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Hidden costs of owning a new home

Gauging building materials' lifespan, environmental impact
Published on Jun 1, 2007

You're buying a new house. You're thrilled and relieved. But if you're like most new-home buyers, you're also confused. What, exactly, do you really need to know -- and how hard is it to find out? Stage front and center on your "need-to-know list" is the price. That is easy to find out. But the sale price represents only the first-time cost. How about the lifetime cost? That's harder to calculate, especially since you may not be familiar with this term. As you might expect, the lifetime cost includes your mortgage payments, property taxes and homeowner's insurance. It also includes the estimated cost for utilities, maintenance (repainting for example) and replacement of various "body parts" as they wear out. While most new-home buyers rarely take the lifetime cost into account, it is a routine consideration for many, if not most, institutions, commercial enterprises and government agencies, as they begin to plan a new building that they expect to occupy for the next 30...

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