’s report. If they were and you missed seeing the defects, you may be responsible for associated repairs. If the defects were not picked up by the inspector, contact your local housing authority. Explain the situation and see if you have legal recourse. You could also work with your attorney on this.
  • Hire your own house inspector before you move into a house. This applies whether it’s a newly constructed house or an older home.
  • Make sure that a house built before 1978 is inspected for lead paint.
  • Get the house inspected for defects such as asbestos, mold and mercury levels before you buy the house. Clearly ask inspectors to check for these items. Also, make sure that the wiring, plumbing and the roof are checked.

Paying for an independent home inspection before you buy a house is a great way to find out specific problems that you could be taking on with a new property before you sign a contract. If you live in a state like California, you can have added protections, as some state regulations require sellers to fill out, sign and date disclosures that list out known defects associated with the house they are selling.

Because you are the one who will be living in the house and maybe paying a mortgage on the property for several years, make it your responsibility to check for problems.Make it your responsibility to ensure that you’re getting the best housing deal possible and not only as it relates to the price of the house.

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