For some people in California, purchasing a home is just another business transaction. For others, it is a sign of the ultimate achievement of the American Dream. Regardless of whether this is a person’s first or fiftieth real estate transaction, certain factors may affect the initial or ongoing cost of owning the home. Here are a few factors to keep in mind.

Homeowners should always verify if the house is on a floodplain. Note that even deserts have floodplains, so it is important not to let terrain and climate distract buyers from asking the question. According to Business Insider, FEMA posts online maps that show whether or not the property sits in a flood plain. This can make flood insurance necessary, which makes the house more expensive to own.

A more obvious cost of owning a home is the initial asking price. By paying too much for a house, homeowners could get locked into an underwater mortgage, making it potentially decades before they build any real equity. For ethical reasons, agents may not tell homebuyers how much to put in for an offer, but they should provide information on market rates. If the home is a fixer-upper, a contractor may provide an estimate on the cost of repairs and what the initial cost of ownership should be.

Finally, there is the short sale, which is one of the best ways that investors can acquire property for a steal. According to Forbes, short sales may occur when a property lost significant value. Simply put, these homes are often fixer uppers as owners may lapse on not just payments to the bank, but maintenance. Fixer uppers may have a lot of hidden problems, so what appears to be an initial cheap investment could be a costly one in the long run. Because of this, buyers cannot skimp on due diligence for short sales.