Best-selling author, real estate expert and "Extra's" Mansions and Millionaires host Michael Corbett gives you some hot tips on the best ways to buy a home -- all from his new book, "Before You Buy!"
This week's tip:
A homebuyer's hidden expense is the cost of commuting. A three-bedroom home in the suburbs is nice, but the nightmare might be the hour-and-a-half drive to work! If you have the kind of job that puts you on the 9-to-5 work schedule, the whole commuting thing is an enormous factor in deciding where you are going to buy.
This happens to be one of the items homebuyers most often forget to add to their monthly budgets. They often fail to take into account the impact of commuting on their quality of life as well.
* Cost of gas: If you commuted 40 miles each way to work and got 20 miles per gallon, paying $3.25 a gallon, that comes out to $260 a month, or $3,120 per year just for gas.
* Wear and tear on your car: Now include the cost of the wear and tear of those 1,600 miles a month, or 19,200 miles per year, on your car. That could be worth thousands in repairs and decreased life span of your car.
* What is your time worth? This expense is one that speaks for itself.
If you factor that extra money into your monthly budget, the slightly less expensive house farther from your job may not really be less expensive. You should check, but keep in mind that even after you run the numbers and factor in the commuting costs, you still may be getting much more home for your money.
For more tips and guidelines, check out Corbett's book "Before You Buy!" on Amazon.com.