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First time buyers think about:  How much time does home maintenance require?

One of the biggest surprises first-time homebuyers face is how much extra time owning a place takes. If you have been renting an apartment, then chances are the landlord or property manager takes care of routine maintenance and small repairs. It can be a jolt to find out how much time and money you will need to spend on small things you have taken for granted. Use these quick tips to test how buying a home will impact your budget and schedule:

1 Take one weekend to do the yard for a friend or family member who owns a home. This will give you an idea of how long it will take you to mow the lawn, trim the hedges, blow leaves or snow, and other routine tasks. Planting, trimming trees and other seasonal or yearly projects take even longer.

2 Price having lawn and pool maintenance done for you or go to the local home improvement center to price the cost of lawn mowers, weeders, blowers and other tools.

3 Consider the time and cost required for pool or spa maintenance, landscaping, painting, window cleaning and other annual projects. Don’t forget pest control and recycling/garbage collection.

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