The cost of owning a home is more than your down payment and monthly mortgage. In fact, it’s easy to overlook the added costs of home ownership that people rarely talk about.
So before buying your next home, factor these hidden costs into your calculations. It can help you avoid making foolish money mistakes you are going to regret it.
1. Closing costs
Closing costs are part of most home purchases. Although your down payment is likely to be a priority, don’t forget to factor in brokerage fees, title insurance, prepaid property taxes, etc.
A bigger house doesn’t just mean more space. If you upgrade to a larger home, you will likely also have larger utility bills.
For example, it may be more expensive to heat or cool the space. Or maybe you need more electricity for all the extra lights in the house. A bigger yard could mean a higher water bill in the summer when you use sprinklers to keep things green.
3. HVAC Maintenance
Routine maintenance of your HVAC system — like an annual check to make sure everything is in good working order on your HVAC system — is smart, but it also takes more money out of your pocket.
HVAC systems also generate a large bill if something goes wrong. So factor in any additional costs for repairs or potential replacement.
4. Gutter cleaning
If you live somewhere with trees, it’s a good idea to add gutter cleaning to your maintenance list every year.
Consider the size of your home and the number of trees on your property to estimate the cost of an annual gutter cleaning.
5. Radon gas test
Radon is a gas that can cause serious health problems if the house is not properly ventilated. A radon test that detects high levels of radon will incur ventilation and mitigation costs to bring the problem under control.
6. Cleaning the dryer vents
Lint and other debris can cause problems with your dryer or even start a fire. Have someone come to your home to clean debris and lint from the vent that could be causing problems. And don’t forget to clean your dryer’s lint filter regularly.
7. Tools for daily maintenance
Some jobs around your home require a specialist or handyman to fix them. But there are plenty of other tasks you might be able to do yourself, like nailing something into the wall or replacing light bulbs.
So expect to invest in a good toolkit, including some parts you might need on a regular basis. And consider investing in a stepladder or small ladder to help you reach light bulbs and other items above your head.
8. Emergency fund
When you own a home, it’s inevitable that something will go wrong. Maybe you have a water leak that is causing damage or a problem with your roof. Or maybe your furnace decides to give up on a cold morning.
So when creating a budget for your home, set aside some money each month for your emergency fund. Having this money when you need it can help avoid getting into debt avoiding the need to use credit cards to cover sudden expenses.
Your lender may require you to purchase homeowners insurance before closing on the home. And in truth, even if you are buying a house with cash, having this type of policy is essential.
Review all of your options to find out what your insurance will cover before settling on a policy. Don’t forget to factor in the cost of the home’s structure itself as well as the cost of replacing all the contents inside.
10. HOA Fees
Find out ahead of time if your home has a monthly or annual homeowners association fee. This type of fee can cover things like snow removal and removal, or amenities like a pool or playground.
Pro Tip: HOAs may also have regulations about how your home looks. So remember to check the rules before making changes like painting your house a different color or changing landscaping options.
Depending on where you live, regular protection from extermination can be essential to keeping creepy crawlers away from your home.
The cost may also include keeping rodents or ants away and regular termite checks, which can cause significant structural damage to your home.
If you own a home with landscaping, factor in any costs that might be required to maintain it. A lawn service can take care of your lawn on a regular basis, or you may prefer to buy a lawn mower and do it yourself.
You may need to maintain a sprinkler system, including winterizing it towards the end of the year.
13. Property taxes
Property taxes can vary from city to city and state to state. They can also change each time the value of your property is appraised.
Check with the government agencies that oversee your property taxes to get a general idea of the rate for a particular home and how much it fluctuates.
Once you’ve purchased a home, you need to decorate it for both fun and function. Try to budget for furniture such as sofas, beds, and chairs.
You can also consider electronics, wall art, and small touches that showcase your particular sense of style.
15. Security system
Security systems can protect your property, but they also come at a price. So count on buying and installing a security system. Also add monthly monitoring costs to your budget.
Pro tip: Check with your home insurance provider to see if they offer discounts on your policy for having a security system.
16. Outdoor Entertainment
You may want to add outdoor space to your property such as a patio or porch. So consider the cost of adding this to your property and the regular maintenance that comes with it. Also consider the cost of outdoor furniture or the cost of buying and maintaining a grill.
At the end of the line
There are benefits to owning your own home, but the costs can add up quickly if you’re not prepared.
Consider creating a budget to help you track the cost of things for your home. Then make sure you save enough money – or generate enough additional income — to cover the expenses that too many owners neglect.
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This article 16 hidden costs of owning a home that no one really talks about originally appeared on FinanceBuzz.