real estate

5 ways your house can make you go broke

5 ways your home makes you broke
5 ways your home makes you broke © Twin Design/Shutterstock.com

Riding out the life cycle of a mortgage isn't for the faint of heart -- or wallet. It can cost big bucks to buy, maintain, renovate and sell a home. And if you're not careful, your dream house could send you to the poorhouse.

Intensifying the sting from those expenses is the still-shaken real estate market, in which property values are slowly recovering from a historic downturn.

Even with all those factors in play, owning a house doesn't have to be your undoing, experts say. But the perils of homeownership can get the best of you if you fall prey to any of these five scenarios.

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Face it: Owning a home is expensive. And if you're not careful, your piece of the American dream can turn into a financial nightmare.

Experts say with a home, you need to watch your wallet even before you start house hunting. Never look at houses that go beyond your budget, and be sure to factor in all the accompanying expenses, including taxes, insurance and homeowners association fees.

Don't depend on your home to be a good investment. It can take up to 10 years to realize any kind of return, and you may not want to stay put that long.

Don't ignore basic maintenance that can prevent big, costly problems. If you don't spend a few dollars now to change out your air conditioner filter, you can find yourself paying for a whole new unit much sooner than you should. And beware of buying a new home before you've sold your current one, because you can easily wind up with two house payments.

 

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