The Real Cost of Home Ownership

thinking of dream house

You may think that the financial surprises will stop after you sign the mortgage, but sadly, there are also hidden costs to homeownership that you may not know of until you get the keys to the house.

Don’t let these expenses throw you for a loop. Along with every other type of expense, the best way to deal with them is to be prepared. That said, here are some of the biggest hidden costs of homeownership that usually take first-time homeowners by surprise.

HOA or condo fees

Homeowner’s association or condominium association fees cover the costs for things like garbage collection, maintenance of common areas, and sewage fees. Depending on your neighborhood or condo, you’ll be required to pay once a month or every quarter.

Unless this fee is cheap enough for you to consider insignificant to your budget, you would need to adjust your spending to accommodate this extra cost. So if you glossed over this part when reviewing the listing, you might be taken by surprise when you finally move into the neighborhood.

Repairs and maintenance

You probably already have a budget set aside for the repairs you have to do when you move in, but what about the repairs beyond that? There is always something wrong with a house, whether it’s a leaky pipe in the basement or a small crack in the foundation. No matter how many repairs you do, there is always an issue that will arise sooner or later. And that’s just a normal part of being a homeowner.

Repair costs can sometimes be cheap, but they can also take a huge chunk out of your budget. This is why every homeowner needs an emergency fund in case unexpected repair costs arise. If a pipe in your basement bursts, you can’t exactly put it off until you have enough money to fix it.

Here are the parts of the home that are usually most expensive to maintain and repair:

1. HVAC

The HVAC system controls your home’s heating, cooling, and air circulation. Unless you are an HVAC professional, you can’t repair or maintain the system yourself. Hence, you need to pay for professionals to inspect, maintain, and repair your HVAC at least once a year.

2. Electrical system

Similar to the HVAC system, you can’t be your own maintenance person for your home’s electricals. Wiring problems in the house can lead to electrical fires and electrocutions, so it is of utmost necessity to get the electrical system repaired as soon as problems arise.

3. Roof

If your roof is compromised, it can affect everything else in your home. Leaks alone can cause major structural damage and mold growth to start with. In worst cases, extended damage to the roof can cause it to cave in on the house and put your family in danger.

The same goes for appliance repairs, which can be just as heavy as home repairs. Dyson vacuum cleaner repair and fixing other small appliances may not cost much, so it’s the bigger appliance breakdowns that you have to be well-prepared for.

Lawn care

house

You may think that lawn care won’t cost much if you do it yourself. Yes, maintaining your lawn yourself will save you lots of money as opposed to hiring a professional. However, you also have to consider the costs of buying landscaping tools and consumables (fertilizer, weed killer, mulch), pay for water and electricity, as well as maintain your lawn equipment.

If you have a tree in your yard, you will also most likely have to shell out money for an arborist. Unless you are a professional, you can’t cut off hanging tree limbs or trim leaves high up on the tree yourself.

Pest control

The home inspection revealed no signs of pests, but when you move into the house, you discover termites in the attic or a family of rats living under your floors. Dealing with pests and making sure they don’t come back costs hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars each year. Unless you want to live with pests in your home, your budget needs to make way for pest control, even if there seems to be no way for pests to get inside.

Most people only think about mortage payments and taxes when it comes to homeownership costs. But as you can see, there is much more to it. Prepare yourself for the hidden costs of home ownership to avoid financial strain in the future. The readier you are for any unexpected expenses, the more stable your finances will be as you go along.

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